Fri. Apr 19th, 2019

José Domínguez Abascal: "I am sure that the electric companies will not jeopardize the nuclear protocol" | Companies

José Domínguez Abascal: "I am sure that the electric companies will not jeopardize the nuclear protocol" | Companies


The person in charge of the energy area of ​​the Ministry for the Ecological Transition who directs Teresa Rivera, It has shown great coordination to move forward a battery of measures on the border between energy and the environment. José Domínguez Abascal (Sevilla, 1953), is a professor at the School of Engineering of the University of Seville. He was general secretary of Universities, Research and Technology of the Junta de Andalucía and responsible for the development of renewables at Abengoa, a company that he presided over for a few months. A great merit of the Ministry of Ribera has been the protocol that has sponsored for the orderly closure of the nuclear park between 2027 and 2035, which have been signed by the big electricity companies (Endesa, Iberdrola, Naturgy and EDP), with Enresa. But the swords are still high.

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The nuclear peace has lasted only a few hours. On Tuesday, after Endesa signed the protocol, the assembly to decide the extension request of Almaraz until 2027, ended up as the rosary of the aurora.

You have to put it in context. For the first time something has happened and we should be happy. That was the first meeting to see the extension of Almaraz after the signing of the protocol. But they have until the 31st deadline and they will negotiate again. I would have been surprised if they had agreed to the first one.

But they are enrocadas: Iberdrola and Naturgy want to put conditions to request the renovation and Endesa rejects it of plane.

I think they will agree, they have to do it and I know they will act responsibly. The closure of nuclear power plants is a problem that is significant enough for companies that have been working in Spain for years, which are an important part of the system and want to continue working here, to put the system at risk. I'm sure that will not happen.

The problem is that the conditions on Almaraz are directed by the Ministry and the Nuclear Safety Council (CSN). If this were the case, would they accept them?

If you get to that point, you'll see what to do. For the moment, the most important thing has been done: define what the closing date is in which they feel comfortable and the rate of waste management. A pitfall has arisen in a concrete plant, but it will be solved.

Some people think that the increase in the Enresa rate (up to a maximum of 20%) is insufficient for the dismantling.

Enresa technicians have analyzed how the process of custody of the waste should be and have determined the cost. I do not think we should question those numbers, because they are the result of an analysis that, of course, they have done responsibly.

There are technical solutions for more than one radioactive waste warehouse other than the current ATI and one ATC

In this calculation has the construction of the Centralized Temporary Storage (ATC) of radioactive waste been taken into account?

A temporary warehouse is included as long as the final storage is reached. What is not done is to define exactly the ATC projected 15 or 20 years ago, because the technology has changed. But a temporary storage is defined.

Centralized?

A temporary warehouse. The way it is done is not decided.

But it is important to know if it is centralized or the indidividual stores of each central or ATI will be maintained.

These are not necessarily the only solution. There are technical solutions that could lead to more than one warehouse other than the ATI and a single centralized or ATC. In any case, Enresa has made the calculations taking this into account.

When will a new National Radioactive Waste Plan replace the 2006 Plan?

Enresa is making it. The news we have is that it is very advanced and that in a short time it will be ready. If it's before or after the elections, I do not know. It's a matter of a few months.

The PP has threatened to denounce the renewal of the CSN.

The Popular Party is free to take the decisions it deems appropriate. The Government has exercised its responsibility. We have at the door requests for extension of power plants and a modification of the radioactive waste plan that requires a council in full activity, without additional difficulties. At this time, with a counselor who can no longer attend due to reaching the maximum age and others in extension, the agency is in a situation of precariousness. In the exercise of her powers, the minister asked to the PP that proposed some candidate, but this put the strange consideration of what other parties had to do. The Congress has already discussed the proposal for the renewal of the Government [se prevé que este la apruebe el día 22].

Renewables are demanding many urgent measures, as if there was not a tomorrow. For example, the decree that develops self-consumption.

From the first day we made it clear that we believe in self-consumption and that the technical conditions are given to make it possible. We eliminated the sun tax and started working on a royal decree to develop it. This includes not only individual self-consumption, but also shared consumption. The decree is in process of hearing and we hope that it can be approved in the Council of Ministers before the elections.

They also claim an RDL that maintains the current profitability of renewables from 2020, given that the bill can not be approved this year.

We have tried. We have worked hard on some texts, despite the short time that we have arranged. But Citizens and the Popular Party told us that they would not convalidate that royal decree-law in Congress. We believe that it is necessary to do it, for the investors of the renewable ones, fundamentally, those of the national photovoltaic, that are not subjected to international arbitrations. We are committed to doing it, but the legal modification has a long process, longer than this mini-legislature. We have not arrived in time for a law and an RDL was going to block us. We will have to do it in the next legislature.

But the companies say that they had the support of the PP and C's

We spoke directly with the spokespersons of the two groups and literally said no. Apparently, they were told yes. In that case, they have nothing to fear, for whoever governs govern will support it, unless they have said yes with a small mouth. The The associations of those affected do not trust that this will be the case if the new government is not socialist. If the government is socialist, it will do it.

REE has already concluded that the closure of the nine national coal plants does not endanger the supply

Have you also been asked to call a renewable auction to fulfill the promise of awarding 3,000 MW annually?

This issue also requires elaboration. Wind and solar production are the cheapest. And that must be repeated because there are still those who believe that it is very expensive. The problem is that auctions are regulated in a very strange way, because whoever did it did not imagine that they would be cheaper than the market price. Today, the question is, what is the premium given to that price, because being cheaper, the most that can come out is zero and, therefore, the market price. But that's not good for consumers. The Government's project is to auction the price of energy, achieving a public purchase for the system at a price lower than the market price. But, unfortunately, this also requires the modification of a norm with the rank of law.

If they repeat in the Government they would summon it via RDL to give time this year?

Clear. My perception is that, given the climate situation, this is urgent. And therefore justify a rule of an urgent nature.

What would you say to those who criticize the PNIEC for being too ambitious?

We believe that it is a very stable plan that, obviously, will have to be corrected in interaction with the EU. This has very aligned objectives with the Spanish, especially the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, which is the most important. It is an effort similar to the average of the EU.

But the least credible is efficiency.

I do not think so. Efficiency is almost a consequence. The PNIEC is an effort but also an opportunity that we should not miss. We are as ambitious as we can be and all the less ambitious given the seriousness of the problem.

Have you already analyzed the request to close the nine national coal plants?

Faced with the chain of requests for the closure of the national coal plants that, unfortunately, are the most polluting, those with the lowest calorific value and in which the companies do not report, the ministry asked REE.

And have you already answered?

Yes. And your answer is that the system can support the closure of these plants and that supply is guaranteed. The owners want to close them; the supply is guaranteed and also makes sense from an environmental point of view. In addition, the share of coal is going down in a natural way, it is at the same height as the gas. This brings us to the just transition, which the Government has set in motion for the regions affected by the closure of the mines and thermal power plants.

The energy operators, REE and Enagás, have closed two important purchase operations, in Hispasat and in a US firm, respectively. Do you find it normal that these operations Do not have to go through the CNMC?

In the Enagás the Government has been able to comment, the information has flowed. The board of SEPI, which participates in the shareholding of both, has approved them. In Hispasat I have been on the list of people with restricted access to information.

I do not mean the information, but rather that the supervisor lacks a legal tool to analyze the purchases of these regulated companies.

Surely, at some point, a government will make some legal modification leading to that. Enagás and REE are peculiar companies, they are system operators and listed companies, with investment funds in their shareholding. Two activities that do not always have ends fully aligned. Therefore, some restriction of the type that comments makes sense.

Also the power to fix ratios to the debt of the distributors that you have requested?

In that sense it goes. The suggestion of the CNMC makes sense, what happens is that the time that we have arranged in this mini-legislature has been very limited.

The PNIEC has not satisfied the cogenerators, since it foresees by 2030 a reduction of its capacity from 4,000 to 3,000 MW.

In Spain there are cogenerators that sell electricity to the system and buy electricity from the system. They are doing something as inefficient as having electricity in their own plant and sending it to the grid with the losses it entails. The numbers come out because they are paid a significantly high price. They must cogenerate the plants that need heat in their productive process in a significant amount. If not, they are less efficient than combined cycles. This makes us suppose that 25% will end their lives before 2030.

Two types of electrointensive consumers and an auction

José Domínguez Abascal, Secretary of State for Energy.
José Domínguez Abascal, Secretary of State for Energy.

The Secretary of Energy, José Dom'ñinguez Abascal, advances that the joint proposal of the ministries of Ecological Transition and Industry to create a statute to help the big industry to face its energy costs, will have two categories of users: the electrointensive and the hiperelectrointensivo.

On the verge of going out to public consultation, the decree fixes these categories according to the energy consumed by the gross added value of production. These consumers "are imposed some rights and obligations," according to Dominguez. Rights give rise to "an acceptable cost of electricity, which allows them to be more competitive in the European context and their obligations are related to emissions, innovation and efficiency".

The Secretary of State acknowledges that his ministry will convene an interruption auction for the second semester to be held in May and "with a new format" to overcome the EU's reluctance about incentives on suspicion of being covert state aid.

The high position of the Ministry for the Ecological Transition discards the recovery of the payments for availability that until last year measured the generation plants received: "They were suspended and this Government will not resume them."

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