During the seminars we hold or in the questions the media ask us, we often wonder about the current and future challenges facing the renewable sector. As privileged witnesses to whom companies transmit their needs and concerns, our Association gives a voice to these doubts. Here however I would like to talk about a challenge that we rarely analyse: the challenge that renewables must address is that of their own success.
Since 1987, we have had the opportunity to live through vastly different phases in the sector. An embryo stage, where the renewables of the old special regime were little more than an anecdote, a footnote to the analysis of the electrical system; the incorporation of the different technologies, because those that were there before us well remember when the wind power developers used to be called “thieves” for earning a premium on production; the difficult times, with cuts to the revenues approved in the State Gazette; and we even remember those citizens who, encouraged by the Government, invested in PV even mortgaging their homes; and the recovery of the sector, boosted by some spectacular cost reductions.
“First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win.” The words of Mahatma Gandhi summarise renewables in Spain very well. Analysing the part “Then you win” shows that although fossil fuels account for around 70% of our primary energy and renewables less than 17%, the experience lived with the power sector anticipates a reality that will arrive sooner or later. In the electricity sector, we are going to experience production records, year after year. 2020 recorded 44% of renewable electricity, and in 2021 it will be 46.6%. Figures that are already driving us towards that target of 74% by 2030 which seemed so far away and ambitious when it was proposed and which we are now starting to see in a different light.