More than 300 people attend CITE 2023

Pamplona, 26th October 2023. More than 300 people attended the 3rd International Industry Congress for Energy Transition (CITE) 2023, held this Wednesday in Pamplona, organised by Enercluster with the collaboration of the Government of Navarra and Pamplona City Council.

The atmosphere at the congress oscillated between two opposing sensations. On the one hand, optimism for the support measures for the sector approved by the European Union this week in the document known as the “European Wind Power Action Plan”. On the other hand, there is an urgent need to implement these proposals as soon as possible. All of this, logically, with the aim of ensuring that the renewable energy industry in the Old Continent remains a benchmark and fights on an equal footing for world leadership against its Asian competitors.

Thus, after the words of welcome from Ana Goyen, President of Enecluster, and the Mayoress of Pamplona, Cristina Ibarrola, the Secretary of State for Energy, Sara Aagesen, was the first to reinforce this message of positivism. To this end, she referred to the latest decisions adopted on Tuesday by the Council of Ministers. These are three resolutions included in the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan (PRTR) “very important as, together, they add up to a total budget of 330 million euros”, she emphasised.

An idea on which he agreed with the President of Navarra, María Chivite. “Our industrial system is the foundation on which our economic independence is based,” she said. Chivite therefore expressed her satisfaction with the support measures for renewables announced by the European authorities this week. “It is a step in the right direction and the holding of this congress demonstrates the enormous strength and future of our industry,” she said.

Challenges ahead

The CEOs taking part in the two round table discussions that followed the institutional opening agreed with the good prospects put forward by the authorities. However, they all agreed on the same message: the aid is good, but it must now be implemented as soon as possible. “The approved package shows that politicians are clearly willing to help, but we are the experts who have to tell them how to implement the plan,” said Victor Equisoain, CEO of Nordex Acciona’s International Division. In his opinion, “There is no other option, we have to start working now, based on optimism”.

The CEO of Ingeteam, Adolfo Rebollo, was equally positive, providing the following data. According to Red Eléctrica, more than 50% of the energy generated so far this year alone comes from renewable sources. “And this is going to increase,” he said, adding that Spain has to lead this movement: “We cannot let this opportunity slip away. It is one of the few in which we stand out internationally”.

Previously, at the round table “Challenges in the development of renewables 2023”, the CEOs of Acciona and Enerfín, Rafael Mateo and José Castellanos, respectively, as well as David Sola, manager of Ríos Renovables, analysed the possibilities for the renewable industry to meet the objectives of the National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan (PNIEC). From Castellanos’ point of view, “it is going to require a brutal effort” because it will force wind power to double its capacity in the next seven years. “In the last four, we have installed one gigawatt a year and now it has to be four and there is no other way. We have to do it.

A similar situation applies to photovoltaics. “The forecast was for 39 gigawatts by 2030 and now we are looking at 76 with a 95% increase,” explained Sola. Reaching these figures will mean implementing up to seven gigawatts per year, which represents an increase of 56% of the figures that have been used until now. At this point, Mateo added that “the industry will go as far as it is economically viable. And we are not only talking about figures. The transition must be made in an orderly manner because otherwise we run the risk of an imbalance between generation and transmission”, he warned, calling for “more demand (electrification of consumption), more network and leaving aside technological agnosticism”.

Development and the future

One of the most eagerly awaited presentations was that of Michael Liebreich, CEO of Liebreich Associates. It was clear from his words that in the next five years, the world will add as much renewable energy generation as in the last two decades. As a sign of this acceleration process, if in 2004 it took a year to install a gigawatt (and by 2016 that time had already been reduced to a single week), today that capacity is achieved in a single day. A trend “that is not going to stop”.

Furthermore, the expert predicted good prospects for the sector in Navarre. “In Navarra, renewables are going to win the future because they have been doing so for thirty years. And they will do so with innovation, engineering excellence, investment and hard work,” he added, noting that the sectors that offer the greatest possibilities for growth and development are battery manufacturing and the electrification of heat. “The institutions have already taken the step, but nobody is going to give you anything for free, and now it is the turn of industry,” he added.

The third round table

The morning session ended with a round table on innovation and technology by Thierry Marin-Martinod (CTO of Array Technic), Marc Rechter (CEO of MCPV), Teresa Arlabán (Director of Intellectual Property and Processes at Nordex Acciona) and David Carrascosa (COO of Saitec Offshore). Among their messages, they stressed the need for differentiated products and services in areas such as technology reliability, cybersecurity or even process improvement. “Engineering and labour costs are no longer the determining factor in the competition between China and Europe, but the difference is how we deploy the data culture, connect with our operators and optimise the whole system,” Rechter said.

Therefore, they demanded innovation policies from Europe that also address “not so disruptive innovation projects”, Arlabán argued: “It is difficult to implement disruptive innovation at the operational level. But there are many more basic innovations that we need to develop and whose transfer is easier. That is why we need these projects to have access to public funding as well.

Finally, they emphasised the need to develop the projects submitted more quickly. “If we don’t succeed, the interest of our investors and our talent will disappear, and it is very likely that they will end up moving to the United States,” said Carrascosa.

Simultaneous round tables

The programme of the 3rd International Industry Congress for the Energy Transition 2023 was completed in the afternoon with the holding of various thematic round tables. For example, Jaime Urcola (Sakana), Joris Peeters (ZF Wind Power) and Pello Irujo (Laulagun Bearings) discussed the remains of the supply chain in a meeting moderated by Brian Gaylord (Woodmac).

Meanwhile, Isabel Blanco (EBRD), Ramón Roca (El Periódico de la Energía), Erica Morales (Statkraft) and Sergio Fernández (populariser) reflected together with the director of CITE, Kiko Maza, on whether renewables are losing the communication battle. Javier Remírez (Acciona & Nordex Green hydrogen), Alan Ripa (Acciona Plug), Mónica Aguado (CENER) and Harkaitz Ibaiondo (Ingeteam) debated the realities and myths surrounding green hydrogen. This forum was moderated by Pablo Sanchís (UPNA).

In addition, Juan Peña (Enhol), Silvia Encinas (EDP) and Juan Miguel Fernández (Enerfin), moderated by Edurne Zoco (S&P Global), analysed various strategies to maximise the price of renewable energy. Javier Villanueva (Renercycle), Jon Asín (BeePlanet), Rebeca Arrondo (Sustainn) and Iván Botamino (FCC Ámbito) spoke about the circular economy in renewables. Ana Ursúa (AIN) acted as moderator.

Finally, “Storage and Network Integration” was the last thematic round table of the day. Javier Revuelta (Afry), Jérôme Bersano (Northvolt), María Santa María (Baywa r.e.), Eduardo Ryan (Iberdrola) and Álvaro Simal (Repsol) with Luis Marquina (AEPIBAL) as moderator.

At the end of the session, the president of Enercluster, Ana Goyen, proposed a final challenge to the components of the renewables sector in Navarra, and that is to work together in a coordinated way. “It is relatively simple to identify what others need to improve, how the rest can help us move forward, but it will be much more effective if we take action on what falls within our sphere of action,” she said.

Three closing speeches

The final speeches of the congress were given by Joan Groizard, Director General of the Institute for Energy Diversification and Saving, and Isabel Blanco, Head of Impact Energy at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

At the institutional closing ceremony, Mikel Irujo, Regional Minister for Industry and Ecological and Digital Business Transition, said that the wind energy sector “is the third most important and, moreover, is accompanied by a perfect ecosystem such as technology centres, training, universities and demonstration centres”. He therefore stated that “Navarra is a benchmark and we are going to continue working to ensure that it remains so in the future”.

The III International Industry Congress for Energy Transition (CITE) 2023 was sponsored by Acciona Energía, Enerfín, Ingeteam, Nordex, Acciona Windpower, Ríos Renovables, EDP, Grupo Enhol, Laulagun Bearings, Sakana Group, Repsol, ARPA Abogados Consultores, Caja Rural de Navarra, Iberdrola, Leadernet, Nabrawind, Renercycle and Urgon.

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