Sat. Jan 19th, 2019

Invisible green revolution by Pedro Sánchez

Invisible green revolution by Pedro Sánchez


The energy transition is one of the flags of the Government of Sanchez, who dedicated an exclusive portfolio, with Teresa Ribero at the forefront, to prepare the Spanish economy to meet the objectives of reducing CO2 emissions. However, the General State Budgets reflect that the Executive has prioritized other items to the detriment of the green revolution. In this sense, the policies of Industry and Energy, fundamental legs of the energy transition, take just 29 million more than in the 2018 Budgets, prepared by the PP. A stunted increase for these policies -which go from 5,774 million euros in 2018 to the current 5,803 million- and which leaves its weight within the State's resources in the same percentage as in 2018, 1.6% of the total expenditure contained in the PGE. And this despite the fact that the Government itself has set itself the draft bill on climate change and ecological transition that at least 20% of the resources contained in the General State Budgets have a positive impact on the decarbonization and electrification of Spain .

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The ministers of Economy, Nadia Calviño, and Treasury, María Jesús Montero, explained last Friday that the ecological transition will have a "special budget" focused on the promotion of sustainable mobility and environmental efficiency, the improvement of air quality and the promotion of the regions affected by the processes related to decarbonisation, such as mining areas. Calviño said that the items for Industry and Energy will increase, if approved, by 12% and will allow the areas to be promoted in the renewal process, boost renewable energies or energy efficiency, among other priority actions to face the first phase of this green revolution

However, the PGE reflect a symbolic rise of 0.5% in the policies of Industry and Energy, which should be fed by the transfer of other items to meet the objectives announced by the minister.

Much of this ecological revolution that has been championed by the Government of Sanchez goes through decarbonization. The difficulties of removing coal from the non-energy sectors imply the almost total decarbonization of the electricity sector. A complex objective if we take into account that the final share of pure renewable energies is 17.5% and, above all, very expensive. In fact, the renewable "lobby" calculates that an investment of 100,000 million euros will be necessary over the next ten years to change the current energy model, where the weight of fossil technologies and nuclear energy is still significant.

It is true that Spain has other sources within the energy mix to generate electricity without emissions of greenhouse gases such as nuclear and hydro, which contributed 20.6% and 16.9% to electricity generation in the first half of last year. However, Sanchez announced since assuming the power that he wants to approve as soon as possible a timetable for closing nuclear power plants, which would be abolished in 2027, with a cost for the sector exceeding 6,000 million euros.

The ambitious long-term plans of the Executive are kept in a limbo of announcements with no clear calendars or public resources destined to mitigate the sharp rise in the prices of electricity that will lead to the electrification of the economy and that has been noticed in the last exercises. The energy transition also combines an equation that adds an increasing demand with more expensive generation sources due to the gradual elimination of coal and nuclear, an energy that due to the strategic location of its power stations within the network map and its situation as backup technology -always available, unlike renewable energies, and with a raw material with predictable prices- would make it necessary a great transformation of the electricity supply system, according to experts.

The emissions of the whole of the Spanish economy in 2030 should be reduced by 20% compared to 1990 and by 90% in 2050. In addition, in 2030 a penetration of energies of renewable origin must be achieved in the final energy consumption of 35%, achieve by 2030 an electric system with at least 70% generation from renewable energies and improve energy efficiency by reducing primary energy consumption by at least 35% compared to the baseline according to community regulations .

Although the bulk of this energy transformation will start in 2020, the Executive of Sanchez has frozen its commitment to the green revolution to try to gain support in the street and in Congress, with the rise in pensions and the largest transfer of resources for Catalonia .

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