On Saturday 6 April, Spanish law changed through the new act 244/2019, regulating self-consumption of electricity. Spain definitively leaves behind previous taxes (known as the sun tax) and launches itself firmly towards a new energy reality, in which each citizen will have new options to generate their own energy through solar panels.
Self-consumption means a significant economic saving for the consumer’s pocket. Simultaneously, it means an increase in the installation of renewable generation, which helps to reduce the increasingly high levels of polluting emissions into the atmosphere. In addition, the generation of energy in the same places where we consume it, in our homes or in our workplaces, avoids all losses through transport and transformation of the traditional centralized system. It is undoubtedly a major step towards more efficient use of the energy and resources we need to produce it.
But the benefits do not end in an environmental context (although perhaps it should be enough). At the economic level, there is no energy generation as democratic as photovoltaic self-consumption. A large number of entities and individuals can benefit from your installation. Unlike virtually all other forms of energy generation, many facilities go hand in hand with small and medium-sized enterprises that create jobs and bring value to their nearest communities.
The new act can continue to draw positive conclusions that will encourage the massive installation of a technology, once expensive and subsidized, that has reached its technical and economic maturity. As an example, today it is cheaper to buy a solar panel than a door and no longer needs any subsidy to be profitable. All it needed was a regulatory framework that allowed users to act freely; and this has already happened.
Even so, I believe that the most important thing is not the content of the act itself, but rather the fact that Spain confirms that it is boarding the train of the change of energy model. We put a lot at stake with that. After a decade, we are building new solar parks, some of them the largest in Europe, which leads us to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and meet the European Commission’s 2020 climate and energy targets.
At the same time, we know we’re going to need to generate more electricity. Without going any further, to supply the next electrification of transport. We are on the verge of the introduction of the electric car as an alternative to traditional cars powered by fossil fuels, and that energy must be renewable.
Transport represents 27% of the final energy consumed in the world and 40% in Spain. Therefore, if we manage to change the way in which we generate that energy today, to do it in a more efficient and clean way, we are taking a big step forward.
We are faced with a new energy scenario in which Spain is not the only actor involved. Climate change is already scientific evidence and the new generations deserve a world with the same opportunities as their predecessors. For this reason, the European Commission advocates a future free of CO2 emissions in 2050, encompassing all the European Union’s policies up to that moment, objectives that are aligned with the Paris Agreement of 2015 and focused on limiting the increase in the global temperature of the planet to 1.5ºC with respect to pre-industrial times.
Therefore, we are not alone, we will walk a path with our community partners, not exempt, far from it, of difficulties, which will not be solved by claiming to stay as we were or closing our eyes waiting for the “status quo” to be maintained by magic.
We are at the beginning of a great energy revolution. Take, for example, the rapid introduction of electric scooters or shared motorcycles. These changes make it necessary for us to redefine the rules of coexistence in cities. This speed of implantation is no coincidence. It is the pace at which the world moves today, more and more technological. We see how computers, smartphones, smartwatches, robots, or whatever we imagine around us evolve.
I believe that we have been lucky enough to be born at an important moment in history and at the same time of an enormous responsibility, because we hold in our hands the future of our children and their successive generations. This has never been the case before without the mediation of a war. Never could the future be conditioned so much by our daily actions. It is up to us to decide whether we do it for good or for bad.
To this end, it is important that we understand that energy change is necessary and that we cannot be extracting “dinosaur juice” forever, nor does our planet have more capacity to withstand greenhouse gases.
We must ask ourselves how we are going to be impacted by all that is to come, and decide how to deal with it. Training is key to the direction we’re headed. It is simply not possible to enjoy all the technological changes that we see in our daily lives and pretend that this does not impact us in other areas such as work. Many opportunities will be generated, all of them require preparation and a lot of attitude of overcoming.
Solar panels, electric cars, and why not name it too, energy storage. Let us keep these three concepts because they are the present and the future. From the technological companies we see it from a prism of optimism, but at the same time of necessity. The labour market is going to demand a large number of qualified employees related to technical studies, both from universities and from professional training.
Therefore, it only remains for me to reaffirm that the new act that finally puts an end to the uncertainties in the domestic and industrial sectors is nothing more than the beginning of many other changes that we are going to face, where electrical energy is going to become the protagonist of our lives and jobs.
This transition is not an option, so it is in our power to try to understand it as soon as possible and, why not, try to enjoy it to the fullest.