The global consensus on the need for the energy transition towards a decarbonised economy is going to be one of the biggest transformations that our society must face in a long time. This process is undoubtedly due to the massive integration of renewable energies and the electrification of the economy (given that the direct use of renewable energies is not possible, and their previous conversion into electricity is necessary).
Red Eléctrica de España, due to its central position, has a key role reserved. We will have to face internal changes, which allow us to contribute to the great external challenges that the sector needs.
The current model of the electricity system consists of a generation that is fundamentally concentrated, manageable and continuous, which reaches consumers whose behavior is reasonably predictable through the transport and distribution networks. The massive integration of renewables will lead us towards a future model, with generation that is mostly non-manageable and more dispersed in the territory. We refer to that generation as manageable (coal and natural gas) that can be adapted to the demand curve of consumers, while non-manageable is that which must be produced when the resource is presented (wind and photovoltaic), which does not always coincide with the aforementioned demand curve.
There are several keys that will allow us to transition between both models.
First, the development of electrical interconnections between systems, which will be of special interest for a country like Spain, which in the medium term will become an exporter of renewable energy, according to the provisions of the draft National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan.
A second factor to be developed will be the storage of electricity, which is essential to take advantage of renewable generation surpluses in the moments that occur. The storage can be done through the so-called hydroelectric generation of pumping or by batteries, the latter technology still in the maturation phase.
In the third place we will have to evolve towards a more active management of the demand, since the consumer, both industrial and domestic, will play a more relevant role.
Fourth, and in order to achieve the medium-term integration of the new anticipated contingents of renewable generation, the development of new transport networks will be necessary. The traditional energy flows between producers and consumers are changing due to the dispersion of the new generation and the variability of its resource. To adjust an unmanageable and interruptible supply to a demand that is not as predictable as before, transport networks should be equipped with more intelligence and meshing, with management and automation mechanisms that allow the efficient integration of the behavior of all users (generators). and consumers), ensuring a sustainable, efficient energy system with guaranteed supply.
Successfully completing this transition necessarily involves the commitment of all, administrations, companies and consumers. We entered a period with limited deadlines where the planning, authorization and construction of the new transport networks should be developed at a higher rate than usual. Therefore, it will be especially important to streamline administrative procedures to achieve success, always seeking consensus and without detriment to any administrative and environmental guarantee.
The fight against climate change has no turning back. It is a great challenge where Red Eléctrica will put all its effort to achieve the objectives that society has set. But we are facing a path that we must inevitably travel together.