Miguel Torres: ‘solar energy is a must’

Generating electricity from the sun “is a must”, according to leading Spanish wine producer and environmental activist, Miguel Torres.

At the Torres Pacs del Penedès winery there are 12,000m2 of fixed photovoltaic panels – enough to cover approximately 10% of the winery’s electric energy needs

Speaking last month at a Torres press event in London, head of family-owned wine business, Miguel Torres, spoke of his desire to make Bodegas Torres run entirely on renewable energy, above all using power generated from the sun.

“Photovoltaic panels are the energy of the future, solar energy is a must,” he stated, adding that Bodegas Torres installed last June an additional 6,000m2 of PV panels, doubling the area to total 12,000m2.

Continuing, he said, “In 1.5 hours, there is enough energy supplied by the sun to power our entire planet for one year,” before commenting, “And yet, we are still using other forces.”

Currently, he recorded that Torres’s Spanish wine operations are run using 30% renewably-sourced power, but said that he believed the business could soon generate all its energy needs using renewables, noting that this year he is also using geothermal energy to supplement his other sources – which, along with the sun, and the wind, include burning vine prunings to generate power, having installed the largest biomass boiler in the Spanish wine industry three year’s ago.

As previously reported by the drinks business, Miguel Torres also said that producers who adopt organic viticulture should be made to use renewable energy sources to offset the increased carbon emissions from the farming practice.

“I would like Brussels [the official seat of European Union] to legislate that if you use the organic label and you have to spray more often then you should have to use more renewable energy to offset your emissions,” he said.

However, commenting on this latter point on thedrinksbusiness.com, Peter Melchett, who is policy director for the Soil Association UK and an organic farmer, said, “Miguel Torres’ suggestion that organic farming uses more energy because of repeated spraying is not true, and research on organic farming generally shows lower energy use than non-organic.”

In particular, he recorded that manufactured Nitrogen fertilisers used in conventional agriculture cause around 40% of the greenhouse gas emissions from farming.

“Organic farming is better for farmland wildlife, for preventing diffuse pollution and for climate change,” he concluded.

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