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    "We must give participation and employment to communities in the Transition."

    March 28, 2023 - CE Noticias Financieras


      Canary Islands is a territory blessed by the sun and the wind and, therefore, could perfectly be a paradise for renewables and clean energies. How does Endesa approach the great challenge of the Energy Transition?

      The Canary Islands are in an enviable position when it comes to implementing the new green and blue economies. Although historically it has been a region that has lagged behind the Peninsula, it has now turned around and is one of the most competitive in terms of energy. It has many hours of sun and wind and is exploring new possibilities such as geothermal energy. The aim is to achieve a quality energy transformation, participatory and capable of lasting at least another 40 years. The necessary technology already exists to extract all the potential, but it is necessary to invest with value criteria. In the Canary Islands, the electrification of the industrial and residential sectors is still pending, and to achieve this it is necessary to make an investment with a view to the future and without seeking speculation.

      In what lines do you think we have to work to achieve a lasting Energy Transition, energizing the economy and ensuring that the islands do not lose the pace of renewables?

      We must make more progress in the massive development of renewable energies, taking advantage of the islands' climatological potential. We believe that at least 10,000 GW of renewable power should be available by 2040. Right now there are 800 MW, which requires the installation of more than 500 MW/year. The pace of renewable development in the Canary Islands has not been the desired one, but from now on the administrations and energy companies have the responsibility to get down to work and multiply the effort. To this end, it is essential to speed up the bureaucracy. The Canary Islands are also looking for other environmentally friendly solutions, such as taking advantage of the opportunity offered by geothermal energy. At the same time, to ensure that energy from the wind and sun is used to its full potential, storage technologies must be developed.

      Another important chapter concerns the conventional fleet. Unfortunately, it will continue to be necessary during the transition in order to provide support while renewables and storage systems are being developed. It is also urgent to make it possible to adapt the generation fleet to respond to the characteristics of a very different electricity system, with a lot of unmanageable generation and providing it with greater flexibility.

      In the service, domestic and industrial sectors, electrification options such as heat pumps or the use of renewable fuels, such as hydrogen, must be sought. And, of course, the electricity, transmission and distribution grids must be strengthened and their digitalization increased.

      And how can we plan the electrification of the transport sector in the Canary Islands, which is one of the most polluting sectors?

      All sectors must go hand in hand to achieve the great goal of zero emissions. The transport sector has to advance in electrification because it currently represents almost 2/3 of the emissions in the Canary Islands. The Islands are a perfect territory to grow in the fleet of electric vehicles. They have the advantage that the distances are not so long and the autonomy of the vehicles is not a problem.

      Endesa has set the goal of total decarbonization by 2040 in its Industrial Plan. What is the role of the Canary Islands in this Plan?

      Endesa has always been close to the people of the Canary Islands and has shown its commitment to finding solutions to the different problems that have arisen, although within the possibilities allowed by regional and ministerial legislation at any given time. We continue working with the same philosophy and very excited about the energy transition process, which is a global challenge.

      We are a company with experience in areas such as innovation and research. In fact, we were pioneers in the development of renewable energies in the Canary Islands and every year we make important efforts in the analysis of innovative solutions in electrical systems.

      At the moment, we have several projects underway aimed at the energy transition, focused on improving flexibility and complying as much as possible with environmental respect in our facilities.

      Your company is currently working in the Canary Islands on the research and implementation of projects qualified as zero-emission and environmentally friendly. What can you tell us about this?

      For example, one of the projects in which we are very involved is a storage system using cryogenic compressed air called LAES (Liquid Air Energy Storage). This system will provide a high-capacity (300 MWh), long-lasting (6 hours) and high-power (50 MW) storage plant, together with an ultra-fast start-up system using a 50 MW / 25 MWh lithium-ion battery. This project allows the management and integration of renewable resources on the island of Tenerife, guarantees the quality and manageability of the grid and, in addition, provides system savings and benefits such as synchronous inertia, backup, synchronous voltage control and instantaneous reactive power supply. We are very excited with the results obtained because it is characterized by the absence of geographical restrictions and occupies a very limited space. It generates no environmental impact, operates without using toxic substances and produces no emissions. It is a very efficient solution that offers all the advantages.

      On the other hand, we have carried out very satisfactory tests with the use of renewable fuels or biofuels in thermal units at the Las Salinas power plant in Fuerteventura, obtaining excellent results in the elimination of emissions. It should not be forgotten that the maintenance of fossil fuels becomes a loss of competitiveness and can tax a sector as important for the Canary Islands as tourism.

      All the companies of the energy sector coincide in the same denominator: bureaucratic slowness at the time of developing renewable energies. Do you think that the administrations should get their act together to achieve a regulatory framework that guarantees and, above all, is more agile?

      Regulation should move forward in parallel and even ahead of schedule to lay the foundations for the development of the different actions that are essential for decarbonization by 2040. We need the different administrations to be able to make progress in administrative streamlining to favor the development of renewable projects. Although much progress has been made in recent years and many barriers have been eliminated, it is necessary to continue along this path. The administrations must be provided with the necessary resources to prevent them from becoming bottlenecks.

      In the Canary Islands it is urgent to call and develop tenders, as stipulated in the legal framework, so that energy companies can invest in these renewable technologies.

      In conventional generation, the regulations must be implemented to enable their adaptation and renewal. This would imply that the Canary Islands could have access to renewable fuels and low emission parameters. All these measures must be adopted to avoid any risk to the security of supply in the short-medium term. Finally, it is necessary to move towards fiscal and administrative incentives for the electrification of the different sectors of the economy.

      Is it possible to make a territory like the Canary Islands compatible with landscape, tourism and renewables?

      We believe so. It is true that we are at a time when many renewable projects are being questioned from an environmental point of view. Possibly, after years in which the vision of environmental issues focused on fossil fuel generation, we have neglected the need to consider other equally important areas. It is essential to incorporate an integrated vision of all these elements with environmental impact and to communicate it to the local societies in which the projects are going to be developed.

      Endesa has been implementing for years what we call a vision of shared value or what is known as CSV (Creating Shared Value). This action leads us to be transparent and inform the communities close to the projects about their characteristics and benefits, we invest in the training of these social agents, we respond to any concerns they may have and we create employment among the surrounding communities.

      In our renewable energy projects, we seek to optimize the use of space to make it possible to combine other uses. For example, in the solar plant project developed by Endesa in Carmona, Seville, we have agreements with local shepherds so that the livestock can continue to graze, which is very positive for both the livestock and the installation itself, as it contributes to the natural clearing of the land. We also contemplate in the same project agricultural crops, distributed in the streets that separate the rows of solar panels. Another incorporation are the solar apiaries, as well as the reforestation of the surroundings, thus favoring biodiversity. A project of these characteristics is perfectly exportable to the Canary Islands and other territories.


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