In this article Arcadio Gutiérrez Zapico takes stock on how Spain is positioned to meet European targets of both 2020 and 2030. In this regard, in terms of reducing emissions, he recalls that transport and the building sector are large emitters and there is a great potential for improvement in both sectors that could be achieved with very different measures. In this case, the role of citizens and cities is essential, he explains.
Spain is well positioned to achieve in 2020 the 20/20/20 targets derived from the 2007 Green Package to which it had committed. This is demonstrated in the last monitoring report published by the European Commission.
In renewable energies, the percentage of participation in final consumption in 2016 was 17.3%, 2.7 points from the 20% target expected to be achieved with the renewable auctions held. The demand for primary energy in that same year was 118 Mtoe, so we would have already reached our commitment on efficiency, set in a directional consumption of 123 Mtoe for 2020; and in emissions, the data are also positive, with a reduction, since 2005, of 42% in the ETS sectors (electricity, refining, steel, cement, paper) and 15% in non-ETS sectors (Transportation, Residential, Services, Agriculture, Waste), for which the goal at the national level is at 10% reduction.
Looking ahead to 2030, the European Union envisages new energy and climate targets, some of which are currently under discussion, and which include a 40% reduction in CO2 emissions compared to 1990, a 27% penetration of renewables in 2030 and a 30% improvement in energy efficiency. Emissions reduction at the EU level has already been agreed for ETS (target of -43%) and non-ETS sectors (target of -30% for EU). The latter have been distributed by country with – 26% corresponding to Spain.
Emissions reduction at the EU level has already been agreed for ETS (target of -43%) and non-ETS sectors (target of -30% for EU). The latter have been distributed by country with – 26% corresponding to Spain.
For the next few years additional reductions are therefore to be carried out in our country that, according to some studies (AOP / KPMG), are estimated for 2030 in 2.9 Mt CO2-eq in the ETS sectors and 26.4 Mt CO2- eq in non-ETS. Namely, according to these data, 90% of the weight of the additional reduction of emissions to be carried out falls on the diffuse sectors.
When deciding which are the most appropriate measures to reduce emissions in these sectors, it is necessary to start by analyzing where our energy is consumed. According to the latest available data, in 2015 a total of 80.5 million tep were consumed in Spain, of which 42% were for transport and 31% were in the building sector (residential, commercial, services and public administrations).
In 2015, a total of 80.5 million tep were consumed in Spain, of which transport accounted for 42% and the building sector (residential, commercial, services and public administrations) 31%.
Focusing on transport, there are several specific circumstances or features of our country that need be considered. On the one hand, the great share of road transport, with 80% of total demand in 2015, with the share of rail freight being much lower than the European average (4% vs 17%).
On the other hand, the average age of our car fleet is 12 years. Furthermore, the current engines specifications result in their consumption and emissions being about 25% lower than those of 10 years ago. To this we must add the diversity of technology options available today depending on the intended use of the vehicle, both linked to internal combustion engines -which use traditional fuels (gasoline and diesel) and alternative fuels (biofuels, liquefied petroleum gases or LPG, and natural gas) – such as hybrid and electric technologies. In 2020, the EU has set a limit of 95 gCO2 / km for new vehicles (and 71 g CO2 / KM by 2025).
The promotion of collective transport versus the individual, the increase in the efficiency of the engines, the measures aimed at the renovation of the fleet, as well as the development of electric vehicles and alternative fuels will be essential.
As for the buildings, there are several data to consider. Mainly the fact that of the total existing homes (25.2 million), more than 50% were built before 1980 and that more than 90% of the homes that will be present in 2030 are already built. In addition, almost 90% of consumption in the residential sector is concentrated in heating (44%), household appliances (27%) and domestic hot water (18%).
Given these circumstances, there is a great potential for improvement in both sectors that could be achieved with very different measures. In the field of transport, undoubtedly, the promotion of collective as opposed to individual transport, the increase of the engines efficiency, the measures aimed at the fleet renovation, as well as the development of electric vehicles and alternative fuels will be fundamental.
In the construction, meanwhile, we have great possibilities of action especially in the field of energy rehabilitation of the building stock. The existing technologies are very broad today. Measures such as improving the thermal insulation of homes, the integration of renewables or the use of high efficiency household appliances, can result in between 50 and 75% energy savings. In the case of LED bulbs, savings can reach up to 90% compared to traditional lamps.
The thermal insulation of homes, the integration of renewables or the use of high efficiency household appliances, can lead to between 50 and 75% energy savings. In the case of LED bulbs, savings can reach up to 90% compared to traditional lamps.
As citizens, we have many possibilities to contribute to the transition towards a more sustainable energy model through our actions in these sectors. Depending on our actions and choices, we will have a greater or lesser carbon footprint. Therefore, developing initiatives around information, awareness and action of citizens is key.
In November 2017, Enerclub published the book “Energy and Cities” where, in addition to giving a broad view on this binomial and highlighting the important role that citizens have in the energy transition, the transport and building sectors are analyzed in detail, offering a wide range of options that we hope can contribute to the debates that are taking place on this matter in the context of the preparation of the future Law on Climate Change and Energy Transition.
Arcadio Gutiérrez Zapico
General Director of the Spanish Energy Club (EnerClub)