- The Iberdrola Convive Awards have honored initiatives that promote an energy transition in harmony with nature and people.
- IIDMA’s award-winning project puts forward proposals and recommendations at the legal level to reconcile the deployment of renewables with the protection of the land and biodiversity.
May 31, 2023- The International Institute for Law and the Environment (IIDMA) has received the Iberdrola Convive Award in the Research, Knowledge and Innovation category for its project “How to Reconcile the Deployment of Renewables with Biodiversity and Land at the National and Regional Level”. In its first edition, this award recognized the best initiatives launched in Spain to promote renewable energies in harmony with socioeconomic development, people and biodiversity conservation.
IIDMA´s Founding Director, Ana Barreira, collected the award at the prize-giving ceremony, held on May 31, at the Conference Centre in Mérida, which was presided by Ignacio Sánchez Galán, Chairman of Iberdrola. “I want to thank the jury for awarding this prize to our project. We are honored to be the first organization to receive it,” said Ana Barreira as she accepted the award. “I would also like to thank IIDMA´s team for their dedication, commitment and responsibility to our founding objectives, and the European Climate Foundation for its support in carrying out this project,” she added.
Regarding the work of the Institute, Ana Barreira indicated that “this year, IIDMA celebrates more than a quarter of a century contributing to the protection of the environment and sustainable development through the study, development, application and enforcement of the law. We hope to continue gathering support in order to carry out our mission in favor of the environment and thus continue to promote coexistence between human beings and the Earth system.
A pioneering project
At the beginning of 2021, in view of the need to accelerate the installation of renewable energy to address climate change, IIDMA began an analysis to come up with proposals that would facilitate the deployment of renewables in line with the protection of biodiversity and land. “Thus, we designed a pioneering project consisting of an analysis of the main mechanisms and legal instruments available in Spain for this purpose that allowed us to make innovative proposals,” explains Ana Barreira.
The results of this analysis were reflected in two pioneering reports in this area in our country. In June 2021, IIDMA published the first report entitled “How to reconcile the deployment of renewables with biodiversity and land”, focusing on nine recommendations applicable at the state level. Later, in September 2022, the institution published a second report focused on analyzing the situation in the 17 autonomous communities and examining, in some cases, aspects such as levels of social conflict.
Some of these recommendations and proposals on possible measures to ensure that the deployment of renewables does not impact negatively on biodiversity and land, have been considered at the European Union level. “Specifically, the recommendation to prioritize the development of renewables in degraded areas was introduced by the European Commission in the proposal to amend the Renewable Energy Directive, under the concept of “renewables suitable areas”, now referred to by the European Parliament as “renewable acceleration areas”,” adds Massimiliano Patierno, IIDMA´s environmental engineer.
On the other hand, with the aim of raising awareness and sharing results of the research, IIDMA held a series of events in different regions of Spain, with the participation of a wide variety of stakeholders: state and regional public administrations, project promoters, academics, scientists, lawyers specializing in environmental and energy law, conservation organizations, members of renewable energy business associations and citizen platforms for the defense of the land, among others.
These events made it possible to establish synergies to ensure greater coordination and inter-administrative collaboration, as well as to promote better regulation to avoid severe impacts of renewable projects on biodiversity and land.
Although there is considerable work being undertaken to minimize these negative impacts, using legal instruments to achieve this reconciliation, “it is important to continue this work at all levels (state, autonomous and local) in order to eliminate existing barriers to the deployment of renewable energies,” says Ana Barreira.