Spain ranked seventeenth this year in the Energy Transition Index report by the World Economic Forum. In addition, it overcame countries such as Germany, EEUU, Belgium, or Canada. On the other hand, the first positions in the ranking were occupied by the Nordic countries (Sweden, Norway, and Denmark).
The WEF report benchmarked 115 countries on the performance of their energy systems in the last 10 years. For this purpose, they considerer the three dimensions of the Energy Triangle:
- Economic growth and development.
- Environmental sustainability.
- Energy access and security.
Thus, it seems Spain is starting to recover the lead it lost in 2011 regarding the investment in the energy transition.
| What is the energy transition?
Energy transition refers to the global shift from fossil-based systems of energy production and consumption to renewable energy sources.
What policies is Spain applying regarding energy transition?
Currently, Spanish policies regarding energy transition follow the objectives established by the European Union and the Paris Agreement. The purpose of both instruments is to fight climate change.
Following that, in 2019 the EU released the European Green Deal. The European Green Deal aims at reducing net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 55% in 2030 compared to 1990 levels.
On the other hand, the Spanish government approved last May a new law on climate change and energy transition (Ley de Cambio Climático y Transición Energética). This new law makes part of a bigger legal framework: the Marco Estratégico de Energía y Clima 2019, includying the Plan Nacional Integrado de Energía y Clima (PNIEC) 2021-2030, and the Estrategia de Transición Justa.
What is the current legal framework regarding energy transition?
- PNIEC 2021-2030. The Plan Nacional Integrado de Energía y Clima is a roadmap to carbon neutrality. It establishes the objectives regarding renewable energy, carbon emissions, energy efficiency, and more.
- Ley de Cambio Climático y Transición energética. The purpose of this law is to enforce the objectives set by the PNIEC. At this aim it proposes the following targets:
- Reducing GHG emissions by 23% by 2030.
- A 42% share of renewable energies making for the final consumption of energy.
- An electric system made of 74% renewable energies.
- Energy efficiency improvements and dropping energy consumption.
- Estrategia de Transición Justa. It seeks to maximize job opportunities in the sector and reduce the impact of a low carbon model of production.
- Estrategia Nacional contra la Pobreza Energética 2019 – 2024. According to the Government, between 8.1 and 3.5 million people suffer from energy poverty in Spain. That makes around 20% of the population. The measures set to mitigate the impact of energy prices include the ban on cutting off energy supply in case of extreme weather conditions and social subsidies.
The Spanish energy balance
Regarding the Spanish energy balance, in 2018 the energy consumption increased by 2.5% following a period of economic growth. Furthermore, fossil fuel products made for the largest part of all consumption (51%). Renewable energies only represented 7% of the total consumption.
It is worth mentioning that 83% of the energy Spain consumes comes from abroad. Thus, energy imports cause a significant impact on the Spanish balance of trade. Indeed, in 2018 it cost 74,3% of the total balance and 2.2% of GDP.
How much is the Spanish government investing in the energy transition?
Official sources announced Spain will invest 40,29% of their recovery funds (Plan de Recuperación Plan de Recuperación Transformación y Resiliencia) on sustainability. The total amount will be 28,000 million and it will tackle climate change mitigation and adaptation, and decarbonization.
| What are the benefits of energy transition policies?
✔ Reduce emissions and helps to fight climate change.
✔ Decrease dependence on imported energy.
✔ Promote growth and new job creation.
✔ Mitigates energy poverty impact.
✔ Improve overall health and well-being.
What are the challenges for Spain to achieve carbon neutrality?
Since 2019, Spain has made progress to reduce its carbon footprint. Nevertheless, still needs to address some critical sectors making a significant impact on carbon emissions. That is the case for municipal waste management.
The waste management sector was responsible for 4.3% of total emissions in 2020. Besides, 80% came from landfills.
Furthermore, Spain is dealing with European justice regarding several issues on solid waste management:
- The failure to close 61 illegal landfills.
- Spain fined €12 million for failing to treat sewage waters.
- Delays transposing the European directive to ban single-use plastics.
- The failure to meet the EU solid waste recycling goals for 2020.
For that reason, it is important to implement waste-to-energy systems like REVALUO.
REVALUO is our low-carbon solution to landfilling, plastic waste, and sewage waters. It reduces 85 – 90% of the amount of waste in landfills and transforms it into different forms of energy. Electric power, syngas, and bunker fuel are just some of the options.