During the meeting that the Ministry of Energy, Tourism and Digital Agenda held on Monday with unions to discuss about the coal sector, the role of this raw material in the Spanish energy system and its role as a backup for renewables was addressed. The clean energy sector insists that there are renewables that are manageable and that all complement each other in such way that “the best backup for renewables, are the renewable energies themselves”, they assert.
It is well known that the current Government does not intend to dispense in the short term from any of the sources that make up the current Spanish energy mix. It should not be surprising then that the Executive in recent times has underscored the role of coal in the national energy mix and its role in balancing prices.
The Energy, Tourism and Digital Agenda Minister Álvaro Nadal has already done so in the Energy Commission that was held in the Congress of Deputies last January 27. Now, this argument has been repeated during the meeting held on Monday by Secretary of State for Energy, Daniel Navia, with coal representatives of the unions UGT, CCOO and USO.
The future of coal in the Spanish energy system
The meeting agreed to maintain an open dialogue towards the future in order to analyze the sector situation while highlighting the key role that coal must play in the Spanish energy system and the need to discuss proposals for the future of coal and, in particular, its role in the energy mix, the ministry said in a statement.
The release confirms that the role of coal as a backup for renewables was discussed during the meeting and notes “its contribution to reduce price fluctuations in the face of rises in raw material prices, such as that of natural gas last January “.
“The best backup for renewables, are the renewable themselves”
In this regard, sources of the Association of Renewable Energy Companies (APPA) commented yesterday to Energy News, after knowing the content of the meeting, “that when using indigenous resources, we must take into account how their use can help or undermine the binding commitments that Spain has with Europe, both on the use of renewables and on the emissions reduction. “
In their opinion, “the best support for renewables, are the renewables themselves.” From the clean energy sector, it is firmly believed that the different renewable generation technologies are complementary to each other: “since some of them are manageable, they can support those that are not,” they explain. In the case of pumping hydraulics it is the most economical way to store electrical energy. “
Therefore, “renewables can be a perfectly manageable solution if an appropriate renewable mix is planned,” the sources consulted claim.
Meanwhile, the trade unions welcome in a release issued by CCOO after the meeting that “finally the Secretary of State for Energy has understood that national coal is necessary in the energy mix and that it serves to modulate prices.” CCOO of Industry and UGT FICA assert that they have the commitment of Daniel Navia that he will work to guarantee the supply of national coal and so that companies willing to continue the activity beyond 2018 do not have to return the aids granted.
Spain removed 5 thermal coal groups in 2016
What is also true as we recently published, is that Spain removed definitively five thermal coal groups in Spain in 2016: Elcogás, Puertollano, Soto de Ribera II, Narcea I and Compostilla II. This withdrawal represents a decrease by 8.5% of installed power from coal compared to the previous year.
Indeed according to the latest data from Red Eléctrica Española, in 2016 there has been a decline in the production of electricity with coal, after the production of energy with this fuel increased considerably in 2014 and 2015, according to a joint statement issued in February by IIDMA, Greenpeace and WWF.
It was also at the end of last February when we learned that greenhouse gas emissions decreased in Spain in 2016 by 3.13% compared to 2015, mainly because less coal was burned but it must also be said that they increased by 14.95% compared to the base year of 1990, according to the report “Climate Change. Estimation of the CO2 emissions 2016, Climatological balance and energy analysis for the year 2016 “presented by the Observatory of Sustainability.