With only two editions, Foro Sella, the international conference on innovation in industrial energy management, has established itself as the benchmark meeting point where energy for Spain’s decarbonized reindustrialization converges.

In its second edition, held last May in Villanueva de Gállego, Zaragoza, it highlighted how the availability of renewable energy, rather than being an export asset for regions, is an industrial attraction pole that drives socioeconomic development by generating wealth and employment.

The participants, more than 25 international experts, emphasized that Spain has established itself as a major renewable energy power, placing the country in a competitive advantage over the rest of the European countries. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union, and Cooperation, José Manuel Albares, emphasized the importance of Aragón as the “spearhead of green energy,” highlighting that energy is not only a transversal issue affecting people or companies but also a “State” matter. He noted that “Spain, for the first time, is in a position to combine land, more data, and more people. This formula guarantees success in achieving the global energy transition.”

Another significant conclusion from the II Foro Sella is the need to boost distribution and storage networks, in addition to continuing efforts to ensure that electrification is the main axis for industrial decarbonization.

Mark Z. Jacobson, Universidad de Stanford

Mark Z. Jacobson,  Stanford University

For Stanford professor Mark Z. Jacobson, the key to a successful transition lies in focusing on technologies that work and not losing perspective. According to the expert, it is necessary to bet on technologies that are “clean, renewable, sustainable, and can be implemented quickly at low costs.”

The Minister of Industry, Jordi Hereu, highlighted Aragón’s commitment to renewable energies. “More than 80% of the energy generation in the region already comes from wind and solar energy, and this figure can reach up to one hundred percent in the generation of electric energy.” If the energy transition of all productive sectors is carried out, “more electricity will be needed, and Aragón can definitely provide it with a combination of solar and wind energy,” he affirmed.

The energy transition also requires a regulatory framework that provides legal certainty to both renewable energy companies and the industry that demands it. In this regard, the creation of a single European energy market has been one of the solutions proposed by the experts gathered to ensure industrial competitiveness in a context of major changes and geopolitical adversities. David Robinson warned that the current fragmentation hinders competitiveness on the international stage: “we are competing with the United States and China, which have a unified structure,” while the EU “has many capabilities but is fragmented.”

Looking ahead to the start of a new European cycle, Foro Industria y Energía, co-organizer of Foro Sella, is already working on a new edition of its major annual meeting FIE2024 in the fall. It will address the needs and initiatives that favor Europe’s reindustrialization, focusing on relocation with renewable energy as a hallmark of sustainability and competitive advantage.