A study by the NGO Friends of the Earth argues that, with adequate regulatory and institutional support, the so-called energy communities could cover 60% of the electricity demand in Spain and 100% of the consumption of the domestic and domestic sectors by 2030. tertiary.
Local energy communities, the transition to a new “efficient and collaborative” model
The report on The potential of Energy Communities in the Spanish State is presented this Thursday with the participation of the Institute for Energy Diversification and Saving (IDAE) of the Ministry for Ecological Transition. The document estimates that in 2030 Spain could achieve a production of 148,610 GWh per year with the creation of 8,245 energy communities that would represent a total investment of 98,389 million euros.
This investment would generate “for families, companies and public entities a total of 9,855 million euros in savings”, due to the reduction of imported energy from the network, and 5,762 million in income, as a result of the sale of the surplus generated.
To calculate this potential, the report estimates that, of the 8,131 municipalities in the State, “there would be at least one community per municipality (1 per rural municipality in 7,886 towns and 1.4 in 347 urban municipalities)”. Each community would have a small-scale photovoltaic, mini-wind and biomass energy mix and with it “we would cover what is equivalent to almost 100% of the electricity demand of the domestic and tertiary sectors”.
The net emission savings (considering the impact caused throughout the life cycle of the generation facilities) would be “17 million tons of CO2 equivalent per year. The same as going around the Earth by car 7.2 million times ”.
Potential in the rural world
The report highlights the special potential that these communities have in the rural world, with initiatives such as the Hacendera Solar pilot project launched by Red Eléctrica this year in Castilfrío de la Sierra (Soria).
The NGO points out that in cases where they are established in areas with sufficient biomass availability, “the local energy self-sufficiency could be achieved by adding biomass cogeneration systems to photovoltaic and wind installations”, which would add the “modular” component. of fuel for the periods in which these other two sources do not allow to cover consumption.
Friends of the Earth urges the Administrations to “establish a target of 40% of the total identified potential of energy generated by energy communities, that is, 59,444 GWh, by 2030, and 50% for photovoltaic energy on roofs and roofs, 46,486, 5 GWh ”. And it calls for measures to make it possible, including financial support.
The study takes into account a maximum distance of 2 kilometers from the point of generation to consumption, and not 500 meters, as now, a limit that it claims to suppress because it is one of the aspects that “hinders” its deployment in neighborhoods, cities or peoples. And it calls for a system of distribution of collective self-consumption with dynamic coefficients, and not static ones, so that the maximum possible energy is consumed at the moment it is generated and avoid it being dumped into the network as surplus, taking into account the real demand of each competitor.
The report recommends placing solar panels “on all roofs and roofs in the Spanish geography that are susceptible to such installation.” In a “high implementation” scenario, they would contribute 93,000 GWh by 2030, of which 70% would be consumed instantly and the rest would be poured into the grid as surplus, and would allow covering “almost 60%” of the demand for the domestic and tertiary sectors, with a saving of 12,365 million tons of CO2 equivalent, “which is equivalent to going around the earth by car 5 million times or traveling from the Earth to the Sun 433 times”.
Energy communities are a paradigm of socialization and democratization of energy. Through renewable sources, they allow citizens to be involved in the management of their energy, from generation to distribution, demand management and consumption, taking advantage, “as far as possible, of the local resources available to them. (solar energy, wind, hydraulic, biomass, etc.), in order to increase its energy autonomy and reduce dependence on external supplies “, recalls the report. In January, Transición Ecológica opened a public consultation to gather proposals and initiatives related to local communities and define the strategic lines of action of the Recovery Plan in this area.
“Within a distributed generation system, Energy Communities constitute a particular case of local production units, in which the generation facilities are, at least in part, collectively owned,” says Friends of the Earth. With some experiences underway in Spain, they are “in an early phase of development and implementation”, among other things, because the associated legislation “is not yet developed”, although they are mentioned in the National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan (PNIEC ) and the Government regulated them for the first time a year ago.
The PNIEC marks a 74% penetration of renewable energies in electricity generation in 2030. According to Friends of the Earth, “there is a capacity for it to be 100%, taking into account the science that tells us that this decade is decisive in order to achieve climate neutrality ”.