During a day of discussion which included participants such as the Minister of the Environment, Isabel García Tejerina, and representatives from the sector’s leading companies, EDPR reflected on the best strategies to combat climate change through innovation and clean energy.
Madrid, 23 November 2017: Currently, renewable energy represents approximately 29% of Europe's energy supply and the challenge facing the sector is how to increase this to more than 60%. This was one of the conclusions of the Energytalks conference held today in Madrid's Museo del Traje and organised by EDP Renováveis, a global leader in the renewable energy sector and one of the world’s largest producers of wind power. Participants included the main representatives from the sector and the goal of the conference was to lay the groundwork for the fight against climate change through a firm commitment to sustainable innovation and clean energy.
It was a day of discussion in which the sector sought to establish the steps to take to combat climate change and, in addition to other goals, to meet the targets defined in the Paris Agreement, pursuant to which the European Union must reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 40% before 2030. Participants unanimously pointed to renewable energy as the solution to this problem.
The conference was opened by João Manso Neto, CEO of EDPR, who spoke about the transition towards renewable energy, saying: "Less than 20 years ago, companies were only concerned about their business and their interests, but that is no longer the case. Community and respect for the environment where they operate are now a fundamental part of the role they play in society."
In this connection, Manso Neto added that "not only should the energy targets be met, they should also be exceeded in order to create a truly sustainable environment," and in order to reach this goal "renewable energy must play a key part, since it is a competitive source of energy that is already a reality."
Support from the Ministry of the Environment
The Minister of the Environment, Isabel García Tejerina, participated in Energytalks and was in charge of giving the closing remarks at the conference. During her speech, she explained that the path marked by Paris is the correct one but that the circumstances require action and in that respect added: "We conceive the fight against climate change as a long-term fight but the consequences of such change do not wait and we are already seeing them. Now is the time to do more and the Climate Change and Energy Transition Law will allow us to do just that."
Business and civil society leaders also participated in the conference and presented their vision regarding the best way to achieve these energy goals in a debate moderated by Montserrat Domínguez, the Managing Editor of El HuffPost.
In this connection, Markus Tacke, CEO of Siemens Gamesa, defined three of the main problems the sector must resolve: energy security, global warming and increased demand, finding the solution in “making a commitment to technology and the digitalisation of the sector which will generate major opportunities in areas such as extending the life of turbines and energy storage, matters which are key for the market’s future.”
Teresa Ribera, Co-Chair of the Spanish Network for Sustainable Development (REDS), highlighted the importance that, along with the technical transition, there must also be "social innovation and improved policy management, because innovation must always go hand-in-hand with support from the institutions that facilitate and take part in this process."
In a similar vein, Carlos Zuloaga, BBVA's Global Head of Energy, stated that “international organisations, regulators, politicians, investors, markets and financial institutions, including BBVA, are actively working towards meeting the sustainability targets.”
In turn, in her speech, Mar Asunción, Head of Climate and Energy of WWF Spain, focused on the vital importance of combating climate change and stressed the need for greater government implication. "The Climate Change and Energy Transition Law is a major opportunity to create the mechanisms for Spain to be the standard-bearer in the fight against climate change."
Marion Labaut, Public Affairs Director of Eurelectric, reminded participants that there is still much to be done, because, although “since the 90s the carbon intensity of the electricity sector has been reduced by around 35%, the priority is total decarbonisation by 2050 and to achieve that, renewable energy is key.”
Lastly, José Luis Blasco, KPMG's Global Head of Sustainability, focused his speech on the more social aspect, highlighting that during the “fourth industrial revolution in which we are immersed, society will not only change the way it does things, it will also change people themselves," and, this will affect the energy sector since "consumers will go from being customer's to managing their own energy."