AmCham Spain, The American Chamber of Commerce in Spain, that published in November 2010, 25 proposals for a more competitive economy, is launching a new document that is intended to make a series of constructive proposals for Spain to emerge strengthened from the current crisis and recover an early and strong growth path.
1. A great state treaty on energy policy is essential to improve growth potential and competitiveness of the economy, through contained energy costs. Moreover, a proper energy policy will set up a diversified and efficient energy mix, friendly with 20/20/20 EU strategy, and will help reduce energy dependence. This will contribute to the reduction of current account deficit, which is important if we consider the continuing difficulties in financing the economy. Energy policy must play an increasing role in the Spanish foreign affairs.
2. Legal certainty and regulatory stability in energy is a requirement to protect the investments carried out by the producers and consumers, enabling them to capitalize on them, and ensuring the realization of the necessary investments in the next decade, with minimal cost to the consumer.
3. One of the greatest challenges in the energy field is to put an end to the tariff deficit, not only through the securitization process, but by analyzing the costs and their effects on tariffs. The tariff structure should take into account the impact on competitiveness and employment.
4. Efficient coordination of energy policy between the various public administrations and simplification of bureaucratic procedures is essential. This will ensure the unity of the market, competition, competitiveness and future investments.
5. Interconnection with Europe must be an important element of the energy policy. An improvement of the interconnection would have the following positive effects: reducing the effect of “energy island” of the Iberian Peninsula, contribute to the creation of the European energy market, and thereby increase competition by increasing energy exchanges with the rest of Europe ; place
Spain as a strategic partner of the EU in energy, by diversifying sources of natural gas supply, facilitate the integration of renewables, reduce system costs and the achievementofthe20/20/20strategyobjectives.
6.Spainneedstointroducea diversified electricity mix, allowing for better convergence of conventional and renewable energies, in order to comply with the 20/20/20 strategy. The electricity mix design should take into consideration that at present the power base is mainly composed of combined cycle power plants, nuclear and conventional power plants (coal).
6.1. The combined cycle plants are underused due to a larger goal of renewables over the initially established, to the Coal Royal Decree, forcing the entry of this energy, and the sudden drop in demand due to the crisis. This reality should not be overlooked in defining energy policy. In addition, combined cycle plants have an essential role in the system security, since they are supporting renewable energy, due to their intermittency.
6.2. The life extension of nuclear plants that meet the requirements is appropriate, since it ensures the availability offered by the base energy while allowing to achieve the objectives of the 20/20/20 strategy.
6.3. Hydroelectric plants produce clean and flexible energy complementing renewables. The promotion of reversible turbines would allow hydropower to represent a significant percentage in the mix.
6.4. Renewable energies (wind and solar) have achieved a significant percentage in the mix, and will grow to meet the objectives set by the EU. The efficient integration of renewable energy in the system requires an improvement of the grid infrastructure.
7. One of the critical issues that the Spanish electricity system must face is the need to flatten the electricity generation and demand curves. The optimization of demand management could be achieved by:
fostering technologies such as smart grids, that facilitates the visualization and control of the network in real time, along with distributed generation equipment, providing modulation and availability to generate close to the demand;
Promoting the use of smart meters that help households manage their consumption and smart appliances;
Promotion of tariffs that offer bonuses or penalties based on energy supply / demand.
8. Encourage the electric vehicle use is relevant due to the industrial importance of the automotive industry, since it is another way to help the convergence between generation and demand curves through overnight recharge, and it would reduce CO2 emissions and energy dependency. The promotion of rail freight transport is not only important to improve the exchange of goods with the EU, Spain’s main export market, but would help to decongest the roads and reduce CO2 emissions.
9. Improving energy efficiency is another pillar of the 20/20/20 EU Strategy because it is a basic element in achieving a sustainable energy system. In this sense, the promotion of initiatives to reduce CO2 emissions must be accompanied by policies that reduce energy demand. Public administrations have extensive room for improvement in energy efficiency in public buildings; cogeneration and trigeneration technologies should be encouraged, especially in high occupancy buildings such as hospitals while the efficiency of lighting and road infrastructure of the cities should also be improved.
10. The R & D & I policies must allocate adequate funds for research projects in energy, due to its strategic importance and because Spain has become a leader in renewable energy; this position is to be maintained on the basis of research. Other areas where it is also imperative that resources are allocated to R & D & I are electrical mobility, smart grids or the CO2 capture and sequestration technology.