The Department of Economic and Business Development of the Government of Navarra and the Navarra Federation of Municipalities and Councils (FNMC) have agreed to work together to promote the energy transition in the local entities of Navarra. One of the first actions to be carried out is the holding of several information sessions in the different regions of Navarra to explain to city councils and citizens all the aid that the Department makes available to them to carry out the energy transition.
During the last information sessions with local entities of Navarra last August, the Minister of Economic and Business Development, Mikel Irujo Amezaga, highlighted the importance of “involving local entities, companies, and citizens in the energy transition to achieve the decarbonisation objectives set by Europe”. In addition, he pointed out that the Government of Navarra “is making a significant effort to grant and manage aid and subsidies to facilitate the changes that these agents must undertake and in this process, the administrations closest to the territory, such as the Action Groups Local, represent a key element”.
Irujo Amezaga also replicated the words of the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen “It is urgent to act. We see energy prices break record after record. The consequences for households and businesses are already unsustainable. Moreover, what we see is an energy crisis, but it is primarily a fossil fuel energy crisis. Therefore, we need a green solution against this fossil fuel energy crisis”. Following the invasion of Ukraine, the need for a rapid transition to clean energy has never been louder and clearer. The EU imports 90% of the gas it consumes and Russia supplies more than 40% of the gas consumed in the EU. Furthermore, 27% of oil imports and 46% of coal imports also come from Russia.
This crisis is alarmingly increasing prices. The Industrial Price Index (IPRI) of Navarra registered an annual variation of 25.5% (40.4% in the state). Among the unprecedented increase in prices, energy stands out with an unsustainable rise of 106.3%, which is weighing down prices as a whole. The phenomenon is global and is especially affecting the EU and the United States. In fact, in the United States, increases of this magnitude have not been known since 1980. A second fundamental element to take into account is the increase in the price of carbon emission rights paid by the industry. On August 19, it reached 99.22 euros per ton, a historical record (at the beginning of 2021 the price was 30 euros). The production of electricity from coal produces twice as many carbon dioxide emissions as gas, so it requires more emission rights.
All of the above is affecting European industry in an unsustainable way over time, and that of Navarra. The industrial GDP of Navarra exceeds 30%, more than double the average for the whole state, and mainly, for this reason, Navarra is the autonomous community with the second-highest final energy consumption per inhabitant. In terms of primary energy consumption, industry and transport together account for almost 75%, well above the domestic sector (14%) or commerce (4%).
The actions that the government of Navarra is deploying are aimed at three main axes:
All of them are complementary and necessary. As of July 11, prior administrative authorizations for new parks had been granted 345MW of new installed capacity. Navarra has approved various pioneering legislative initiatives such as the promotion of repowering, and the hybridization of renewable facilities or storage. Regarding the promotion of self-consumption, Navarra is the leader among the Autonomous Communities in the management of next-generation subsidies for self-consumption, and they have achieved an increase of 76% in the last year while promoting the energy communities, as well as at the business level. In terms of efficiency and energy savings, they have been deploying policies for years. Navarra has managed to reduce primary energy consumption by 16.3% in the last decade, with strategies and investments in existing technologies.
The EU must make profound and radical changes. Brussels must immediately intervene in the energy market, regulate it and centralize gas purchases at a European level. At the moment, each country continues to fight its battle, and this fragmentation only benefits speculation. In addition, the EU must review the auction mechanisms and adopt measures to support the local European industrial sector. The renewable sector industry, especially the wind sector, which directly employs 6,000 people in Navarra, finds itself in a paradoxical situation, that is, a historical perspective of growth, and at the same time the accumulation of accounting losses, which are more than worrying. The energy transition towards renewables must be ensured through European (and Navarran) technology and industry. On the other hand, the European Emissions Trading System (ETS) must be reviewed and avoid speculation, as well as make competition policy and state aid more flexible.
As for Navarra, the government must redouble the support for its industry and commerce. The technology for the energy transition already exists, and on top of that, it is the most efficient from a price point of view. The government must redouble the efforts that are already being made to support business investment in SMEs and large companies in energy efficiency and savings (biomass, biogas, biofuels, commitment to hydrogen, as well as heat pumps, etc.). In addition, Navarra must expand measures for the preparation of decarbonization plans in order to have a diagnosis of a very high percentage of industries and companies, promoting self-consumption.
The sessions are added to other actions that the Department is developing, such as the energy transition portal. This website aims to “empower citizens to take an active part in the energy transition”, stressed Irujo.