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Oceans and fisheries
News article26 November 2020Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries2 min read

EU funding helps Spanish fish farm become self-sufficient through renewable energy and save money

The cofradía of Bustio has become the first in Spain to be 100% self-sufficient in renewable energy for its land operations. While reducing carbon emissions, the cofradía is annually saving around €10,000 on electricity.

Maintaining the onshore infrastructure of a cofradía (fishing organisation) is not only time-intensive but also expensive. However, in the town of Bustio, a few kilometers upstream from where the Deva River meets the Bay of Biscay, the local cofradía has found a way to save money, while helping to transition the fishing sector towards sustainability.

With EU support, the cofradía financed two projects making its land-based operations 100% self-sufficient in renewable energy.

The first project consisted of installing and connecting solar panels to the national energy grid. However, without sufficient energy storage capacity, the solar panels could only supply the energy needed at certain times of the day. The obstacle was overcome when the cofradía decided to add storage batteries that allow surplus energy to be collected and used whenever needed. This second project also included wind turbines and a biodiesel generator to cover production downturns caused by lack of wind and sun. The combined measures led to full energy autonomy of the fish farm:

“Maintaining a fishing organisation’s infrastructure is expensive. Thus, the possibility of EU funds allocated to this kind of project helps to improve the fisheries sector’s sustainability, both economic but particularly environmental”, said Máximo Rodríguez, manager of the Eastern Asturias Fisheries Local Action Group (FLAG), part of the EU-wide FLAG network.

In view of the cofradía of Bustio’s commitment to greening the fishing sector, the implementation of these projects brings tangible environmental benefits by helping to reduce the fish farm’s carbon footprint and emissions of other polluting gases. Moreover, reducing the energy cost of activities such as labelling, auctioning or the storage of fresh fish also brings financial benefits. Given the success of the projects, the Asturian authorities have explored ways to transfer the use of renewables to the other cofradías in the region on Spain’s northwest coast.

The project was supported by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF). It is a tangible example of how the fishing industry also through the use of renewable energies can contribute to delivering on the EU’s green deal and the transition towards carbon-neutrality by 2050.

Did you like this story?

Then also check out the November Euronews Ocean episode on marine renewable energy

Learn more about the EMFF funded projects on FARNET website


Publication date
26 November 2020
Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries