Energy transition: the moment of truth, by Josep Maria Montagut

The Government of the Generalitat has presented the roadmap of this legislature in the matter of energy transition, in line with the commitments to be achieved in 2030 and the horizon set by the European Union for 2050. As a first measure, he has announced that he will send the Parliament a Decree Law which aims to modify the current regulatory framework on renewable energy, and to introduce territorial planning. The plan places first the deployment of self-consumption and energy use of public spaces, with the creation of a public company that manages the renewable generation produced in these.

It is also intended improve and digitize medium and low voltage networks, that are stressed -as has been seen when there are peak demands of the system- and, more importantly, adapt them to the new role of energy consumers-producers. They are networks that have to stop being unidirectional and make them intelligent to adapt to the new consumption / generation flows of the system.

In this context, we must remember that five Catalan colleges of engineers already expressed last April the principles with which we believe that we must act to guarantee energy supply and at the same time make energy decarbonization. We recommended maintaining the principle of public utility of renewable generation and acting in two directions: expediting the processing of projects and ensuring their social integration.

In the current draft of the Government Decree, some simplification is established for small projects, but – on the contrary – there are new conditions in the processing and in the social acceptance of projects with powers greater than 5 Megawatts, the limit that affects to the vast majority of projects renewable energy parks.

It will be necessary to see how these new conditions finally materialize, but we express our serious concern about how with this new decree the Government responds to the complaints received about the more than 600 projects that are in the pipeline.

Are skeptical, very skeptical, so that this new decree is the tool capable of separating justified complaints – by the designers and developers, and to which a public response must be given – from those who, raising the banner of ecology, are actually from the culture of “not to everything” and “not next to my house & rdquor ;, especially when it comes to energy infrastructure.

And we are concerned that it will generate more insecurity for private initiative in the renewable sector of Catalonia and that it alienates investors and Catalan renewable energy design engineers, who are recognized everywhere.

In the short term, the Government now has a management challenge to deliver the more than 600 requests for new renewable generation, which would mean doubling in 5 years the current installed power of renewables, which today represents only 9% of the demand for electricity in Catalonia, far, far away from other territories and from the objectives set by the Generalitat itself.

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This has to be the focus of the Govern’s management. Large projects need to be better managed. It is necessary to provide its own human resources and those of others, of technicians capable of solving this bottleneck into which the Administration itself is becoming. Promoters must be redirected and found compensation and social integration. It is necessary that the Administration not only act as a “hard filter”, but also as a companion for the investor.

It is the moment of truth if we want to achieve the necessary changes to reach the objectives set for 2050. If we have to do better, let’s do it better. But let’s do it now. The future has no wait.

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