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It is necessary to invest more in wind in Europe

In order to meet the renewable targets set by the European Union (32% by 2030), investment in wind energy should be increased, as indicated by Daniel Fraile, Head of Market Intelligence at Wind Europe, in the seminar on Wind and Markets that is being celebrated today in Madrid organized by the Wind Business Association ( AEE ).


Wind power currently covers 11% of the EU’s energy demand and considerably more in many countries: Denmark 37%; Ireland 27%; Portugal 25%; Spain 19%; Germany 16%. The International Energy Agency estimates that by 2030, it will cover almost 30%. But this requires correct policies, greater transformation of the energy system, technological development and advances in the electrification of transport and heating.

It also needs a significant investment in the extension of the useful life and the repowering of existing wind farms (almost half of them will reach the end of their operational life by 2030). And more investment in research and innovation to reduce costs, improve the integration of the system and maintain the base of manufacturing. These are data provided by Daniel Fraile in the conference on Wind and Markets, during his participation in the first of the tables held this morning, which has focused on the barriers and challenges of wind integration in the electricity supply.

The representative of WindEurope has shared a table with Jesús Ferrero, deputy director general of Renewable Energy and Studies of the Ministry of Transition Ecology, who has placed the accent on the challenge that decarbonization poses for Spain: “The objective is to reduce emissions by 20% by 2030 Regarding the 1990 emissions, and now we are over 18%, so we have to reduce them by 38%. ” The electricity sector, which represents 25% of final energy consumption, “should lead the process of electrification of the economy and use of renewable sources, but electrification has to take place in all sectors: transport, thermal, industry …”, has added.

Ferrero also referred to the announcement made yesterday by Minister Teresa Ribera that the Energy and Climate Plan, which will define the roadmap for the energy transition, will be approved by the Council of Ministers next 22nd and sent to Brussels to continuation. A Plan that includes the closure of nuclear plants between 2025 and 2035 and that of coal thermal plants from 2020, so that by 2030 there will be no more operations. The engines of the transition will be renewable and energy efficiency, along with electrification, with a mobilization in investments of more than 200,000 million euros, according to the minister. Around 40-45% of the investment will be taken by the renewable, 30-35% of the energy efficiency, 15% will be associated with networks and another 4% will be invested in electrification for end uses.

Many way to go

Jesus Ferrero has not provided more information about the Plan, waiting for approval by the Government, but if he has talked about what is going to involve this process. It implies, among many other things, “redesigning the electric power transmission and distribution network” since many of the production centers “will be in other places,” he explained. It will also be necessary to streamline the administrative processing of the wind farms (now it takes three years to give the permits) and “to manage well the social position” to avoid “incomprehension and rejections”.

Regarding the auctions carried out in 2016 and 2017, Ferrero has indicated that the construction of the 500 megawatts of wind auctioned in 2016 “will end in March 2020”. As for the 2017, “more than 3,300 MW of the 4,100 MW auctioned have been accredited for now”. What does not seem clear is that there will be new auctions this year. The representative of the Ministry of Ecological Transition has said that if a new auction is approved as they have been designed so far, there would be no problem, but it is necessary to improve the model and “this is a long process”.

Joan Groizard, director of Renewable Energies of the IDAE and another one of the speakers of the table, considers that the new auctions that are made “must include elements that allow the citizen participation”. Regarding the challenges involved in changing the way we generate and consume energy, he said that “we start from a privileged situation, because wind and photovoltaics are already fully competitive”, but we must install above 3,000 MW per year, “and we do not want bubbles or bursts”.

The IDAE representative added: “we want there to be clear signals and to ensure that the transition is made in a fair manner, without leaving anyone out”. And self-consumption is one of the key elements of this whole process: “Self-consumption,” pointed out Groizard, “is no longer just a solar panel in my house, it is also, for example, a wind farm feeding an industrial park.” It also means “involving the public in the investment in renewable energies”.

More keys of the new model

The conference was opened by the President of the Wind Business Association, Rocío Sicre, and Carmen Becerril, Vice President of OMIE. In his speech, Sicre said: “the wind has done well, is a present energy, and will continue to do well”, and has highlighted the creation of industry, throughout the value chain, which has been accompanying the development of the wind in Spain. Sicre has also referred to the agreements of comparison-sale of electricity (PPAs), ensuring that in 2018, “have become a reality and one of the elements that will allow wind to continue growing.”

Carmen Becerrill has started her intervention by noting that, unlike what happened in the past, there is now consensus among experts that the objectives set for 2030 are achievable. “Now,” he added, “we must put on the table all the conditions that allow us to achieve these objectives in an orderly manner.”

In the opinion of the vice president of OMIE, decarbonization, plus energy efficiency are two of the key factors to achieve this. The demand is different. A demand that “should change profile, since with the new model changes the position of the small consumer, but also of the big ones, that should facilitate that all this flows”. To this we must add the digitization, which allows us to respond to situations increasingly sophisticated and complex. All these tools must be put at the service of the model model, and for this, Becerril concluded, “dialogue and flexibility are needed”.

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