For those of you who don't know about the star of these paragraphs, allow me to introduce you to Miajadas. It is a municipality located in the south of Cáceres province in Spain. It is a flat area populated by holm oaks, cork oaks and scrub, and has a Mediterranean climate, with mild winters and hot summers.
These conditions have made it one of Spain's most productive areas in terms of agri-food industry. It has a population of only 10,000 people, of whom almost 40 % work in the agriculture and livestock sector and 15 % in the agri-food industry. Its economy is mainly built on irrigation agriculture, and the main crop is the tomato. In fact, the town of Miajadas is known as the "Tomato Capital of Europe".
I know what you're thinking though: what have tomatoes got to do with energy? Well, much more than you might think.
Think of the process of producing energy from biomass as a closed circuit. Energy is generated by the combustion of plant waste that heats the water. This waste comes from nature (residues from agricultural or forestry work, for example) and is then returned to nature when, once its energy has been released through combustion, the resulting ashes are used to produce fertiliser for the fields. The process doesn't stop there. The raw materials that will power the Miajadas biomass plant will again be taken from these same lands.
However, the cycle goes much further. Agriculture and biomass in Miajadas are connected in more ways than one. The plant provides the town with clean energy and work, and the town in turn provides the plant with the agricultural and forest waste it needs.