Article published in Cinco Días, march 2021
A few days ago, the Council of Ministers approved the new Energy Storage Strategy, in the regulatory context of the development of the Integrated National Energy and Climate Plan, and in parallel to the extraordinary growth of the international energy storage market which, according to the consultancy firm IHS Markit, will double this year’s figures.
This may seem normal to us to a certain extent – seen as just another piece of news about the progress of the energy transition – and even familiar. Because, daily news is full of information that not so long ago seemed even exotic to the uninitiated. For example, ¿who has not read and heard in the last year about the development of green hydrogen?
However, it seems that the global commitment to energy change – the replacement of fossil fuels with renewables – has needed a pandemic to get the momentum it needed. I mean that speed of exponential change with which we always refer to technological evolution and digitalization has been transferred to renewable energies and the electrification of the economy whose narrative is expanding almost daily.
What a year ago seemed to need much more time, has been shortening in the agendas of governments and in the perception of societies, starting with the Spanish society, increasingly committed and sensitive to climate change and the decarbonization of the economy.
In this new scenario, geostrategic analyses contemplate the transformation of leadership – or at least a socioeconomic realignment – of the countries that dominate the so-called clean technologies and are energy exporters, including, of course, control and access to the necessary raw materials.
In these analyses – the one by the International Renewable Energy Agency, IRENA, is very interesting – I would highlight the technological factor, which is where a large part of our competitive advantages may lie, beyond our conditions, resources and experience.
Does this statement sound strange in a country where investment in R&D&I is systematically lower than the European average? Probably yes, from the point of view of such a lack, but there are also numerous examples of companies and institutions themselves that a firm commitment to the continuous improvement of our renewable technologies through R&D&I is an essential and inevitable path.
It cannot be ignored that there are key factors: from size (in terms of companies and projects) to financing and investment (beyond the usual programs), but we are at the right time to solve them through strategic collaboration, both between the public and private sectors and between the companies themselves, as well as in the conceptual and economic framework of next generation funds.
It is possible to innovate and have our own technology in our renewable energy field to make the qualitative leap we need beyond production and export, and it is possible to do it from an small companies.