Supergrids, net metering, smart meters, high-capacity batteries and the electric vehicle open the door to a new outlook regarding energy.
The Chairman of Red Eléctrica de España (REE), José Folgado, highlighted today at the XI Meeting of the Electricity Sector, organised by the newspaper “Expansión”, the key role and leadership the Company will play in the profound changes that are forthcoming in the Spanish electricity sector. These changes will have as main protagonists the development of supergrids, smart meters, auto-consumption or net metering, high-capacity batteries for storing energy, the electric vehicle, the automation of distribution networks and an ever-increasing role of renewables in energy generation.
All these innovations will dramatically change consumer habits, as well as the distribution and production of electricity, and it will be in this new scenario that the capacity and efficiency of the transmission and system operator (TSO) will play an essential role. In the case the electric vehicle, the Chairman of REE indicated that the system currently already has the ability to integrate a large number of vehicles without additional investment, especially if electricity demand is managed wisely.
This new scenario will be accompanied by a process of further electrification of the country, with electricity being the only energy vector that, year after year, increases its weight in the energy balance of Spain. For Mr. Folgado, electricity will not only be the fuel of the 21st century (just as coal was in the 19th century and oil was in the 20th century), but furthermore in Spain it can play an important role in reducing foreign energy dependence and in balancing Spain’s electricity import/export balance.
Regarding the recent energy reform approved by the Spanish government, the Chairman of REE has indicated that the adjustments applied to the Company in 2012 and 2013 amounted to more than 500 million euros, 18% of the Company’s remuneration in these two fiscal years. According to Mr. Folgado, the essential element of this reform is that it addresses the system’s stability without falling into paralysis, ensuring the security and quality of supply, with a stable remuneration model and an adequate rate of investment.
Regarding this last point, Mr. Folgado said that investment should not be circumscribed to the economic cycle, but on the contrary, its effectiveness requires that it be adapted, with a long-term outlook, to the large-scale objectives of the energy policy. In this regard, he recalled that the profound transformation that the electricity sector has undergone in Spain in the last 30 years would not have been possible without the development of the transmission grid carried out by REE and which focused on the meshing of the grid, evacuation of energy produced by renewable sources and on international interconnections.
José Folgado has emphasised the commitment of REE to strengthen international interconnections in the coming years in order to reach 10% of installed capacity, in accordance with the European commitment made in Barcelona in 2002 and which currently is far from being fulfilled by the EU member authorities.