The Spanish anti-austerity party Podemos has teamed up with a US economist to launch a green energy plan that they say could create hundreds of thousands of jobs.
Robert Pollin, who has worked as an adviser to the US Department of Energy and the UN, said Spain could create 320,000 jobs a year by investing in renewable energy sources and measures to boost energy efficiency.
He said Spain should spend €18.4bn (£13.2bn) over 20 years through public and private investment. Pollin said Spain would save more money by reducing its reliance on energy imports than it would have to spend on efficiency and renewables.
“This entire programme can be self-financed, if you think about the reduction in oil-import dependency,” he said.
Pollin, an economics professor at the University of Massachusetts and a critic of austerity, presented his report with Podemos leaders in Madrid.
Founded just a year and a half ago, Podemos has surged in popularity, campaigning against corruption and economic hardship caused by the collapse of a building boom in 2008. Pollin said many of Spain’s lost construction jobs could be recovered through investment in adapting buildings to a greener economy.
Spain has a highly developed renewables sector but still imports about 80% of its energy, and cut subsidies for renewables during its economic crisis.
The prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, says his austerity policies have helped Spain return to growth and argues that a change of course now would undermine the recovery. A general election is due by the end of the year.
Source: The Guardian