The Next Generation EU Funds will provide a significant boost to key industries for the future, especially in the energy sector. In tackling the economic recovery, Europe is focusing on digital transformation, energy transition and sustainability.
Renewable energies, directly related to the latter two, is a market trend attracting a large part of this injection of European funds to accelerate the decarbonisation of the economy and promote the development of new solutions and technologies for energy transition.
The forum focused on renewable energies and European funds, organised by El Economista at the beginning of March. Sergio Merelo, Director of Renewables at Applus+ contributed with other prominent companies in the sector, such as Capital Energy, X-Elio, Grupo Gransolar and Engie.
The Forum on Renewables delivered some insightful conclusions:
- The Paris Agreement proposes that to move towards a more sustainable global energy efficiency and renewable energies must be complementary. At a global level, forecasts indicate that electricity demand will continue to grow, and renewables alone will not be able to meet this demand while still complying with the COP21 2016 accord. Therefore, investments to improve energy efficiency will be essential in all sectors of the economy.
- Although Spain is still far from achieving 100% renewable generation, the energy mix has reached quotas of 80% generation free of greenhouse emissions.
- In Spain, despite the need to continue with the targeted investment in capacity for installing more renewable-energy generation, significant progress is being made in favour of decarbonisation. In 2020, eight of the most polluting coal-fired power plants were shut down; and in 2021 another three will be closed, almost completely dismantling the Spanish coal fields. Replacing combined cycles will take more time, as it is one of the technologies with the most installed capacity, along with wind and hydro-power. Combined cycles‘ contribution to the energy mix ranges between 5-10% as long as the renewables do not fall, but further reinforcement is needed to ensure supply.
- Green hydrogen takes on a special role in a market environment opening up though European funding because it is a new energy vector, crosscutting multiple sectors: electricity generation; storage; and transport and mobility or tertiary sector, among others. Green hydrogen is destined to help decarbonise critical sectors of the economy, and, although it will take a number years of research, European funds will certainly assist in accelerating its development.
- Offshore wind, mass storage technologies and hybridisation solutions are other interesting areas set to receive a boost. In particular, the last two solutions address one of the great problems of renewable energy: its exposure to the vagaries of nature and its dependence on natural resources. Both solutions improve the stability and supply of energy to the system without having to use polluting sources of energy.
- Renewables are a globalised sector, composed of very particular local markets. Therefore, companies like Applus+ who have the capabilities to provide a global vision adapted to a country’s local scenario are crucial.
- Applus+ has over 20 years of experience in the renewable-energy sector globally, especially in wind and solar technologies. In 2020 alone, our services in energy transition were present in 18 countries, supporting our clients in their renewable developments, both in the planning phases and during the construction and start-up of their plants and covering the entire value chain, including the operational and maintenance phases. This trajectory allows Applus+ to identify new developments and trends, and apply learnings from other scenarios to develop new services and adapt their implementation in different markets.
In the coming months, the services supporting energy efficiency and decarbonisation at Applus+ will be focused on assisting clients to raise European funding for their transition to greater energy efficiency and renewables. Through the Group’s Novotec brand, our consulting services guide companies through administrative procedures and documentation preparation to secure Next Generation EU Funds. Our services in energy efficiency and renewables also include technical expertise to optimise or complete the proposals for EU funding.