BC3 press release “Renewable energies and the energy transition in Spain 2030-2050”

Renewable energies and the energy transition in spain 2030-2050

 Workshop organized by the BC3 (Basque Centre for Climate Change BC3), the Spanish Association of Energy Economics (AEEE) and the Spanish Club of Energy (Enerclub) was held in Madrid.


Mikel González-Eguino, Jose Blanco, Dolf Gielen, Luis Janeiro, Alevgul Sorman, Valvanera Ulargui, Miguel Antoñanzas, Maria Luisa Castaño, Natalia Fabra, Pedro Linares, Cayetana Crespo, Xaquín Garcia-Muros, Pablo del Río González, Santiago Muñoz Gámez, Mariano Olmeda, Valvanera Ulargui, Arcadio Gutierrez

On April 23rd, the “Renewable Energies and the Energy Transition in Spain 2030-2050” workshop organized by the BC3 (Basque Centre for Climate Change BC3), the Spanish Association of Energy Economics (AEEE) and the Spanish Club of Energy (Enerclub) was held in Madrid. The event was organized as a part of the H2020 European project TRANSrisk, led in BC3 by Mikel González-Eguino, with participation of international, European and National actors regarding renewable energies and energy transition.

  • Mikel Gonzalez-Eguino, BC3 researcher and vice-president of the AEEE, pointed out the opportunity of the given day on the importance of the decisions to be taken in 2018. At the international level, he highlighted the necessity of increasing the ambition for fulfilling objectives of Paris Agreement and at European level the importance of the negotiation in progress to raise the renewable targets. He wished that this greater ambition would also be transferred to the national level and incorporated into the future Law on Climate Change and Energy Transition.
  • Jose Blanco, head of the Renewables Directive in the European Parliament, indicated that raising the targets for renewables from the current 27% to 35% is not only imperative for climatic reasons but also desirable for economic reasons.
  • Dolf Gielen and Luis Janeiro of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) have shown that a more ambitious renewables target in the European Union (going from 27% to 33%) would generate a net saving, estimated at 25,000 million dollars per year by 2030. According to IRENA, renewable energies are already clearly competitive compared to conventional forms of generation today and still have additional potential for reducing costs on the horizon to 2030.
  • Alevgul Sorman, researcher at BC3, explained that more than half of the stakeholders in the energy sector consider it necessary to increase renewable energy targets above the threshold set by the European Union, according to a survey prepared by BC3.
  • Valvanera Ulargui, director of the Spanish Office of Climatic Change, stated that with the Law of Climate Change and Energy Transition, Spain wants to remain among the countries with the greatest ambition at the European level

The day was inaugurated by José Blanco López, MEP and head of the Renewable Directive in the European Parliament, Miguel Antoñanzas, vice president of the Spanish Energy Club (Enerclub) and president of Viesgo and Mikel González-Eguino, researcher of the BC3 and vice president of the AEEE.

Miguel Antoñanzas highlighted the importance of holding this day at the present time, in a context in which Europe is in the process of debating objectives of renewable energies targets for 2030 (between 27% and 35% of final energy). In Spain, similarly, the discussion is on the front burner with the drafting of the Law on Climate Change and Energy Transition, the National Comprehensive Energy and Climate Plan and the report of the Committee of Experts, which has been published only a few weeks ago.

Mikel González-Eguino, also indicated the opportunity to celebrate this day given the decisions that await to be taken at European and national level throughout the extent of this year. In addition, at the international level, he stressed that the UN has declared 2018 as a key year for climate action because States can still establish new and more ambitious objectives than those committed to after the signing of the Paris Agreement. Finally, the need to increase this ambition was highlighted in order to achieve the objective of limiting global warming to 2ºC – much less to 1.5ºC – for which renewable energies will have to play a fundamental role.

At the opening conference, José Blanco, MEP in charge of the Renewables Directive, stressed that the objectives of the Winter Package and the new proposal for a renewable directive have gone from being “desirable” to being “imperative”. “We play not only our economic model, but our life model,” he said, referring to binding national targets, as well as the EU’s goal of increasing the renewable target to 35% in 2030 from the current 27%. At the same time, he expressed his wish that “the final agreement be closer to 35% than 27%” in the context of accelerating cost reductions of renewables. Referring to Spain, although skeptical about the future climate change law, José Blanco has pointed out the importance of “having a law that shows an accurate horizon on future challenges and guarantees a stability that encourages investment in the sector.”

Next, Dolf Gielen, Director Innovation and Technology and Luis Janeiro, Program Officer, both of the International Agency for Renewable Energy (IRENA), presented the report “Renewable Energy Prospects for the European Union”, requested by the European Commission. Within the report, the Agency has conducted a prospective analysis of renewable energies in the European Union for 2030, with the aim of supporting deliberative discussions and recommendations on appropriate deployment of renewable energies. The IRENA study indicates that the EU can achieve a renewables target of 33% or higher in 2030 in a profitable manner. The implementation of all the options identified by IRENA would imply an estimated net saving of 25,000 million dollars per year by 2030, since the savings of the cheapest options offset the additional costs of the most expensive alternatives. In addition, they have pointed out that if the avoided health damages and environmental externalities are included, the savings could reach 133,000 million annually.

Luis Janeiro, pointed out that Spain “has the potential to reach 2030 with an electrical system dominated by renewable energies.” This system “could have a very high participation of solar and wind technologies, which are already clearly competitive compared to conventional generation today and still have additional potential for reducing costs on the horizon by 2030.” However, he warned that “electricity today represents only 1/4 of the energy consumption” and that, therefore, the “challenge of decarbonisation in Spain lies in the transport and heating sector whose progress has been much slower in the past ”

Following the presentation of the IRENA report, Alevgul Sorman, BC3 researcher, presented the results of the survey carried out to experts and stakeholders in the energy sector on the future of renewables in Spain within the context of the TRANSrisk project. One of the main conclusions is the high level of ambition shown by the respondents regarding the objective of renewables, since more than half consider it positive to increase the objectives of renewable energies above the threshold set by the European Union (27%) and reach up to 35%, driven above all by solar photovoltaic and wind energy. Pablo del Río González, senior scientist of the Superior Council of Scientific Research, who acted as a “discussant” of the results obtained, encouraged BC3 to extend the sample of respondents and go deeper into the responses segmented by sectors or age ranges and on the mechanisms to favour the development of renewables, where Xaquín Garcia-Muros, BC3 researcher, also intervened.

Subsequently, experts from the energy and climate change sector discussed the key factors for the development of renewable energies in Spain. The debate was moderated by Maria Luisa Castaño, Director of the Department of Energy of CIEMAT.

Natalia Fabra, Professor of Economics at the Carlos III University, pointed out that, in addition to ambitious objectives, a correct regulation and design of the electricity sector is fundamental, since the costs and final prices for the electricity consumer depending on it, resulting in greater or less social and political support. She also reflected on a better design of renewable auctions, in favour of determining a price for energy, not for power, and that they do not necessarily have to follow a criterion of technological neutrality.

Pedro Linares, director of Economics for Energy, stressed the essentiality of coordinating policies of renewable development in line with climate and industrial policies as well as those of the Autonomous Communities. He also noted that for the advancement of renewables, it is important that they recover investment costs and take into account potential backup technologies. Finally, he stressed the need for sufficient political will to design a market that sends safer signals in the long term.

Cayetana Crespo, responsible for the Organization of Consumers and Users, stressed that consumers must also know the benefits of renewables so that consumers can contribute to decarbonisation process for informed decision making. She also insisted on the importance of regulations including and involving the consumers.

In the round table discussion, Santiago Muñoz Gámez, deputy director of electrical energy of the National Commission of Markets and Competitions, stressed that the greatest risk for Spain in meeting the objectives of renewables are the insufficient inter interconnections.

Mariano Olmeda, Senior Advisor of ITHAKA TPG, emphasized the importance of financing the energy transition. In this regard, he recalled that investors need more certainty to make the investments that are going to be necessary.

Finally, during the closing, Valvanera Ulargui, general director of the Spanish Office of Climate Change, pointed out that Spain will meet the objectives set by the European Union in the field of greenhouse gases and renewable energies, “which will help Spain position itself better for 2030, 2040 and 2050.” She then pointed out that the Government of Spain is working in parallel on the Law of Climate Change and Energy Transition and the Energy and Climate Plan. The law will establish the basic principles for decarbonisation, with a very strong governance mechanism that provides security to investors and, at the same time, is flexible to adapt to new technologies and new consumption models. It will collect GHG, energy efficiency and renewable energy targets by 2030. Ulargui hopes it will be a “law of great consensus that goes beyond political cycles”. Finally, she underlined that with this law, within the negotiations at an international and European level, Spain wants to remain among the countries of greatest ambition.

Arcadio Gutierrez, CEO of Enerclub, closed the day with a word of thanks to all attendees and the speakers, encouraging them to continue organizing days in which the different actors of the energy transition are incorporated.



Miguel Antoñanzas (President of Viesgo) Jose Blanco (Eurodeputy) and Mikel González-Eguino (BC3)

Inaguration Mikel González-Eguino

Opening Photo (from left to right, Miguel Antoñanzas (President of Viesgo) Jose Blanco (Eurodeputy) and Mikel González-Eguino (BC3)

    Arcadio Gutierrez (Director Enerclub), Valvanera Ulargui (Directora Oficina de Cambio Climático) and Mikel González-Eguino (BC3)

    Inaguration Mikel González-Eguino

    Close Photo (from left to right, Arcadio Gutierrez (Director Enerclub), Valvanera Ulargui (Directora Oficina de Cambio Climático) and Mikel González-Eguino (BC3)

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