• The transformation of the energy model will bring about an increasingly strong focus on efficiency in a sustainable model that imposes a reduction in overall demand.
  • Access to renewable energy will alter the location and design of businesses, and, in this process, innovation, technology, and data analysis will play a crucial role.
  • To achieve an integrated model of green energy, competitive for all sectors, an expansion of electrical networks and investments is required so that renewable energy becomes manageable and can be transferred from one region to another.

Madrid/Villanueva de Gállego (Zaragoza, Spain), January 9, 2024-The evolution of the energy model towards a decarbonized and renewable-based system will bring about a profound transformation of the economic model, with some trends already emerging: a push for efficiency in both energy and processes, and an increased prominence of ICT and data centers.

This is stated in the Findings Report of Foro Sella: Industry, Data, and Energy, published this morning. The report analyzes the challenges and effects of the ecological transition on the economy, the pending tasks to achieve full decarbonization, and the industry’s needs to face the process. As Miguel Marzo, the president of CEOE Aragon, affirms, “the industry needs an energy system that guarantees supply security at a competitive price and is renewable.” Energy thus becomes a cross-cutting resource and “a matter of State for Spain and the 27 members of the EU,” according to the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, José Manuel Albares.

As Jorge Azcón, President of the Government of Aragon, pointed out, “it is evident that we are facing a new energy model linked to electricity. The debate will be what projection it will have on the economic model.” The report indicates that access to energy is a key vector that will generate changes in issues such as where companies are located, how they are designed, or how they work. In this process, innovation, technology, and, within this, data centers will have a fundamental role. Manuel Giménez, Executive Director of the Data Centers Association, SpainDC, emphasizes, “economic and ecological transformation passes through Data Centers, so it is important to minimize their energy consumption as much as possible.”

The document explains that the transformation of the energy system will involve an increasingly strong focus on efficiency, as the sustainability of the system imposes a reduction in global demand, which involves optimizing production processes and energy consumption. In the words of Mike Berners-Lee, a professor at Lancaster University and author of the book There is no planet B, “all available renewable energy will not be enough unless it contributes to reducing the demand for fossil fuels, as well as demand in general.”

Pending Challenges

To undertake the ecological transition process, the report points out the need for an increase in the consumption of renewable energies, identifying some pending challenges: a favorable regulatory framework and the transformation of the centralized electrical generation system into a distributed model, requiring a strengthening of the networks.

The report notes that this model change requires transforming the current radial network into a meshed network, highlighting that an integrated model of green and competitive energy for all sectors requires an expansion of electrical networks. As Fernando Samper García, Director of Wind and Solar Development at Forestalia, emphasizes, “an investment without limitations is necessary for renewable energy to become manageable and allow the transfer of energy from one region to another, as well as connecting supply and demand in rural areas, where electrical availability is more complex.”

In this new distributed energy model, the report warns that not all regions will be equal, so it is highly likely that the industry will move towards those that generate energy for reasons of efficiency. In this scenario, the report identifies Aragón as a key location for the energy transition, as, due to its richness in sun and wind, it can provide continuity in the supply of renewable energy. Additionally, the report points out its excellent interconnection capacity, allowing it to establish itself as an energy bridge with the Basque Country, Catalonia, or the Valencian Community.

The report also includes experiences of best practices in Aragón by companies such as Saica, BSH, Stellantis, and Amazon Web Services. According to David Blázquez, Head of Infrastructure, Energy, and Sustainability Policies at Amazon Web Services, the company addresses the ecological transition through two avenues: efficiency and the transition to clean energy sources, of which they are the largest corporate buyer in Spain, Europe, and the world.

Download the full report in Spanish and in English.