Spanish Renewables Foundation joins energy debate

The recently formed Fundación Renovables was publicly presented yesterday in Madrid before a large group of journalists. The press conference served to emphasise its independent status as a citizens' movement outside the interests of companies or organisations, which solely seeks to accelerate a change in energy model.

"A country with energy is a country with a future", declared the President of Fundación Renovables, Javier García Breva, at the start of the presentation, as if wanting to emphasise right from the start the importance of what the group behind the foundation has in its grasp.

Flanked by three vice-presidents – Domingo Jiménez Beltrán, Fernando Ferrando and one of the founding partners of Renewable Energy Magazine, Pepa Mosquera – García Breva showed his most political side (he was an MP for the Spanish socialist party, PSOE, and General Manager of the Spanish Institute for Energy Saving and Efficiency (IDEA) during President Zapatero's first term) to denounce the lack of energy planning in Spain over the last two decades, and argue that is the source of many of the problems affecting the sector.

He also demanded that the shift in the energy model in Spain be accelerated to ensure Spain does not lose its lead in the renewables industry, and compensate for the steps backwards the Spanish government has taken on the road to energy sustainability with its latest measures and the campaign to discredit renewables led by the Minister of Industry. "Only in the last year, we have had no less than three energy mix proposals, which have cut time and time again the contribution of renewables from 22.7% of gross final energy consumption to 20.8% for 2020”, he said. “Energy policy needs to have more insight than markets, and this is only achieved with political will.”

Domingo Jiménez Beltrán, former director of the European Environment Agency, brandished a document published by this agency to remind those present that Germany has four times more installed solar photovoltaic capacity than Spain. "Why has Germany, with over 15,000 MW, not gone too far but Spain has? Because there has not been an adequate regulatory framework".

Citizens’ movement

Fundación Renovables was founded as a citizens’ movement, as none of its founding members participate on behalf of the businesses or entities for which they work. Furthermore, the foundation aims to have a very broad social base. Both the Board and the more than a hundred members who have joined so far, have, in most cases, extensive experience in the energy sector and very different backgrounds: both business and public sector, from trade unions, environmental organisations, academia and the media.

The main objective of Fundación Renovables is to raise awareness among society of the importance of energy saving and efficiency and renewables as basic principles of energy policy, and the need to implement and adopt a new model of behaviour with respect to energy. “Also”, says García Breva, “we intend to be an intermediary with its own voice in the energy debate. We will share our ideas, our approach, with all sector players in every arena possible”.

The foundation regrets that the impression is given in some circles that "there are already too many renewables" when in fact we are still far from meeting our emissions reduction commitments under the Kyoto Protocol, and continue to be the country with a considerable dependence on foreign energy. "The challenge for Spain," said Domingo Jiménez Beltrán, “is to urgently address these two problems to safeguard against a future energy crisis – which will arise throughout the world due to problems with fossil fuel supply and the impacts of climate change – and convert them into an opportunity".

Finally, Pepa Mosquera, who is also a director of Haya Communicación the publishing house behind Renewable Energy Magazine, said the foundation will be very active in its relationship with society, and among the many awareness raising activities scheduled, the foundation will launch a new website that will be enriched with new content and connected to social networks.

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