Lights on, lights off: Spain Announces New Energy-Saving Measures

Spain has ordered all shops to switch off their lights in the evenings, to reduce energy consumption

In a bold move by the Spanish government, they have ordered that all shops, supermarkets and public buildings switch off their lights at 10pm.

These energy-saving measures will help Spain to reach their target of reducing gas and oil consumption by 5 percent.

“[This is] a special effort at an extraordinary time,”  Spain’s Minister for Ecological Transition Teresa Ribera has said.

She added that the measures  were designed to show the country’s “unity and solidarity” with its European partners.

Spain has a limited reliance on Russian gas, unlike other EU member countries, with only around 10 percent of imported natural gas coming from Moscow in 2020.

Although Spain say this is a decision to help with possible fuel shortages in the winter months, there is no doubt that the energy-saving measures will have a positive environmental impact.

Other places across Europe have also adopted similar energy-saving measures, with France reporting a reduction in energy consumption by a quarter.

France previously adopted measures to reduce energy consumption by ordering businesses to turn off their lights in the evenings.

Anne-Marie Ducroux, spokesperson of ANPCEN, a French association fighting light pollution has said that turning the lights off is one of the easiest ways to save money and energy.

“It costs almost nothing and pays off in euros, in kilowatt hours saved and in the reduction of light pollution,” she said.

In an even bolder move, Spain have ordered air conditioning restrictions on all businesses, stating that temperatures can not exceed 27 degrees in summer and heating at 19 degrees in winter months.

This includes shops, offices, hospitality venues, administrative buildings, commercial spaces, bus, train stations and airports.

Despite the significance of these measures, not everyone is happy with these plans.

Speaking to The Objective, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, President of the Community of Madrid said she would not turn off the lights as doing so would “generate insecurity and scare away tourism and consumption”.

The measures will last until November 1, 2023, when days will be much darker and shorter.