project unique and strategic development of energy crops in Spain (PSE-energy crops) will become an important initiative to ensure sustainable development of farming in Spain
The project, born of the fledgling business in this field and is at present the most important initiative for the development of new crops, has a budget of 79.6 M € (2005 period provided - 2012). The project involves a total of 23 institutions, of which 17 are companies and organizations, and six are agricultural R & D organizations and universities with extensive experience working on biomass. During the project implementation is expected some 30,000 hectares, with new crops.
The aim of the PSE-Energy Crops is to promote the business of energy crops in Spain by identifying the most suitable crops and their potential, and the definition and development of the conditions in technical, economic and environmental development to allow commercial development in Spain.
Agriculture is one of the productive sectors are experiencing the greatest decline in Spain. In the last ten years have been lost over two million hectares of rainfed agriculture, which has had very adverse effects on population and rural environment. This tendency seems to increase with the new CAP, because of the low competitiveness of agricultural production. Moreover, maintenance of irrigation is causing major areas, some of them of great ecological value, very adverse environmental effects, lead to an overexploitation of aquifers. Consequently, energy crops can provide a definitive solution to the problems of agriculture today:
- The energy market in its different applications of heat, electricity and biofuels can absorb all of the biomass produced on surplus agricultural area
- Under an environmental and economic terms, these crops can be complementary and synergistic with traditional farming.
- For simplicity represents a significant saving of water and fertilizers in relation to traditional agriculture, reducing the negative environmental impact of it. Most energy crops studied are adapted to drought conditions that require irrigation and generally have a much lower need for irrigation to agricultural crops to substitute. For the above advantages, the development of commercial production and use of energy crops is now one of the most ambitious goals within the policies on renewable energy in Spain and, in general, the European Union. The Energy Crops PES-born as a response to environmental and energy policies to which Spain is involved because, in contrast with those expectations, the degree of development of such crops is still very small and no commercial use in our country.