Energy transition expert and keynote speaker at the III International Industry Congress for Energy Transition (CITE) 2023, Michael Liebreich pointed to “innovation, engineering excellence, investment and hard work” as key to the success of the future of renewables in Europe.
In the next five years, the world will add as much renewable energy generation as in the last two decades. A trend “that is not going to stop”, according to Michael Liebreich, CEO of Liebreich Associates, who believes that renewables in Navarra “are going to win the future because they have been doing so for thirty years”. “And they will do so with innovation, engineering excellence, investment and hard work,” he added, noting that the sectors that offer the greatest possibilities for growth and development are battery manufacturing and the electrification of heat. “The institutions have already taken the step, but nobody is going to give you anything for free, and now it is the turn of industry,” he added.
The III International Industry Congress for Energy Transition (CITE) 2023 was organised by Enercluster with the collaboration of the Government of Navarra and Pamplona City Council and sponsored by Acciona Energía, Enerfín, Ingeteam, Nordex, Acciona Windpower, Ríos Renovables, EDP, Grupo Enhol, Laulagun Bearings, Sakana Group, Repsol, ARPA Abogados Consultores, Caja Rural de Navarra, Iberdrola, Leadernet, Nabrawind, Renercycle and Urgon. The CITE23 was attended by more than 300 professionals and was a mixture of two contrasting sensations. Optimism for the support measures for the sector approved by the European Union this week in the document known as the “European Wind Power Action Plan” and, on the other hand, the urgency of making these proposals a reality.
Sara Aagensen, Secretary of State for Energy, was the first to emphasise this optimistic point at the opening of the event after the welcome addresses by Ana Goyen, President of Enecluster, and the Mayoress of Pamplona, Cristina Ibarrola. This week the Council of Ministers issued three resolutions included in the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan (PRTR) which, as the Secretary of State added, has great relevance as it has had a large investment amounting to 330 million euros.
RENEWABLE NAVARRA AND CHALLENGES
As for the three resolutions, the first is aimed at repowering. The State, according to the Secretary of State for Energy, “will back a total of 34 projects that envisage the replacement of 1,025 wind turbines with 167 more advanced ones in terms of technology and energy efficiency”. Five of these programmes are planned in Navarre. And of the 300 actions earmarked by the central government to rehabilitate mini-power stations, “two will be carried out in Navarre”, confirmed Aagesen.
The Spanish Government is also contemplating the start-up of six facilities dedicated to the recycling of blades which, when fully operational, will manage up to 18,000 blades.
The new plant will manage up to 18,000 tonnes of this waste per year. In addition, they will generate 12,000 tonnes of “indigenous resources” from which industries such as the aerospace, chemical and automobile industries will be able to benefit, thereby reducing their dependence on raw materials from abroad. “Two of these plants will be located in Navarre, with a combined processing capacity of 8,000 tonnes per year”, stressed the Secretary of State for Energy. Sara Aagesen reconfirms the Administration’s willingness to support a “strategic” sector. An idea on which she agreed with the President of Navarre, María Chivite. “Our industrial system is the foundation on which our economic independence is based,” she said. “It is a step in the right direction and the holding of this congress demonstrates the enormous strength and future of our industry,” said the president.
The morning sessions were attended by CEOs and senior executives linked to the renewable energy industry, who underlined the messages already put forward by the authorities. The subsidies are good, but now they need to be implemented as soon as possible. “The approved package shows that politicians show a clear willingness to help but we are the experts who have to tell them how to implement the plan,” said Victor Equisoain, CEO of Nordex Acciona’s International Division. The CEO of Ingeteam, Adolfo Rebollo specified that according to Red Eléctrica, more than 50% of the energy generated so far this year alone is of renewable origin. Rebollo believes in the upward trend of this figure.
At the round table “Challenges in the development of renewables 2023”, the CEOs of Acciona and Enerfín, Rafael Mateo and José Castellanos, as well as David Sola, manager of Ríos Renovables, assessed the possibilities of the renewable industry to meet the objectives of the National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan (PNIEC). From Castellanos’ point of view, it will be necessary to work hard as it will force wind power to double its capacity in the next seven years.
A similar situation applies to photovoltaics. “The forecast was 39 gigawatts by 2030 and now we are looking at 76 with a 95 % increase,” said Sola. Achieving these figures would mean an increase of 56% over current numbers. Mateo called for “more demand (electrification of consumption), more network and to leave aside technological agnosticism”.
LAST INTERVENTION OF THE MORNING
The morning session ended with an international round table on innovation and technology by Thierry Marin-Martinod (CTO of Array Technic), Marc Rechter (CEO of MCPV), Teresa Arlabán (Director of Intellectual Property and Processes of Nordex Acciona) and David Carrascosa (COO of Saitec Offshore). This round table highlighted the need for differentiated products and services in areas such as technology reliability, cybersecurity or even process improvement.
For this reason, they demanded innovation policies from Europe that also address “not so disruptive innovation projects”, according to Arlabán: “It is difficult to implement disruptive innovation at the operational level. But there are many more basic innovations that we need to develop and whose transfer is easier. That is why we need these projects to have access to public funding as well.
Finally, they emphasised the need to develop the projects submitted more quickly. “If we don’t succeed, the interest of our investors and our talent will disappear, and it is very likely that they will end up moving to the United States,” said Carrascosa.
AFTERNOON SESSION AND FINAL TOUCH
In the afternoon session, two rounds of round tables were held simultaneously for each of the following topics: business, renewables and society and technology.
Thus, for example, Jaime Urcola (Sakana), Joris Peeters (ZF Wind Power) and Pello Irujo (Laulagun Bearings) addressed the remains of the supply chain in a meeting moderated by Brian Gaylord (Woodmac).
For their part, Isabel Blanco (EBRD), Ramón Roca (El Periódico de la Energía), Erica Morales (Statkraft) and Sergio Fernández (populariser) reflected together with Kiko Maza, director of CITE 2023, on whether renewables are losing the communication battle. Javier Remírez (Acciona & Nordex Green hydrogen), Alan Ripa (Acciona Plug), Mónica Aguado (CENER) and Harkaitz Ibaiondo (Ingeteam) debated the realities and myths surrounding green hydrogen. This forum was moderated by Pablo Sanchís (UPNA).
Juan Peña (Enhol), Silvia Encinas (EDP) and Juan Miguel Fernández (Enerfin) with the moderation of Edurne Zoco (S&P Global) analysed various strategies to maximise the price of renewable energy. Javier Villanueva (Renercycle), Jon Asín (BeePlanet), Rebeca Arrondo (Sustainn) and Iván Botamino (FCC Ámbito) spoke about the circular economy. Ana Ursúa (AIN) acted as moderator.
Finally, “Storage and Network Integration” was the last thematic round table of the day. Javier Revuelta (Afry), Jérôme Bersano (Northvolt), María Santa María (Baywa r.e.), Eduardo Ryan (Iberdrola) and Álvaro Simal (Repsol) with Luis Marquina (AEPIBAL) as moderator.
The president of Enercluster, Ana Goyen, proposed a final challenge to the components of Navarra’s renewable energy sector, and that is to work together in a coordinated way. “It is relatively simple to identify what others need to improve, how the rest can help us to move forward, but it will be much more effective if we take action on what falls within our sphere of action,” said the president of Enercluster.
Mikel Irujo, Regional Minister for Industry and Ecological and Digital Business Transition, brought the day to a close, saying that the wind energy sector “is the third most important and, moreover, is accompanied by a perfect ecosystem such as technology centres, training, universities and demonstration centres”. The minister concluded, “Navarre is a benchmark and we are going to continue working to ensure that it remains so in the future”.