Wind energy in Spain: Juan Ruiz-Jarabo, Enercon

Tell me about your job. I’m the manager of Enercon Spain, and that embraces lots of different responsibilities as we’re a small team of about 30 people. It includes office management, doing lobby work with the Spanish wind energy association, market monitoring and much more.

What is a typical day like for you?

At the moment it can be quite hard as we sometimes have shocking surprises from the Spanish industry minister regarding regulation. We are working really hard to have a positive situation for wind energy in Spain. In Spain we’re facing elections on 20 November, and we are working closely with the minister for a new framework from renewables starting in 2013.

The ministry unexpectedly published a draft of the regulatory framework and it was the opposite of what we expected. So we are trying to push from the bottom, from the regions. When you have a wind farm in a region you pay some taxes and create jobs by building and maintaining the wind farm. It is a good source of wealth for the region, so the regions are the first ones to notice the benefits of wind energy.

The Spanish regions are pushing the national government, stating renewables should be taken as an economic motor rather than saying for example that the feed-in tariff is a cost. So recent days have dealt with these issues, but generally I give support internally for market opportunities with big companies or utilities, and I strongly support production development.

When did you start working in the wind energy industry, and why?

During my time at university I felt that sustainability was something important; I was studying computer engineering at that time and finally went to the US for one year, which was a great experience. I then worked for three years in a strategic consulting company, but I realised this wasn’t the sector for me. I wanted to combine sustainability and my engineering background, so I studied a master’s in renewable energy in Madrid and applied to the major wind companies in Germany and Spain. I got a very good proposal from Enercon about three and a half years ago and I moved to Germany, but in the end I moved back to Spain, still with Enercon, after three months. Recently I moved to Madrid as we opened an office here last year.

What’s your favourite part of your job?

I’m very happy to work in this field – a good sentence to summarise Enercon is that decisions can take some time to come but when they do, we move very fast.

I’m where I am because I believe in this wind turbines sector and that clean energy should be one of the main drivers of the society. We read in the news that the Arctic ice is melting and that this has no impact! With wind energy, I am working for things I really believe in and hoping this will be part of the solution. Maybe it’s too idealistic but I hope we will leave a better world for our children than the one we received.

What is your least favourite part?

Well, there is lots of travelling – that’s one reason I moved to Madrid, the flight connections are better. In Spain the regions are very important so you are obliged to travel a lot. It’s something you have to keep in mind.