Renewable energy creates 10,000+ jobs, prompting regulatory reforms to ease project hurdles

By Mariola Guarinos Ripoll

A decisive year for the renewable energy sector in which stakeholders must grasp their future, which can either mark a period of transformation or be seen as an opportunity lost. This was the thesis reached by over 50 experts, educators, entrepreneurs, and authorities who participated in the III Edition of ‘Energy Revolution,’ a leading national congress for the renewables industry, driven by the Valencian Association of Energy Sector Companies (AVAESEN) and held uin València (Spain) with over 300 attendees.

Valencian SEED partners attended the conference as part of the audience, keenly observing the discussions and insights shared by industry experts. Their presence underscored their interest in staying abreast of developments and trends in the renewable energy sector, reflecting their commitment to continuous learning and collaboration within the SEED Consortium.

During the opening session, integrated as part of the activities of Valencia European Green Capital 2024, Nuria Montes, the Councilor for Innovation, Trade, and Tourism of the Valencian Government, emphasized, “We are amidst an energy revolution geared towards sustainability, set to transform our lives. Hence, there is a pressing need for more education and information in this domain.” Montes underscored that “renewable energies create over 10,000 jobs, and therefore, regulatory changes aim to streamline administrative processes to prevent bottlenecks hindering projects driven by this industry.”

In this inaugural session, AVAESEN President Marcos J. Lacruz emphasized the importance of collaboration between the Government, other sectors, and society. “While we may not know the exact sources of future energy, we do know they will share a common denominator: high energy consumption. Thus, we must anticipate and advocate for renewables like solar and wind power,” Lacruz explained.

Moving beyond the opening ceremonies, Teresa Ribera, Third Vice President of the Spanish Government and Minister for Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge, shared an inspirational message with the audience via video. “We must triple the installed capacity of renewable energy globally by 2030 through efficient management, aiming for secure, stable, predictable, and affordable energy,” explained Ribera. She added, “These conferences serve to comprehend the challenges ahead, identify best practices, and stay abreast of advancements that may constitute a secure bet in terms of innovation and partnerships.”

A Congress Shaped by New Legislative Frameworks

During this part of the conference, the focus was not only on how companies in the Valencian Community are producing now and how leading firms in the sector will continue to address this process, but also on specific processes, such as the internal manufacturing of solar modules by these brands. At this juncture of the conference, and indeed throughout the day, there was a focus on the reform of the legislative framework that the Government of Valencia will approve this year regarding the regulation of renewable energies. This step forward aims to achieve 7,000 megawatts of photovoltaic and 4,000 wind megawatts in the region by 2030.

The goal of integrating 140 gigawatts (GW) of renewables outlined in the National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan (PNIEC) also defined this third edition of ‘Energy Revolution.’ Beyond contextualizing the challenge with real examples, representatives from entities such as the Spanish Battery Association and Energy Advisory (AEPIBAL) or the Spanish Photovoltaic Union (UNEF) stressed the importance of implementing suitable strategic planning, particularly emphasizing cost optimization.

After a debate comparing the pros and cons of hydrogen and electricity for addressing the electrification process, attention turned to self-consumption. In this regard, entities specializing in the manufacture of photovoltaic self-consumption, both for companies and individuals, referred to the current “brake” that this process is experiencing. To address this, the focus was on specific aspects such as self-consumption with small wind turbines, local electric accelerators, or industrial self-consumption, with performance highlighted as a key element, as well as the manufacturer’s commitment and responsibility in the event of any setbacks.