Iberdrola and Endesa are struggling to meet the government’s renewable energy targets and are questioning the nuclear shutdown.

Directors of Iberdrola and Endesa questioned this Thursday whether the renewable targets of the government’s draft National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan (PNIEC) update, shortly before the general election in June, could be met. Both executives also weighed in on the challenge of the nuclear freeze they agreed with the socialist executive in 2019.

Speaking at El Economista newspaper’s VIII Energy Forum, Iberdrola’s CEO, Mario Ruiz-Tagle, highlighted the “huge opportunity” and “huge potential” of the energy transition for Spain, which is “unfortunately”. It is not developing “as fast as it needs to be”.

He recalled that 6,000 megawatts (MW) were installed in 2022, the year with the most renewable energy sources on board, when, as Bogas pointed out, 10,000 megawatts per year are needed to meet the goal of increasing green energy by 85,000 megawatts. 2030, which includes a new project.

Iberdrola’s executive urged them to “be realistic” in the face of “structural, financing, supplier, specialized labor barriers” and “absurd” timelines for obtaining authorizations: a 50 MW solar park could “take four years” compared to eight months. of construction”. Ruiz-Tagle asked himself: “How much cheap energy are we unable to produce and how many investments are we delaying because of delays in the permitting process?”

Bogas said the goal of installing 10,000 megawatts per year is “very difficult” because operators “in the very short term suffer from a shortage of materials in the supply chain” and a lack of human resources, with much higher financial costs. High due to rising interest rates and slow approvals. And “we’re already suffering from something troubling, which is a sense of public reluctance to install renewable energy.”

According to Endesa’s CEO, the PNIEC is a “very good”, “challenging” and “ambitious” plan, but it cannot be imposed on “whoever falls”. Nor should the closure of nuclear plants from 2027, which he has again called for, be “written in stone”.

The government, companies and regulators should have a “necessary year,” he said, because in the agreement with state company Enresa to shut down the reactors “in an orderly manner,” there were “a number of conditions that we have to see that are met.” “What we can’t do is shoot ourselves in the foot because one concept trumps the others.”

Ruiz-Tagle, from Iberdrola, elaborated on this idea, recalling that storage with reversible stations, pumps or batteries, which have not yet been removed and for which the sector requires specific regulation, is “key” to integrate renewable energy and fulfill this closure plan. .

On paper, the plan was “a perfect idea, much better than other countries”. But “it remains to be seen” whether the replacement for nuclear will come to fruition. So far, according to his reminder, this source would provide 20% of electricity in 2022. “Closing the gap that’s going to happen” with closures, storage and batteries “is an important element.”

On the demand side, the Chilean emphasized that the artificial intelligence sector, big data centers, “are going to have a huge demand” that must be covered by renewable energy sources. In order to “take advantage” of the wind and solar surplus that Spain will have with this boom, industrial demand will need to be established. Tagle doubted that hydrogen would be enough, a technology that, as Bogas recalls, is not currently competitive.

As data, and not “scary”, the CEO of Iberdrola explained that the PNIEC is based on the fact that by 2030 there will be 25 TW of electricity left per year, which is 10% of the consumption in Spain in one year. But “if the additional 11 gigawatts of hydrogen electrolyzers” are not built “and the planned interconnections are not built, we could end up with almost half of what Spain consumes.” The country “is not in a position to devote its energy.”

Both managers agreed to demand improvements in distribution returns to enable the energy transition. This was also announced by Naturgy CEO Francisco Reynes. In his inaugural speech, he called for “more ambition” in the PNIEC’s renewable gas targets and warned that there was still volatility in the energy market. There is “significant regulatory uncertainty” and we are “better off” than a year ago, “but many of the factors that caused this have not gone away. We must not let our guard down.”

“Clear rules of the game”

Josue John Imaz, CEO of Repsol, called for “stability and predictability” from Europe and “clear rules of the game” to ensure affordable energy for households and companies and compete with the incentives of the Inflation Reduction Act (known as the IRA). United States.

The Basque executive argued that we need to be “smart when it comes to decarbonisation” and called for “technological neutrality” from regulators. CO2 emissions are rising worldwide as developing countries, unable to pay for gas after spiraling prices caused by the war in Ukraine, have “overcome coal”, Repsol’s chief executive said.

His colleague Cepsa, Maarten Wetselaar, assured that Spain has “three unique opportunities” in the next 5-10 years “that can change the country profoundly”: thanks to the most competitive renewable energy in Europe, it can decarbonize energy, become an exporter. Green hydrogen and, most interestingly, the country can be reindustrialized.

The Dutch executive, which is leading the largest green hydrogen project in Andalusia, has called for speeding up administrative procedures, “freeing up European funds” and improving the regulatory framework with specific hydrogen regulations.

Source: El Diario

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