Baldomero Falcones heads up one of the leading European services and construction groups, and during a recent televised interview with Stephanie Baker (Senior Writer, Bloomberg Markets), he spoke about how infrastructure, construction and renewable energy will pave the way for new city living.
“There is no question about the demand for renewable energy,” said Falcones. FCC’s chief cited the European programme for 2020 as one driver of this demand, which will lead to 40% of electricity coming from renewable sources in Europe in the future. Despite Falcones’ optimism, he also warned that stable policies were required to keep project finance flowing.
Falcones referred to the problems faced in his home country of Spain trying to balance policy support with technological developments. He referred particularly to the photovoltaic industry, where a huge and rapid uptake of PV over the last two or three years put pressures on the Spanish feed-in tariff scheme, causing the Government to take draconian steps to limit the amount of new capacity coming on line.
Falcones also talked about how wind energy is now becoming competitive with conventional fuels in Spain. His company is now involved in building wind farms on landfill sites in the UK, which “do not affect local populations and benefit from existing grid connections”. He explained how the UK was exceptional in that the public is often strongly against onshore wind farms, and how FCC’s approach of building facilities on landfill sites helped navigate around planning and public opinion issues. Falcones revealed that wind farm development could account for 20% of FCC’s activity moving forward. “We currently generate 1,000 MW of wind energy and plan to be producing 2,000 MW in four to five years,” he said.
Referring to Spain’s leading solar thermal electric industry, FCC's Chairman noted that “although the technology is not so expensive, all the planning required means the sector still needs support from public subsidiaries”. Staying with the solar thermal electric technology, Stephanie Baker questioned Falcones about FCC’s involvement in the Desertec initiative in North Africa. “It’s a long-term project, but it is getting the support of big companies in Europe and I think it will be very interesting,” Falcones said.
The Bloomberg Businessweek European Leadership Forum in London is an annual gathering of Europe’s business elite. For 10 years, the European Leadership Forum has brought together the most influential business leaders and policymakers to provide unrivalled insight into the real-world issues they face each day.
Stephanie Baker’s interview with Baldomero Falcones is available here :