Although we have already spoken several times in EnergyNews about the benefits of biomass as an indigenous resource, we never tire of applauding best municipal practices as we know about them. The theory is right and necessary, but our municipalities” experience makes others notice and imitate good saving habits.
The communications office of the European Union has focused its attention in Enguera and Moixent municipalities” forest management due to their “green jobs” creation through sustainable forest management in the mountains covered within the “Bioenergy and fire prevention” Life + project . This cabinet has visited the sites to learn “in situ” about the success of the project, which promotes sustainable forest management of municipal forests consistent with the Red Natura 2000, the jobs creation in rural areas, forest fire prevention and bioenergy.
The Brussels mission has stated that it is an example closely followed and strongly supported by the European Commission and that the project is a lead to follow for any forested municipality in the Mediterranean area. Enguera”s Mayor, Santiago Arevalo, said that ” many councils across all party lines have already expressed an interest in implementing the project methodology. Mountains do not understand anything about politics and the project is being applauded by all town councils” representatives that visit or consult us. ”
According to Javier Diaz, President of the Spanish Association of Biomass Energy Recovery, AVEBIOM and one of the partners involved in the project: “It is good news that the project is recognized by the European Commission as an example of how Spain can reduce fires and energy dependence while creating jobs. One should not forget that bioenergy generates 135 jobs per 10,000 inhabitants, compared to 9 generated in the fossil fuels sector. ”
Data from 2012 show that biomass production activity reduces the risk of occurrence of 70% of the forest fires in Spain, which would also save some estimated 160 million euros annually.
It is a vicious cycle that must be broken. Statistics show the growth of forest areas while bioenergy grows. Without wood demand there is no income for forest owners, and without that income no interest would be placed in maintaining, improving and increasing forest mass.
During the visit, Enguera”s Mayor outlined the different phases of the project and their execution state, with completion scheduled for December 2013. The “Bioenergy and fire prevention” Life + project has a budget of EUR 1.024 million and is funded by the Life + program.