A Five-Year Span of Energy Sector Reforms Favorable for Spain

A Five-Year Span of Energy Sector Reforms Favorable for Spain

In 2018, Spain underwent a major energy reform, focusing in large part on the renewables sector, something Spain is very proud of and also something that Climate Scorecard often mentions in their Spanish country posts (see here and here).

In early 2019, further energy reform was paused while Prime Minister Sanchez was having trouble putting together a viable political coalition. Since then, the consolidation was completed, plans were continued, and Spain’s energy sector saw itself in a good position in early 2020.

The Minister of Energy, Jose Domínguez, made a statement in March of 2019 that as soon as the National Climate and Energy Plan (PNIEC) was completed, it would be necessary to further reform and adapt the taxation methods of the electric market. The plan would include the creation of between 250,000 to 300,000 new jobs in the energy sector, as well as 55,000 additional megawatts, comparable to over 100 large-scale solar farms or 22,000 wind turbines. The final objective continues to be carbon neutrality by 2050. 

One major advance that Spain has made in the past five years in the energy sector is lowering the price of solar panels, which caused a 94% increase in its usage from 2017 to 2018. After this impulse, Spain was able to claim the installation of over 5,000 MW of renewable energy in one year, something that had been extremely difficult­––if not impossible––to do over the previous decade due to an economic bubble in the energy sector.

One other major source of energy that Spain continues to be reliant on is nuclear power. Spain generates about a fifth of its electricity from seven nuclear power reactors in various locations of the country. The World Nuclear Association mentions that while government commitment to nuclear power has been uncertain, its low costs could lead to a renewed interest in the controversial source of power.

The impact that these energy reforms have had is significant. Spain has come a long way since 2015 but still has a long way to go. As renewables and nuclear energy levels went up, fossil fuel usage also went down at a remarkable level, albeit still not as quickly as some environmental groups aspired, partially due to new usage of the transitional fuels like liquid natural gas (LNG). Spain is the sixth-largest energy consumer in Europe and relies heavily on transitional energy sources such as LNG. LNG, while backed by industry, is increasingly coming under fire for not being as transparent and transitional as once thought.

One additional hiccup that could prove to be a problem for the continued interest in Spanish renewables is their high subsidy cost, and Pedro Sánchez’s government is yet to address such issues moving forward. The Ministry for the Ecological Transition recently settled €90,000,000 in arbitrations for an ongoing lawsuit concerning cuts to renewable energy subsidies, another hit to the Ministry that has been dealing with this same issue since 2011.


Activity Rating: ****Moving Forward

 

Based on the quantity and ranges of changes Spain has made in its energy sector over the past five years, the country has made good progress. However, based on the effect that these reforms have had on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions levels, Spain has not advanced as much as many would have liked. The aspirations are high, yet the obstacles of a quickly warming planet are becoming even higher each year.


Take Action:

Please write a message to the Spanish Minister of Spain with the following information.

Dear Minister Domínguez:

I write to you, again thanking you for your work, but also probing the status of the new 2020 energy reform you spoke of last March. A year has now passed, and Spain requires further energy reform efforts. I believe Spain has a great opportunity to be successful, but also believe the dangers of climate change are approaching faster than policymakers have been able to prepare for. If Spain has not finalized its 2020 energy plan, I urge you and your team to do so as soon as possible. While policy change is generally incremental, the climate crisis deserves more pertinent attention and a constant eye on possible further changes.

Thank you and best regards,

[Your name here]

 

Contact Information:  

José Domínguez Abascal

Secretaría de Estado de Energía

Subdirección General de Planificación Energética

Ministerio de Energía, Turismo y Agenda Digital

Paseo Castellana 160, 8º Planta 

28071 Madrid

seenergia@minetad.es 

+34 91 349 4815


Post submitted by Spain Country Scorecard manager Samantha Pettigrew



 Actividad destacada: Cinco años de reformas energéticas favorables para España

En 2018, España se sometió a una importante reforma energética, centrándose en gran parte en el sector de la energía renovable, un proyecto que le trae mucho orgullo a España, y también algo que Climate Scorecard menciona a menudo en sus publicaciones de España.

A principios de 2019, se detuvo una nueva reforma energética mientras el Primer Ministro Sánchez tenía problemas para formar una coalición política viable. Desde entonces, se completó la consolidación, se continuaron los planes y el sector energético de España se vio en una buena posición a principios de 2020.

El Ministro de Energía, José Domínguez, se declaró en marzo del año 2019 que al completar el Plan Nacional de Clima y Energía (PNIEC), sería necesario seguir reformando y adaptando los métodos de fiscalización del mercado eléctrico. El plan incluiría la creación de entre 250,000 y 300,000 nuevos empleos en el sector energético, así como 55,000 megavatios adicionales, comparables a más de 100 granjas solares a gran escala, o 22,000 turbinas eólicas. El objetivo final sigue siendo la neutralidad de carbono para el año 2050.

Un avance importante que España ha realizado en los últimos cinco años en el sector energético es la reducción del precio de los paneles solares, una acción que provocó un aumento del 94% de su uso entre 2017 a 2018. Después de este impulso, España pudo reclamar la instalación de más de 5,000 MW de energía durante el transcurso de un solo año, algo que antes era extremadamente difícil, si no imposible, durante la década anterior debido a una burbuja económica en el sector energético.

Otra fuente importante de energía para España es la energía nuclear. España genera alrededor de una quinta parte de su electricidad a partir de siete reactores de energía nuclear en varios lugares del país. La Asociación Nuclear Mundial menciona que si bien el compromiso del gobierno con la energía nuclear ha sido incierto, sus bajos costos podrían impulsar un interés renovado en la polémica fuente de energía.

El impacto que han tenido estas reformas energéticas es significativo. España ha recorrido un largo camino desde 2015, pero todavía tiene un largo camino por recorrer. A medida que aumentaron los niveles de energía renovable y nuclear, el uso de combustibles fósiles también disminuyó a un nivel notable, aunque todavía no tan rápido como aspiraban algunos grupos ambientalistas, en parte debido al nuevo uso de los combustibles de transición como el gas natural líquido (GNL). España es el sexto mayor consumidor de energía en Europa y depende en gran medida de fuentes de energía de transición como el GNL. El GNL, aunque respaldado por la industria, tiene un futuro cada vez más incierto por no ser tan transparente y transitorio como antes se creía. 

Un inconveniente que podría ser un problema para el continuo interés en las energías renovables españolas es su alto costo de subsidio, y el gobierno de Pedro Sánchez aún no ha abordado estos problemas en el futuro. El Ministerio para la Transición Ecológica resolvió recientemente un caso con 90.000.000 de euros en arbitrajes sobre recortes a los subsidios a las energías renovables, otro golpe para el Ministerio que ha estado lidiando con este mismo problema desde 2011.

2020 debe ser un gran año para la política climática y energética: saliendo de la COP25 para España, y reevaluando el Acuerdo Climático de París para Europa y el resto del mundo. El Acuerdo Verde Europeo también está en marcha, y pronto habrá más información sobre estos artículos.

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