Catalunya is currently not meeting the environmental aims set out in the Generalitat's Pla de l’Energia 2006-2015, and as such a revised version of the plan will be approved today by the government, with the focus being placed on energy saving (article in Castilian, La Vanguardia). Wind, solar, and biomass and biogas technologies are all falling short of what was originally set out in the document, with only photovoltaic surpassing the levels that were put in place three years ago. As such, the new version of the Pla de l’Energia seeks to achieve a reduction of 24 percent in the consumption of primary energy by 2020; the idea would be to try and bring down the use of energy by 1.6 percent each year, a figure that the Department of Economy and Finances says is reasonable. In terms of where Catalunya has failed to meet its targets, a good example is wind power: it was supposed to be creating 3,000MW of electricity by 2010, but is currently only producing 500MW, while windmills are being constructed that could produce an additional 350MW when working and others that should produce 900MW are awaiting approval from the Industry Ministry. This means that even by 2013, there will still only be 1,750MW produced by wind, far below the 2010 target.
Barcelona mayor Jordi Hereu made an effort yesterday to justify money spent by the city council on external reports, with a long press conference where officials sought to explain the process of commissioning such documents (article in Catalan, Avui). In what has been billed as a one-off event, 198 reports were put under the spotlight after they were used by opposition parties CiU and PP to criticise the council for its allegedly extravagant policy on paying third parties to write reports. “We’ve bought knowledge that we didn’t have,” argued yesterday Ramon García-Bragado, councillor for urbanism, in defence of the almost €12 million spent on reports during 2008. However, some of the reports that were put up for examination caused bemusement amongst the journalists in attendance; for example three reports, which together cost €35,755, found that the number of peregrine falcons in the city didn’t go up between 2005 and 2007, but they did increase in 2008, while works at the Sagrada Familia threatened a pair of the birds living at the cathedral; along with another report that cost over €17,000 to discover that skateboarding is a tourist attraction here.
Last weekend, Barcelona registered the highest number of drunk drivers ever stopped by the Guàrdia Urbana (article in Castilian, La Vanguardia). During a special operation between Saturday and Sunday morning, with the tests done between 6am and 9am (the time period identified as when the most number of drink-driving incidents takes place), 343 drivers of the 2,730 tested were found to be driving when the amount of alcohol in their blood was above the legal limit; of this number, 39 were arrested because their alcohol level was so high (above 0.60) that they were guilty of a crime under the Penal Code. The number of drunk drivers identified this weekend was significantly higher than the previous high of 277, who were caught in March this year, although the same number of arrests was made at that time. In addition, last weekend, five people failed drug tests, including one who tested positive for both cocaine and alcohol, and who later admitted that he hadn’t slept for a week.
Also in the news: Catalan families making extra money by renting out rooms (La Vanguardia); Barcelona included in list of richest global cities (El Periodico); Barça faces Inter in crucial Champions match for both teams (Avui)