Government plan for CO2 storage meets stiff opposition
A government plan to build vast underground deposits to store carbon dioxide emissions from power plants as a way to fight global warming has met with opposition.19 February 2008
MADRID - A plan by the Spanish government to build vast underground deposits to store carbon dioxide emissions from power plants as a way to fight global warming has met with the opposition of mayors, councillors and citizens across the country, fearful that their municipalities will be turned into landfills for the detritus of the energy sector.
So far 11 sites have been short-listed by the Industry Ministry for the carbon storage deposits under a plan that was quietly made public in the Official State Bulletin on 8 February. Each location would store millions of tonnes of carbon captured from power plant emissions and held in deposits at least one kilometre underground. The process, known as carbon sequestration, would allow Spain to reduce its CO2 emissions while continuing to meet rising electricity demand by burning fossil fuels. But although carbon sequestration could help fight global warming, it is opposed by most environmentalists as a costly and unproven technology that will only serve to perpetuate reliance on non-renewable energy sources. "It's a way of hiding the garbage under the carpet," argues one environmental activist.
It is also of concern for people living near sites where the carbon is to be stored, whose reactions to the government's barely publicised plan have ranged from resignation to outrage. All of the mayors of the 11 short-listed municipalities said they only found out through the media.
"I'm absolutely livid. I didn't have the slightest idea," exclaimed Unai Rementeria, the mayor of Mundaka, a Basque coastal town known for surfing.
Mundaka is one of five sites for offshore deposits picked by the government. The others are Llanes and Buelna in Asturias, Suances in Cantabria and one off the coast of Huelva. The onshore deposits are planned for Colmenar Viejo near Madrid, Guardo in Palencia, Ejulve in Teruel, Caspe in Zaragoza, Tomelloso in Ciudad Real and La Murada in Alicante.
The construction of the deposits is not the only concern, given that the government's strategy includes new power plants being built nearby to lower the cost of transporting the carbon waste. Juan Manuel Kindelán, the head of the Energy Studies Foundation which selected the sites, has said the proposals are only preliminary and that the locations must be studied further before a final decision is made.
[Copyright EL PAÍS / ABEL GRAU 2008]
Subject: Spanish news