La Fundación Ideas propone un 100% de energías renovables y el cierre nuclear progresivo

La Fundación Ideas para el Progreso de la que Jesús Caldera es Vicepresidente Ejecutivo ha lanzado un informe pionero en el mundo en materia energética.

El informe es el resultado de las aportaciones de un grupo de expertos nacionales e internacionales de la talla de Jeremy Rifkin, Arjun Makhijani, Marcel Coderch, Valeriano Ruiz o Xavier García Casals que quieren que España sea un ejemplo para el resto del mundo en cuanto al desarrollo sostenible se refiere.

Las principales conclusiones del informe son: 1- La Fundación Ideas propone un modelo energético basado en un 100% en energías renovables para el año 2.050, tanto si la demanda es alta, media o baja. 2- La Fundación Ideas propone el cierre de las centrales nucleares al final de los 40 años de su vida útil, siempre que concurran las 5 condiciones establecidas por sus expertos: seguridad, sustituibilidad, abastecimiento, gestionabilidad y competitividad. 3- En el caso de la Central Nuclear de Garoña la Fundación considera que el gobierno puede proceder a no renovar su licencia de explotación ya que concurren esas cinco condiciones, propone antes del cierre un plan previo de reactivación y empleo para la zona. 4- La Fundación ideas afirma que la transición hacia el nuevo modelo energético podría crear entre 300,000 y 1,200,000 puestos de trabajo hasta 2.050. 5- La Fundación Ideas estima que las empresas españolas podrían beneficiarse de este modelo y acceder a un mercado internacional de energías renovables de hasta 8 billones de euros en el año 2.050. Según la Fundación Ideas el nuevo modelo energético debe ser parte fundamental de la anunciada Ley de Economía Sostenible para cambiar nuestro modelo productivo.

Greenpeace apoya el nuevo informe energético de la Fundación Ideas

La organización ecologista muestra su satisfacción por los compromisos de futuro adquiridos por el nuevo informe energético de la Fundación Ideas presentado el pasado día 20 de Mayo.

La organización ecologista Greenpeace ha reconocido los méritos del informe de la Fundación Ideas en el que se defiende un cambio de modelo energético en España. Greenpeace considera que las recomendaciones de la Fundación Ideas están bien fundamentadas técnica y económicamente. “No podemos dejar de manifestar nuestra satisfacción ante el hecho de que en el seno del PSOE se asuma de forma seria y rigurosa la necesidad de alcanzar un sistema eléctrico 100% renovable”, ha afirmado Juan López de Uralde, director Ejecutivo de Greenpeace.

La Fundación Ideas defiende a Obama

La Fundación Ideas contesta con rapidez a los ataques vertidos por un liberal conservador español que arremete contra Obama y contra las energías renovables en las que España es pionera.

La Fundación Ideas ha colaborado con el prestigioso Center for American Progress en respuesta a los ataques efectuados contra el presidente Obama y el gobierno de España por parte de Gabriel Calzada, un liberal conservador del Instituto Juan de Mairena. Calzada, que recibe grandes cantidades de dinero de la mayor empresa petrolífera del mundo (Exxon Mobile) aprovechó una conferencia en la Heritage Foundation de Washington D. C. para arremeter contra el presidente Obama por defender las energías renovables para salir de la crisis. El economista español además afirmó que en España por cada empleo que se trata de crear por subvenciones a las energía renovables se pierden 2,2 empleos en el conjunto de la economía. La Fundación Ideas reaccionó con rapidez y envió una carta a varios congresistas estadounidenses para señalar los errores de Calzada y aclarar que España es pionera en energías renovables en Europa. Este sector ocupa ya a 177 mil personas (un 82% con contratos estables) y según las previsiones oficiales duplicará su tamaño en la próxima década. La transformación de las economías avanzadas en economías sostenibles es una misión en la que sin duda nuestro país trabajará mano a mano con los EE.UU y el Presidente Obama.




Spain, and other countries throughout the world, faces a major historical challenge in the forthcoming future as a result of climate change and the depletion of fossil fuels. Spain cannot afford to look away, but must rather lead the field in providing European responses so as to overcome these challenges. We must bear in mind the fact that decisions taken today will have a fundamental effect on the future of many coming generations, and ensure that such decisions respond to the need for a public, meaningful, transparent exchange of ideas.

A wide range of opinions has been expressed in response to this concept, not always well-informed, and often one-sided. However, the sustainability of our economic model is a basic issue which requires a global approach derived from an objective analysis that includes all variables bearing on Spain’s, and the world’s, present situation.

Our world needs an energy model founded on “sustainable development” to satisfy current needs without compromising options for future generations who, in turn, must fulfill their own demands. Spain must consolidate its existing technological leadership in renewable energy during the transition towards this new model, and become a global example in proving the viability of a sustainable economy in its role as one of the world’s most advanced economies.

At the same time, a change in the Spanish production model towards a sustainable alternative will prove to be a cornerstone in ensuring a solid, long-lasting economic recovery. All these reasons have prompted the Ideas Foundation to call upon a group of Spanish and international expert to draft a report providing a global, realistic view of Spain’s energy framework, to enlighten society regarding the existing energy model, and to establish the bases required for a transition to an up-to-date, sustainable energy model.

An untenable existing model

The existing energy model is not tenable due to high levels of energy consumption and of polluting emissions, as mentioned in various International Energy Agency (IEA) documents. Spain, and the world at large, must seriously consider the present situation and resolve the need for a new energy model aimed at ensuring a dependable energy supply while, at the same time, protecting the environment.

We are undoubtedly facing the end of an era, that of fossil fuel, and look to the dawn of a new Industrial Revolution, whose foundations will be renewable energy sources. The main component in today’s Spanish model is an absolute reliance on fossil fuels sourced from abroad, up to 90% of total consumption, dooming the country to permanently depend on the inconstant swings of world crude and natural gas markets. If Spain is to play an important role on the world stage it must do away with this overwhelming energy dependence and decisively support its domestic renewable-energy market.

Energy dependence makes a country highly vulnerable, but this is not the only challenge posed by conventional energy sources. All relevant analyzes share highly pessimistic forecasts concerning existing reserves of the most significant energy sources. If reliance on existing energy model continues, the main global reserves of oil, natural gas, oil, and uranium, will be depleted within decades. It is therefore not a question of deciding on the energy model of choice, but rather of economic forecasting to ensure a future energy source of supply and the sustainability of the planet as we know it.

There are those who, in this context, see nuclear energy as the ideal solution to overcome these concerns. However, nuclear energy continues to involve issues which advise against its generalized use. Some of the more important considerations include the scarcity of uranium required to satisfy mid-term global demand, problems arising from the need to store radioactive waste for tens of thousands of years, and the complexities resulting from security issues and nuclear proliferation. The cost of construction of nuclear plants, which reach 7 billion Euros in the latest unit currently being built in Finland, necessarily involves direct public investment.

Nuclear power alone cannot satisfy future energy needs while protecting the environment, both of these within a sustainable model. It will probably prove impossible to replace currently operating reactors by new generation units once they have completed their scheduled service life, which will undoubtedly take place by mid-century.

Renewable energy: a dynamic, innovative reality in Spain

The past five years have shown that the political and business decision to support this sector in Spain is no myth. In a very brief span of time renewable energy has firmly established itself and proven its copious environmental, financial and industrial potential in this country. The contribution provided by renewables to the Spanish energy mix has witnessed exponential rates of growth. A very few years ago only a handful of experts foresaw the speed and size of this development, but hard facts speak for themselves. Still, there are some who decry the future of this sector. They would rather turn their gaze elsewhere, towards the past.

They wish not to see that there is no future beyond renewable energy, and that it has become an unstoppable reality in Spain. Spain relies on one of the world’s most dynamic and advanced renewable energy sectors: the country is a global leader in terms of technological production and innovation. This sector has exporting capacity, and is a model for some of the more important economies, including Obama’s USA.

Official data show the significant financial and industrial repercussions of renewable energy in Spain. This sector currently employs 175,000 workers nation-wide, of whom 82% are under open-end contract, making it one of the more stable and productive components of the economy, much more so from the labor point of view than conventional energy.

We should also mention that potential job creation, and the penetration of Spanish companies in international renewable energy markets, place this sector in an improved position, when compared with conventional or nuclear energy in defining future energy models.

A new energy model for Spain towards the year 2050

In this text the Ideas Foundation proposes a new energy model for Spain, free of CO2 emissions and of nuclear energy by 2050, with the capacity to satisfy 100% of energy demand through renewable sources. The various simulations provided by the authors indicate that Spain can rely on more than sufficient resources to decisively pursue its efforts towards a new configuration of the national power generation system, and aim at a new model based only on renewable sources. To this end there is a large array of resources available, both in terms of generation and of demand, whose timely implementation will allow the economy to comply with conditions governing the transition period.

This will require quick reactions to very limited response times while limiting the cost of the resulting energy system. The only significant barrier is the need to define and maintain a favourable context, over time, in order to promote the rapid growth of these technologies through legislation that may ensure long-term stability.

In our opinion, there is no doubt that power demand can be fully met through the use of renewable energy given the available potential, results of in-depth analyzes, and instruments on hand, to guarantee the viability of the various generation mix models under consideration. The issue, rather, refers to the specific elements and components in the different mix proposals, which set the framework for the political and regulatory decisions necessary in defining a new direction for developing a sustainable energy system within the short time available.

We have decided, in this text, to address a number of options to fully satisfy demand for electric power through renewable energy sources according to three consumption models (high, medium and low demand). The elements within this bracket include all possible future scenarios involving power needs in Spain by the year 2050. In other words, even if Spain continues to consume energy at the current high rate, within the different population and economic model forecasts, it would be possible to satisfy such demand by using renewable energy if these sources enjoy the adequate incentives and support.

Renewables-based generation mix models discussed in the text may be seen as a conservative approximation, in the sense that they assume a limited presence of demand-management components and impose a minimum diversity on the generation mix structure. This could result in renewables-based power system configurations requiring lower levels of installed capacity.

The scenarios discussed in the text show that for mid-level demand values it would be possible to implement a complete shut-down of nuclear power plants by the year 2016 on the basis of the installed capacity of renewable energy sources without increasing consumption of fossil fuel. Nonetheless, a total write-off of fossil fuel within the power generation system markedly depends on flexibility, specifically in generation, which must be part of the many stages towards a renewables-based generation mix by 2050.

Electric-powered transport in Spain by 2050 is a challenge which could turn out to be an opportunity for increased economic development in both the domestic and global markets. This would require incorporating know-how and industrial capacity, as well as innovation, currently available in key areas such as renewable energy and the automotive sector, in the latter case particularly the replacement and spare parts subsector, mandatory for a transport system based on renewable electricity. This would, in turn, need a technologicalindustrial cluster charged with developing this potential supported by significant financial investments for R+D+i.

Electric cars are a necessary component in completing a 100% renewable electric energy system. A suitable model involving electric technology and electric motors, timely and sustained over the long term, will lead to a transport framework based on domestic renewable energy sources within the time scale discussed in this text, that is, by 2050.

However, one of the fundamental elements in the decision to pursue a new energy model in Spain is the industrial and labor component. Renewable energy creates more jobs than conventional energy. Depending on the demand scenario, a transition to a new energy model could lead to the creation of between 292,531 and 1,188,871 jobs. These will also be more stable and require higher qualification and training than the conventional energy sector.

The new energy model represents a historic opportunity to bring about change in Spain’s economy. If the renewable energy sector maintains current rates of growth in Europe, Spain could be looking at a potential market of some 2 or 3 trillion Euros. Other basic factors included in the package necessary for creating the new proposed system are a regulatory framework involving command and control initiatives, a bonus system, tax breaks, and priority access to the existing energy mix for renewable energy sources.

Achieving a new energy model based on 100% renewable energy, totally divested of coal and nuclear power, is the responsibility of society as a whole, while the Government must act as catalyst and facilitate cultural, economic and social changes necessary within this process. It is our opinion that a clearly-defined strategy must be instituted, including a schedule of actions and specific, quantified targets, to guarantee the transformation of the existing model to the new, forward-looking future model we propose.

Public authorities at all levels and the key social agents – particularly the business sector – must take on a leadership role in making available the investments required to establish this new model. We should consider this challenge as a strategic point in our country’s agenda. The new model will ensure strengthened energy independence and consolidate our role among the most innovative nations within the global market.

Recommendations made by the Ideas Foundation

This report submitted by the Ideas Foundation closes with several recommendations for managing the change in the national energy model by 2050 addressed at public authorities and society as a whole. Some of the more important recommendations towards implementing a 100% renewables target include the following:
a. The Government should reassert its commitment to EU energy policy objectives concerning climate change and towards Horizon 2020: a 20% reduction in emissions, 20% reduction in consumption of primary energy, 20% renewable energy mix.
b. The Government should approve a new Law on Sustainable Energy which includes, as long-term target for 2050, an emission-free, fully non-nuclear, electric power system based on 100% renewable energy and an intelligent generation and distribution network with the necessary storage capacity and demand management capabilities.
c. The Government should guarantee, through legislation, an incentives system suitable to support the deployment of a renewables-based electric generation mix, stressing the importance of distributed generation systems. To this end our proposal is to legislate a new Charter Law on Citizens’ Rights so that all citizens who so wish may generate and distribute their own energy, individually or in partnership with existing generation and distribution utilities, within a new business model.
d. The Government should include this sector as one of the priority areas for public action as part of its economic recovery programs towards promoting job creation and economic activity, as well as in pursuit of a stronger global positioning for Spanish renewable energy companies. This would also mean including initiatives for energy efficiency and energy savings in Spanish households within those programs, so as to exit the current economic crisis under better conditions.
e. The Government should institute an initiatives program for the Spanish power grid (Red Eléctrica Española) and power utilities so that they may begin modernising transport and distribution networks. This action would make it possible to foster a more rational energy consumption system, better adapted to generation capacities in the new energy model.
f. The Government should foresee the need to substitute nuclear power by other energy sources, so that future energy scenarios include a programmed shut-down schedule of existing nuclear power plants and appropriate management of nuclear waste, still waiting for a solution and inherited from the past.