The Junta de Extremadura and the Repsol Foun-dation launch Green Engine, one of the largest large-scale reforestation projects in Spain

16.11.2021
The President of the Junta de Extremadura, Guillermo Fernández Va-ra, and the Chairman of Repsol and its Foundation, Antonio Brufau, today visited the first area of action of the Green Engine project in this autonomous community, located in the region of Las Hurdes. This is the first action within the Green Engine project in Extremadura, which aims to reforest more than 5,000 hectares to absorb 1.3 million tons of CO₂ from the atmosphere in the region. In total, around 1,000 local people will be hired for the works, with special attention to vulnerable groups, creating local and inclusive employment.

The President of the Junta de Extremadura, Guillermo Fernández Vara, and the Chairman of Repsol and its Foundation, Antonio Brufau, this morning visited the land where the Green Engine project will begin in this autonomous community.

This is the first action of the Green Engine project in Extremadura, which in total aims to reforest 5,000 hectares of wasteland or land affected by fires in different municipalities over the next three years, with the goal of offsetting 1.3 million tons of CO₂.

This first action will cover an area of 600 hectares in Caminomorisco, in the area of Las Hurdes. Native species planting and regeneration assistance will be carried out in an area affected by a fire in 2012. With these actions, a new forest will be created, which will offset 179.000 tons of CO₂ from the atmosphere, contributing to action against climate change.

During the visit, Guillermo Fernandez Vara and, Antonio Brufau, were accompanied by the Mayor of Caminomorisco, Gervasio Martín.

The reforestation driven by Green Engine will not only allow for a recovery of native forest, but will also protect the damaged land, improving biodiversity and guaranteeing resilience in the long term.

In addition to the environmental benefits, this initiative generates a strong social and economic impact. The project was also conceived to promote the development of a green and sustainable economy, particularly in rural areas.

Approximately 1,000 workers from the area will be hired for the plantings in Extremadura over the next three years, with 70% belonging to vulnerable groups, helping to keep people living and working in the region.

Furthermore, programs will be set up as part of the project to provide training and foster innovation and technological development in the forestry sector. The activity generated by this project will support the local business network of the areas being reforested, revitalizing the rural economy in Extremadura and activities related to tourism and the services sector.

The Repsol Chairman pointed out that this project is of great relevance for the Repsol Foundation, "because natural climate solutions, such as reforestation, represent an additional and efficient lever to advance in the energy transition, generating an extraordinarily attractive direct impact, through the creation of green and social economy, local and inclusive employment, recovery of biodiversity, and boosting the business network in the rural environment".

During the presentation of Green Engine project, the President of the Junta de Extremadura stated that it is not only about offsetting, it is about rebuilding a future based on practices, a methodology and a model of life based on the environment and nature, in order to leave a habitable planet for the next generations.  

Green Engine is based on an innovative public-private collaboration model to promote economic recovery and rural development following the COVID-19 impact, and is aligned with the social, environmental, and economic enhancement strategy of the Extremadura 2030 Plan, 2030 Agenda, and the European Green Deal.

The project in Extremadura is already supported by Banco Santander, Tierra Pura Foundation, Enagás, and Ilunion.

Large-scale reforestation

Green Engine also aims to position Spain as a quality, competitive, and pioneering carbon sink in Europe. With a differential approach, the project aims to generate a triple positive impact. Environmental, through the reforestation of 70,000 hectares of natural areas that will contribute to action against climate change by offsetting 16 million tons of emissions. Social, creating 15,000 local and inclusive employment opportunities, offering training and improving the employability of vulnerable groups. Economic, committing to an investment for the future, boosting the business network in rural areas. An ambitious commitment to a social, green, and sustainable economy within the framework of the energy transition.

The operational side of the forestry projects will be led by the Sylvestris Group, a Repsol Foundation investee company, which has more than 30 years of experience in the forestry sector. The new forests will be designed in accordance with the highest standards of the Spanish Climate Change Office (OECC), which is the official certification body for offsetting projects in Spain, part of the Ministry for the Environmental Transition and the Demographic Challenge.

Technology will play a fundamental role in every phase of the project: locating and evaluating land, analyzing future scenarios, processing data and decision-making, producing certified high-quality forestry material, and future follow-up. To do all of this, the latest technologies in Geographic Information Systems, drones, sensor systems, biochemistry, robotics, satellites, and blockchain will all be used to create the forests.

This methodology makes the Green Engine project stand out from other reforestation initiatives, as the land work helps to precisely determine aspects such as the appropriate density of the new forest, the variety of species, as well as following up on their survival and development, all of which are key to ensuring their long-term resilience.

The project is already up and running in Asturias, with the support of the Government of the Principality, and is expected to soon be extended to new autonomous communities, with the collaboration of both the Public Administration as well as other private entities and companies.