jeudi 21 mars 2019

Spain is reforming its Energy and Climate Policy. A ray of hope?

It’s been eight months that a new government in Spain is positioning the country to become one of Europe’s renewable energy leaders. Since then, former environmental activist Teresa Ribera in charge of the newly created Ministry for Ecological Transition has made strong moves. Fernando Ferrando from the Spanish NGO Fundacion Renovables gives an insight into the most recent legislative pieces that could bring change to the Spanish energy system. He suggests that the national plans are good, but not yet good enough.

An opinion piece by Fernando Ferrando Vitales, President of Fundación Renovables

Last February we discovered some of the concrete measures included in the Spanish Government’s Energy and Climate Change Package – a bill on Climate Change and Energy Transition, the National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) and the Fair Transition Strategy - a package that was awaited and that has now become even more urgent due to the upcoming general elections. A draft of the Royal Decree on self-consumption will be added to this Package then followed by a period for submitting contributions.

For when the Spanish nuclear phase-out ?

All this has given us a new opportunity to submit our proposals to society and political parties. Even before the publication of the PNIEC, the fact that the Ministry of Ecological Transition wanted to postpone nuclear phase-out instead of implementing the initial plan to close each plant on expiry of their operating licence had already become known.

We consider that they should all be closed by 2024 as extending their lives implies increasing the economic, environmental and social burdens of society and future generations. This is why we organised a symposium with Greenpeace during which we presented the document jointly developed by our two organisations : “Proposals for a horizon without nuclear power plants”. We demand an accelerated closure timetable with solid and proven arguments and data, information included in the NECP, but not known to us at the time of the symposium. We also regret it does not contain the compulsory closing dates for coal-fired power plants, which should all be closed by 2025.

« We believe that this is a big step, but everything hinges on how the many plans announced are implemented and their evolution once the Law on Climate Change and Energy Transition is adopted. »

The new target has to be near 100% renewables.

Of course, it was with some satisfaction that we learned of the political position of the executive in favour of changing the model that constitutes the Integrated National Plan of Energy and Climate. Its objective of raising the target of 20% renewables in energy end use (target for 2020) to 42% by 2030 approaches our proposals, which set coverage of 50% by this date. Likewise, the NECP sets a target of 74% electricity generation from renewable energy sources, very close to the 80% proposed by the Fundación Renovables.

We believe that this is a big step, but everything hinges on how the many plans announced are implemented and their evolution once the Law on Climate Change and Energy Transition is adopted.
On the other hand, in terms of emissions, the Plan sets a 20% reduction in Greenhouse Gas Emissions compared to 1990, a clearly insufficient objective compared with the 40% fixed by the European Union or the 55% of the European Parliament. We do not share the opinion that the target by 2050 should be a reduction of at least 90% of our GHG emissions. It is essential that this reduction is 100% by mid-century.

The plan now starts a period of public consultation during which the European Commission and Spain, as a Member State, begin a structured process of dialogue that will culminate in final approval of the plan by the end of the year, so we will continue working to make its content and development as ambitious as possible.

Self-consumption as a way to boost the energy transition

This month we have also paid special attention to self-consumption and preparation of the contributions to the draft of the Self-Consumption Royal Decree on behalf of the Self-consumption Alliance, of which we are members and whose activities we coordinate as its Secretariat. We will see the results this month, as the government has announced that it will approve the Royal Decree in the Council of Ministers.

This move towards self-consumption by the Ministry of Ecological Transition has been a relief for the renewables sector., as was obvious at GENERA 2019, where consumption was one of the main issues, and as shown at the workshop organised by the Ministry for Industry, Energy and Tourism IDAE, in which the Fundación Renovables also participated and had full attendance.

We have also had the opportunity to observe the interest in self-consumption at the technical workshop held this month in Vitoria-Gasteiz with the City Council, with which we collaborated in preparing a diagnosis and some proposals for a Municipal energy transition Strategy for 2020-2030.

In a word, we are working to ensure that when implementing the energy transition one key condition is met : that it is in the people’s interest.

Copyright : Photo by Willian Justen

by Miriam Eisermann on 21 mars 2019 / 564 visits

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