Focus on Spain: the Energy Union tour
European Commission Vice-President for Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič and Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete are today visiting Spain to discuss making the Energy Union, the EU's plan to help provide Europe with secure, affordable and climate-friendly energy, a reality.
Around 42% of the energy used in Spain comes from petroleum and products derived from petroleum; the EU average is 33%. The next most widespread source of energy is gas (20%), followed by renewable energy (15%) and nuclear energy (12%). Spain is highly dependent on energy imports, especially petroleum and gas, although these imports come from several different countries.
However, more and more energy from renewable sources is being used, and Spain is on track to meet its national 2020 target of 20% renewable energy consumption by 2020. Its climate and geography mean that it is in a good position to develop technologies such as solar power, wind and ocean energy. It is also working to improve energy efficiency: for example, by renovating older buildings so that they consume energy more efficiently. This will also reduce costs for consumers, although Spanish household energy expenditure is already relatively low. A special discount on energy bills is also available for low-income and vulnerable households.
Spain's position on the Iberian Peninsula also means that it is currently not well integrated into the EU's internal energy market. A number of projects designed to improve Spain's energy interconnectivity with the rest of Europe are underway. These include the Bay of Biscay electricity undersea cable interconnection, linking Aquitaine in France with the Basque Country in Spain, two electricity lines through the Pyrenees, and the Midcat gas pipeline, which will increase the interconnection capacity between the French and Spanish gas networks.
As the first full-fledged visit of the 2017 Energy Union Tour, Vice-President Šefčovič and Commissioner Arias Cañete go to Spain today to meet several Spanish Ministers. With the Public Works Minister Íñigo de la Serna, the focus will be on the Connecting Europe Facility and the European Fund for Strategic Investments. The meetings with the Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and Environment Minister Isabel García Tejerina and with Energy, Tourism and Digital Minister Álvaro Nadal will centre on Spain's implementation of the 2030 energy and climate framework, Energy Union governance (including the preparation of the National Energy and Climate Plans) and the Clean Energy for All Europeans package. With the Economy, Industry and Competitiveness Minister Luis de Guindos, topics will include the modernisation of the economy through the energy transition, sustainable transport and the setting up of investment platforms under the Smart Finance for Smart Buildings initiative to combine the European Structural and Investment Funds with the European Fund for Strategic Investment. Vice-President Šefčovič will also conduct a public debate with citizens and stakeholders on the energy transition and meet with young entrepreneurs and innovators who are involved in accelerating the energy transition in Europe. On Friday, the Vice-President will go to the Basque Country to showcase the Smart city-driven Replicate project (financed by Horizon 2020) in San Sebastian and the Mutriku plant which uses waves to generate electricity. He will also visit the internationally established National Renewable Energy Centre CENER in Navarra.