• The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain highlighted the role of energy as the “most cross-cutting of all existing” issues.
  • Those companies that are located in the region will be able to have access to renewable energies and their carbon footprint will be reduced by 80% and “in many cases by 100%”, the Minister stressed.

The 1st International Conference on Innovation in Energy Management in the Industry, held in Villanueva de Gállego (Zaragoza, Spain), concluded with a speech by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union, and Cooperation, José Manuel Albares. He emphasized that Spain is in a position for “authentic strategic energy autonomy.”

The Minister of Foreign Affairs congratulated the forum’s organizers for “bringing together many experts on this crucial topic”, considering energy “a cross-cutting issue, possibly the most transversal of all”. He stressed that the government has prioritized energy, deeming it “a State matter and a key element for competitiveness”.

Albares stated that, in terms of energy, the prevailing issue at the moment is national security, strongly influenced by “Vladimir Putin’s gas blackmail” and the imbalances and uncertainties that had to be faced due to that.

He praised Aragon as one of the most excellent regions, a spearhead, in renewable energies, not only in Spain but also in the EU. He highlighted that companies located in the region could have access to renewable energy, reducing their carbon footprint by 80% and, in many cases, 100%.

For the head of the Foreign Affairs “this can only be offered by Spain and with Aragon as a spearhead”. Furthermore, he asserted that “Spain is already in place, Aragon is already in place” and highlighted the “excellent interconnection” capacity of the region as an “energy bridge with the Basque Country, Catalonia and the Valencian Community”.

Technology, talent, sustainability and the future

The Vice President of the Government of Aragon, Mar Vaquero, who also participated in the event, painted a picture for the future of Aragon that will be supported by four pillars: “technology, talent, sustainability and the future of Spain”.

“We will continue, as we have done for centuries, to strengthen the concept of Aragon within Spain. We don’t want to be more than anyone else, but we don’t think we should be less. We are welcoming, we embrace any project. We will continue to demonstrate this in the fields of innovation, technology and energy. We are committed to reinforce without hinderance. We believe in an avant-garde, technological, sustainable Aragon of itself”, she stressed.

Energy, a challenge for all countries

Prior to the closing ceremony, a panel discussion was held, moderated by María López Palacín, manager of Grupo López Soriano, which dealt with the global challenge of the energy transition. The panel included the participation of Ingo Stender, Minister Counselor of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Spain; Yolanda García Mezquita, Head of Unit of TF2 of the Directorate General for Energy of the European Commission, and Javier Santacruz, analyst of international energy markets.

For García Mezquita, there needs to be greater stimulues to develop renewables, but not only wind or solar, but also others such as biogas, biomethane or green hydrogen. In her opinion, “we must bet on a wide range of renewable energies“, which will give a boost to industrial leadership. “The volatile and crazy prices we have had have caused enormous damage to our competitiveness”, she pointed out, also emphasizing the message that “everything has to be done at the European, national and regional levels”.

Finally, García Mezquita identified three challenges: financing needs and the promotion of private investment, administrative simplification and acceleration of implementation. She also recalled that the EU only represents 7% of global greenhouse gas emissions and that it is imperative that “other countries must follow this path of decarbonization”.

On his end, Ingo Stender also spoke of joining forces at the European level to “give us more speed” and also stressed that “we must involve everyone to counteract climate change. It must be an effort shared by as many countries as possible”.

The representative of the German embassy reflected on issues such as where the batteries for electric vehicles or semiconductors are going to be produced, which, according to him, pose challenges and risks. On the other hand, for Stender it is essential to “secure the chain and have reliable suppliers”.

Javier Santacruz provided a comprehensive analysis of the global energy sector. In his opinion, in addition to the EU fighting as a bloc against the United States or China for competitiveness, it is also necessary for Spain to do the same with the rest of the European countries. “We are at a disadvantage compared to other countries that are subsidizing. We have to restore State aid rules. In the last four years we have undermined the European Common Market,” he affirmed.

The 1st Inteernational Conference on Innovation in Energy Management in Industry was jointly organized by Foro Sella and Foro Industria y Energía, with the collaboration of the CEOE of Aragón, the Energy Cluster of Aragón and the University of Zaragoza.