Signature of an agreement between the Basque Country and the state of Virginia for the development and implementation of renewable energies
- Minister Arantxa Tapia and Brian Ball, Secretary of Commerce and Trade of the state of Virginia (USA), signed a key commitment today to enable Basque companies to participate in the main wind energy projects in this American state
- The Basque wind energy industrial core is composed of more than 100 companies, generating more than 34,500 jobs, with a global turnover of more than €15.7 billion
- The Basque Country and Virginia will be directly collaborating in areas such as wind energy, photovoltaic energy, smart networks and energy management, hydrogen and storage
The Basque Country and the state of Virginia (USA) will be collaborating in the development and implementation of technologies applied to renewable energies, as well as energy efficiency and storage. This has been the outcome of the work concluded today online between Minister of Economic Development, Sustainability and the Environment, Arantxa Tapia, and Secretary of Commerce and Trade from the State of Virginia, Brian Ball.
This agreement has been key for enabling Basque companies to participate in the main wind energy projects for this American state, in which the two institutions are committed to working together in areas such as wind energy, photovoltaic energy, smart networks and energy management, hydrogen and storage.
Prior to signing, Minister Tapia, together with the CEO of Ente Vasco de la Energía, EVE, Iñigo Ansola, the director of Agencia de Internacionalización, BTI, Ainhoa Ondarzabal, and Jose Ignacio Hormaeche, general director of Energy Cluster Association, held a meeting with the delegation of the State of Virginia, which was attended by the following people: Brian Ball, Secretary of Business and Trade, Trieste Lockwood, Senior Policy Advisor, Jennifer Palestrant, Deputy Director of Mines, Minerals and Energy, and John Begala, Deputy Secretary of Commerce and Trade.
The agreement identifies the following priority work areas:
- Promotion of the exchange of information, best practices and policy initiatives to support the development and regulation of technologies applied to renewable energy, energy efficiency and energy storage.
- Working to identify and analyse the challenges associated with financing and risk management in renewable energy facilities, energy efficiency systems and energy storage facilities.
- Facilitating the transfer of technical knowledge on electrical interconnection and the integration of electricity generated in renewable energy installations into the grid.
- Sharing knowledge on a wide range of renewable energy issues, including the supply chain, consumption, the interconnection of network integration, system planning to optimise the use of renewable energy facilities, information on the benefits offered by renewable energy and the strategies applicable to achieving price reductions.
The Basque Country is one of the few regions worldwide that covers the entire wind energy farm value chain, and the offshore wind sector in the United States is an emerging sector, therefore making this Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, key to providing Basque companies with the opportunity to participate in the main wind energy projects planned in Virginia:
- Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind Project: An offshore project located 43 km off the coast of Virginia Beach. The initial phase with two Siemens Gamesa turbines was built in 2020 and is the second offshore wind energy farm in operation in the US. Commercial expansion is planned for 2024 with 180 turbines and will be the largest offshore project in the US.
- Kitty Hawk Offshore Wind Project: A project to develop a farm 27 miles from the Outer Banks along the coasts of Virginia and North Carolina. The initial phase of construction will begin in 2024, with a total capacity of 2,500 MW.
Energy industrial capacities in the Basque Country
The Basque industry presents ideal conditions in terms of wind energy, with an ‘end-to-end’ structure along the entire internationally recognised wind development process.
Paradoxically, although wind power development in the Basque Country is low compared to other regional communities, the Basque industry covers all activities throughout the wind energy industry, with a powerful and unique sectoral business structure.
There are Basque companies in this regard with the capacity to develop wind farms, from the initial study, design and planning phase to the operation of the farms, through the construction and installation phase along with all their associated activities. An ancillary industry involving the manufacture of components, control technologies, etc. has also sprung up around the activities involving the manufacture of wind turbines and promotion of farms. The wind energy industry is therefore the driving force behind other sub-sectors (components, telecontrol systems, etc.).
The Basque industry is a vast exporter of technology and products and major Basque wind companies are being developed worldwide. The Basque Country’s extensive recognition led to it hosting the most important European event in the field of wind energy, Wind Europe 2019 in 2019, where 55 out of the 400 international companies were Basque companies. And this event will take place once again in Bilbao in April 2022, thus reaffirming its support for the thriving wind energy sector Basque business network.
The Basque wind energy industrial core is composed of more than 100 companies generating more than 34,500 jobs, with a global turnover of more than €15.7 billion.
However, the Basque Country has much to gain considering the forecast for the next decade's global wind power installation, which could soar to 300 GW. The Basque wind energy industry is the most powerful one nationally, and Spain ranks third in terms of the net value of its exports of this technology. Basque companies can certainly aim for a large share of this market if they continue to go from strength to strength in this sector, developing technology locally and nationally and become pioneers of the expected global development.