While most of the economies are providing action plans and laws on energy transition, which is probably the central element of the fight against climate change, Spain stays behind. In fact, in recent years it has experienced a setback in terms of renewable energy generation.

Spain still have not approved a law on climate change that will help meeting the objectives of decarbonization required by the international community, even though the country is one of the European Union members where climate change will have a major impact.

Pressed by the need to reach a consensus on a vital issue for the country as it is energy, last March the Government created an Interministerial Working Group for the elaboration of the future Law on Climate Change and Energy Transition and the Plan National Integrated Energy and Climate. Since then contributions have been collected from more than 400 experts and it has served to have a base of ideas to consider in the subsequent drafting of the law.

Some of the proposals put forward by environmental groups and trade unions were, for example, the closure of nuclear and coal plants, as well as the increase in emission rights prices. Proposals led by financial sector entities were also presented, such as the creation of an independent support body to monitor the work of the Government, as well as creating price mechanisms and eliminating aid to hydrocarbons. Other proposals included the obligation of transparency and analysis of the carbon footprint of different sectors, supported by the academics; or the establishment of quantified and binding targets for greenhouse gas reduction, and to expand interconnections with the European Union, presented by private sector leaders.

Based on the information gathered, this summer the Council of Ministers has approved the creation of a commission of 14 experts whose main objective will be to analyze possible alternatives for energy policy, with this has sought representatives of the entire value chain of the industry. They have time until the end of the year to prepare a report that includes proposals for the drafting of the Law on Climate Change and Energy Transition. They should also consider the environmental and economic impact of each option and meet the environmental objectives as efficiently as possible. Subsequently, the Government will send the report to the Congress of Deputies. The draft Law on Climate Change and Energy Transition will be drawn up based on the report of the committee of experts to be submitted to Brussels on 1 January 2018.

The allocation of this commission has been reprimanded by different media, arguing that the distribution has been politicized and has not been done in a balanced way. This is because, of the 14 members that comprise it: four have been elected by the Government (one by each parliamentary group) and three by the UGT, CCOO and CEOE groups. Other members include: Javier Arana (former deputy director of Nuclear Energy), Ignacio Grangel (former head of the Energy Secretariat), Jorge Sanz (former Director General for Energy Policy and Mines), Oscar Lapastora (former president of Carbunión), Miguel Duvisón general director of operations at REE), José Luis de la Fuente (full professor of the Polytechnic University of Madrid) and Diego Rodríguez Rodríguez (ex-offender of CNMC)

The report will have to come up with alternatives that analyze the combination of different energy sources within an energy transition that is as efficient, sustainable and as low carbon as possible. Consideration must also be given to the degree of participation of renewables in terms of interconnection levels and the contribution of energy efficiency policies.

At the end of the year, questions should be answered such as: What will be done with national coal? How will the entire renewable auction be integrated in 2017? Should they rethink costs such as renewable or nuclear pay? What will be done with the useful life of nuclear? Will costs of capacity payments or ATRs be modified? Will it talk about self-consumption and distributed generation?

Having an ambitious plan is vital for the development of an economy of the future, a competitive economy and a new productive model that can become a space for efficiency, innovation and social welfare.

We need a climate change and energy transition law that is ambitious enough to allow us to move towards a completely decarbonized economy by 2050.

However, the obligation to limit emissions determines how to address energy, transport, and production policies. For this reason, all sectors should be integrated into a single regulation that allows for a better overall management of emissions reduction, but instead to do so in a focused way to do so in a transversal way.

Sonia Diaz | Energy Consultant

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