A Mediterranean Sustainable Energy Country

A how-to guide for a safe clean energy future, based around the virtual Mediterranean nation Heliosthana was launched on 11th May 2010 by WWF and the Heinrich Boell Stiftung (hbs), at the Spanish EU Presidency conference on the Mediterranean solar plan in Valencia.

Heliosthana, whose six basic steps are immediately applicable in many Mediterranean countries, is built upon realistic solutions that pave the way towards 100% renewable energy.

Fossil fuels are finite, there is insecurity in energy supply and prices are Of unstable and destablilising. In addition climate change and loss nature is at our doors, so finding tangible and immediate solutions are critical. Heliosthana provides this by describing a decade-long harmonious transition towards a sustainable energy system that respects people and the planet, while sustaining a balanced economic and social development.

In 2020 Heliosthana combines low energy intensity (20% less than in 2010) with a promising share of renewable energy (20% of primary energy supply). Part of the renewable electricity is exported to neighboring countries. Education, R & D and health care have benefited from the money saved due to investments in reduced fossil fuels.

The Mediterranean solar plan (MSP) has set a target of 20 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity by 2020 and the Industrial Desertec bn Initiative talks about a potential investment in renewables 400 EUR in Northern Africa. WWF supports sustainable energy development in the Mediterranean region, however in order to be effective, the MSP still needs to take bold steps to move towards a solar region.

The solution is highlighted in the case of Heliosthana, where MSP projects would firstly need to be part of national energy strategies of participant countries. Secondly MSP needs to take on a coordinating role to develop and help implement national solar plan, spur cooperation with local and regional universities, facilitate and reduce the cost of environmental and social research through regional co-operation. Finally smaller projects need to be bundled to make them bankable and interesting for large investors and banks.

Jean-Philippe DENRUYTER, Manager for Global Renewable Energy Policy at WWF International and Special Advisor to the Government of Heliosthana, said: "WWF believes that Heliosthana has become a role model for its Northern and Southern neighbors and an ideal partner for the Mediterranean Solar Plan (MSP) to reach its objectives. It highlights that in each country should elaborate its own region of the solar plan, boosting prosperity and increasing security ".

Heliosthana = "Helios": the personification of the god of the sun in Greek mythology
"Sthana": meaning 'place' in Sanskrit.

Heliosthana's six steps are:

1st A country-wide strategic vision, in consultation with all major stakeholders. Implementation requires a structured Its Institutional Framework, a clear separation of roles between government policy making, implementation, action plans (through agencies) and Energy sector activities. Solid statistics and indicators enable better decision making.

2nd Three energy policy pillars: an effective energy supply security system, guaranteed access to energy (eg through a social tariff), and phase-out of fossil fuel and electricity subsidies.

3rd Structural measures for an efficient energy use: consumer behavior analysis, efficient regulation (eg standards and labels), accompanying measures and incentives, and adapted financial packages.

4th Assessment of renewable energy potentials and needs, together with a regulatory framework, a feed-in tariff and innovative finance mechanisms.

5th A model partnership with the MSP: MSP various projects and electricity trading in the Region are fully integrated in the national energy strategy.

6th Long term urban plan, with denser and more efficient cities and buildings, connected with a reliable public transport scheme, and closer distances between working, living and leisure centers. The new vehicles combine low energy consumption and new energy sources, such as renewable electricity.

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Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung European Union
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