Spain has emerged as an attractive destination for renewables. Its potential in natural resources, as well as its clear commitment to the development of infrastructures for decarbonization have placed the country in the sights of large companies and investors. “We are seeing how the premises and the sector are changing,” said Sara Aagesen, Secretary of State for Energy of the Spanish Government, in a meeting organized by EL PAÍS and KPMG under the title The future of the energy sector. “The war in Ukraine has made us speed up this transition even more,” Aagesen added at the opening of the event, held last Tuesday in Madrid. But if there is something that has become the main engine of this transformation, it is the fight against climate change. “Unfortunately it becomes more evident and bigger and with much stronger impacts on society, industry and the economy of all families”, said the Secretary of State. “Last year we recorded three heat waves, with the highest temperatures since records exist… The energy transition is a response to that crisis.” Under this scenario, Spain is committed to developing a model that contributes both to energy saving and efficiency, and to the electrification of the economy.
One of the big bets, both from the Government and from the industry, is to create one of the main production and distribution centers of two vectors that will help decarbonise: green hydrogen and biogas. All this, according to Aagesen, will contribute not only to a cleaner system, but also to a more autonomous one. “We cannot generate a future model with new dependencies that make us vulnerable again,” he stressed. And in this sense, Spain is in a privileged place with the development of the BarMar or H2Med, a hydroduct between the Iberian Peninsula and the rest of Europe, to which Germany has recently joined. “It will allow us to be a hub of renewable hydrogen… it will bring two million tons in 2030, 10% of consumption [para ese año]”, highlighted the Secretary of State.
Carlos Solé, partner responsible for Energy at KPMG in Spain, indicated that investors have a great appetite for investing in renewable projects and new technologies that are being developed here. “We see that Spain is interested,” he stressed. For example, a button: 20% of the sustainable hydrogen projects in the world are in the national territory. And it’s not just a question of resources; Spain also leads the energy debate in Europe. “It is doing it because it has fundamentals,” said Beatriz Corredor, president of Redeia, the parent company of the Red Eléctrica system operator. Proof of this is the Iberian mechanism, which is making energy prices 26% cheaper than in France, 41% lower than in Italy and 35% lower than in Germany.
Corredor indicated that renewables are gaining weight in power generation and are approaching the goal set in the National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan, which provides for 60% of electricity from clean sources in 2025 and 74% by 2030. Last year, the figure reached 43%, according to the operator’s data. “We are the renewable engine of Europe,” Corredor added. “Without the renewables from Spain and Portugal, Europe will not meet the energy efficiency or renewable targets, but neither will it meet the strategic autonomy to which it aspires,” he added.
“The country has a gigantic opportunity,” highlighted Andrés Guevara, BP’s president for Spain. The national market represents one of the eight priorities for this company worldwide. The firm has set its sights on green hydrogen projects and the creation of biofuels. “Not everything is electrification,” said the manager, who expects a greater boost to clean sources with the landing of more European funds. Likewise, he explained that it is just as important to advance in offshore wind technology, because without it, the production of sustainable energy that is expected in the future will not be fulfilled. If all these fringes are closed, the country would have a unique position: “Spain can be a production pole that surely supplies energy to the rest of Europe. It is a totally credible potentiality”.
But it is not only the country’s environmental conditions that captivate the firms. They are also the legal conditions in which the energy sector develops. “In Spain we have the regulatory, fiscal and legislative stability to guarantee and promote the necessary investments to make this a reference case,” said Ana Paula Marques, CEO of EDP Spain. The representative of the Portuguese company explained that the industry and the sector are going through a turbulent time, with great uncertainty and volatility. The energy, she said, has been brought to the fore at meetings at all levels. “It’s a time when energy is central,” she added.
“Spain has a great opportunity and a great responsibility,” added Arturo Gonzalo, CEO of Enagás. “Europe is something that we all have to build together and Spain, as it has done its homework well in recent decades and the actors have built an extraordinary infrastructure, now we have the responsibility to help.” The country’s position is unmatched: “It has 33% of all the liquefied gas regasification capacity on the continent and 44% of all the storage capacity in liquefied natural gas tanks,” added Gonzalo. But there’s still a lot to do. “Complacency is never good,” acknowledged Jorge Lanza, CEO of Exolum. In his opinion, some regulations related to the new liquid biofuels remain to be implemented. “We are going to inaugurate the first green hydrogen generation for mobility in the Community of Madrid and to start it up is an obstacle course because there are no regulations, there are no regulations… that is a challenge”, Lanza exemplified.
THE COUNTRY of the morning
Wake up with the analysis of the day by Berna González Harbor