ANA (IBEX 35) +93,8500 (0,59 %)

What are you searching?

Renewables cum laude: Interview to Santiago Galbete

01/09/2014

ACCIONA's International Project Manager Santiago Galbete reveals some of the main elements of his highly-acclaimed doctoral thesis, Technical and economic viability of a 100% renewable electricity supply in Spain.

ACCIONA's International Project Manager Santiago Galbete reveals some of the main elements of his highly-acclaimed doctoral thesis, Technical and economic viability of a 100% renewable electricity supply in Spain.

Santiago Galbete's thesis attracted great interest from a media in the throes of the energy debate. ACCIONA Energy's International Project Manager was awarded a doctorate cum laude by Navarre's Public University (Spain) for a work that indicates the technical and economic viability of an electricity system in Spain based exclusively on renewable energy sources.

PROFILE

Santiago Galbete

International project manager

After graduating in Industrial Engineering in Zaragoza (Spain), and completing postgraduate studies at the European School of Management and Technology in Cologne (Germany), Santiago Galbete joined ACCIONA Energy in 2004. He later took the Company's Executive MBA at Madrid's School of Industrial Organization and is now ACCIONA's International Project Manager for wind and solar power technologies.

Why fix such an ambitious target?

Spain represented an ideal scenario for such a study. It lacks nonrenewable energy resources, yet has great potential from the wind, sun, water and biomass. It also behaves like an island as far as electricity supply is concerned, possessing very few interconnections with neighboring countries.

My academic research, based on real data relating to production and renewable resources, shows that in Spain we could achieve a 100% renewable electricity supply by 2050; indeed, this is technically possible within 20 years. All the socioeconomic benefits derived from the electricity generation process would by implication remain in our economy, instead of being transferred to countries selling us non-renewable resources.

But the present outlook in Spain is not exactly favorable to renewables…

When I began this thesis seven years ago, Spain was the international reference for renewables. Thanks to ACCIONA, I had the opportunity to present aspects of my work in London, Amsterdam, Beijing and Amman, and wherever I went I encountered great interest in Spain's achievements with regard to clean technologies. I completed the thesis at a pessimistic moment, when the drastic change in energy legislation in Spain confused the rest of the world.

What conclusions did you arrive at from the analysis you carried out?

Spain should not abandon the world leadership in renewables that it has built up so painstakingly. We must take a long-term view and follow the example of countries such as Germany, which made a decided commitment to these technologies as a source of secure, efficient and sustainable supply, wealth and jobs.

Spain should not abandon the world leadership in renewables it has built up so painstakingly

The wind and sun are intermittent sources. How do you guarantee the availability of electricity at all times?

Basically through manageable renewables such as biomass, which can be adapted to demand fluctuations. Pumped-storage hydroelectricity will also allow energy to be stored and used when necessary. It is ironic that pumped-storage stations were introduced in Spain 40 years ago to compensate for the lack of manageability of nuclear, whereas renewables - in the form of wind and solar - are now blamed for being too variable. We have the same solution today that was applied to the nuclear problem!

Is your proposal economically viable?

According to my calculations, the cost of the renewable energy model will decrease with time. So, in 2050, it would stand at around 82/MWh, whereas, if Spain's current model is maintained, it would increase to about €85/MWh, i.e. it is cheaper in the medium term to produce energy from renewables than it is from gas, coal or uranium. This is using a very conservative hypothesis in the cost calculation regarding environmental externalities.

Move up

YOU'RE JUST ONE STEP AWAY!

Please, confirm your subscription on the email we have sent you and your registration will be completed.

YOU'VE ONLY GOT ONE STEP LEFT!

Please confirm your subscription in the email we just sent you to complete the registration and you will be able to download your ebook.

YOU ARE ALREADY SUBSCRIBED TO THE NEWSLETTER!

If you've missed our content, try checking your junk mailbox and
add us to your address book so you can enjoy them without any problem.

An error has occurred.

Your email has been unsubscribed. You will not receive more newsletters, unless you subscribe again. Thank you very much