News Industry, Innovation, Trade and Tourism

The Basque Country to consume less energy in 2020 than in 2008 and to save 5,000 million euros on the energy bill

2012 May 23

The Basque Energy Strategy 2020 (3E2020), unveiled by Minister Bernabé Unda in Parliament today, aims to reduce CO2 emissions by 18% and save 4,000 to 5,000 million euros in the energy bill.

Bernabé Unda, the Basque Government Minister for Industry, Innovation, Trade and Tourism, today appeared, at his own request, before the Basque Parliament to outline the Basque Energy Strategy 2020 (3E2020), a document approved by the Basque Cabinet on 13 December.

The Minister, accompanied by the Deputy Minister for Industry and Energy, Xabier Garmendia, the Director for Energy and Mines, Jorge Letamendia, and the General Manager of the Basque Energy Board, José Ignacio Hormaeche, went over the main points of the plan, which has established a series of priorities for 2020.
The strategy is based on three core areas: the firm commitment to energy savings, an impetus to renewable energies and strengthening the Basque industrial sector linked to energy.

These core areas have been used to establish specific targets: The first is related with boosting energy savings and efficiency. The Strategy prepared by the Government therefore aims to consume less total energy in 2020 than in 2008 and less electricity than in 2007. These figures are based on economic growth of +28% over that period.

Energy savings will also mean that the Basque citizens will spend between 4,000 and 5,000 million euros less on energy over the ten years covered by the plan. On the other hand, energy intensity, i.e., the energy consumed in relation to the wealth produced will be cut by 22%.

The second of the Strategy targets are related to boosting renewable energies. The Basque Country will increase the percentage of clean energies used from the current 8% to between 14% and 17%. This range will depend on future technological developments both in terms of wind power and other renewable energies over the coming ten years. In any event, it involves increasing renewable energies by 87%, and a significant qualitative leap with respect to the current situation.

To give an idea of the effort involved, one just has to remember that some 600 MV of photovoltaic panels or 300 MW in wind power generators need to be installed to increase the use of renewables by just 1%.

The third line of the 3E2020 is based on consolidate the use of natural gas as the transition energy on the way to renewables predominating. In fact, the aim is to increase the current 42% that it represents in the energy mix to 50% by 2020.
As a fourth point, the Strategy aims to continue to reduce the presence of oil, which involves reducing the final consumption of oil in 202 by 9% compared to 2010, by seeking to break its ties with the transport sector (37,100 electric vehicles) and that alternative energies will account for 15% of road transport. As a long-term target, it is even envisaged that "zero oil" can be achieved for energy uses by 2050.

The fifth target of the plan is focused on reducing CO2 emissions to the atmosphere. The Government is thus committed to reducing CO2 emissions by 2.5 million tons per year, i.e., 18% less than in 2005, the year used as a benchmark in this area internationally.

The Basque Government also intends to drive the industrial-technological development of energy-linked Basque companies so that they can increase invoicing by 25%, which will involve investments to the tune of 10,701 million euros over the coming ten years.
The aim is also to give impetus to eight priority industrial and technological development areas in the energy field, and increase the turnover of the energy sector companies by 25%.

This commitment is embodied in a new differentiated policy area, Industrial and Technological Development (also known as EnergiBasque), within the 3E2020 strategy.

The energy sector employs 24,400 people divided into 356 companies. They invoice 15,469 million euros in the Basque Country and invest 188 million in R&D in the Basque Country alone. The energy sector companies in the Basque Country employ 1905 people exclusively in the research field.

The sector thus has a cooperative research centre, the CIC energiGUNE, 10 corporate R&D centres specialised in energy, 5 centres run by multinationals, along with various university centres and two major Basque technological alliances, IK4 and Tecnalia with units dedicated to this area.

EnergiBasque aims to support this network of technological companies and stakeholders from the energy sector, so that it contributes to the sustainability of the Basque economy and becomes a source of wealth, employment and quality of life for the Basque Country during the coming decades.. A series of priority technological areas has therefore been defined and their common thread is electricity, as the key energy aspect.

The Basque Energy Strategy 2020 (3E2020) is the document that will establish Basque energy policy over the coming decade. This document followed a six-month preparation process, which involved over 200 stakeholders from different spheres: different departments of the Basque Government, Local Authorities, companies from the Energy Cluster, energy operations, consumer associations, financial entities, social and economic stakeholders, ecologist groups, research centres and universities.

The Energy Strategy is based on the analysis of the previous strategy, which ended in 2010 and where there was medium-high compliance of the targets set.

Vitoria-Gasteiz, 23 May 2012

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Politicians attending the event
  • Bernabé Unda
    Consejero de Industria, Innovación, Comercio y Turismo (IX term)