Is decarbonization possible?

Automotive decarbonization

This question has been asked by the members of the Mining Commission and the guests who have analyzed the proposal originated in the Lower House. The opinions will be received in the listening process that has already begun.

Since the Government set itself the goal of decarbonizing the energy matrix in the fight against climate change, the parliamentary community has focused on accelerating this process. In this context, the members of the Mining and Energy Committee are analyzing the bill that prohibits the installation and operation of coal-fired thermoelectric plants throughout the country by 2025, which is in its second stage.

The congressmen decided that the discussion will be carried out under the same format as in the general processing of the mining royalty project, that is to say, to carry out a long listening process that includes hearings and workshops where an extensive list of guests will take part.

The Minister of Mining and Energy, Juan Carlos Jobet, also took part in the sessions and gave his impression of the initiative, expressing the Executive’s support for ending coal-fired thermoelectric plants in the short term, provided that the electricity supply is not affected. In this sense, he pointed out that:

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Motor decarbonization

Apparently, in these fields it has only taken a couple of countries to take the initiative to put in place the kind of transformations needed to meet the Paris Agreement targets to keep global temperature rise well below 2˚C, with 1.5˚C being ideal, relative to pre-industrial levels.

These three countries have introduced strong wind and solar-related packages that have made clear to investors and developers the importance of investing in these new technologies. Key to this have been renewable energy recipients and financial support programs such as feed-in tariffs.

Next, we realized that The UK, Italy, China and the US states of Texas and California had encouraged mass manufacturing of solar power technology and had provided the kind of economies of scale resulting in a massive increase in renewable energy capacity globally. Between 2006 and 2015, global wind power capacity increased by 600% and solar power capacity increased by 3,500%.

What is decarbonization?

Decarbonization is the process of reducing carbon emissions, especially carbon dioxide (CO2), into the atmosphere. Its objective is to achieve a low-emission global economy that achieves climate neutrality through energy transition.

The regulatory environment is key to evolve, at the lowest possible cost, towards more efficient and emission-free energy carriers and end uses, leading to efficient decarbonization.

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Efficient decarbonization is one that achieves progress towards carbon neutrality at the lowest possible cost, enabling each energy end-use to reduce its emissions by using the most competitive alternative.

The first challenge of an efficient energy transition is to decarbonize as much as possible the electricity sector, the most favorable sector to achieve this immediately and competitively, thanks to the growing integration of renewable energies in its generation mix. It is expected to reach around 65% renewable electricity generation by 2030 and 85% by 2050, which requires certain actions:

Benefits of decarbonization

The fourth vice president and minister for Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera, said Monday that it is “impossible” to achieve the decarbonization of the energy system without “activating electrification to the maximum, which is the fundamental recipe”.

The minister participated today in the telematic presentation of the 2020 report of the Observatory of Energy Transition and Climate Action (OTEA) of the Basque Centre for Climate Change (BC3), a multidisciplinary scientific center for research on the climate crisis.

“We must not confuse people, decarbonization is not possible if we do not make maximum use of the solutions we already have today,” he said, referring to new technologies under development such as synthetic fuels and green hydrogen.

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With regard to the data in the OTEA report, some of which are already known because they are from other entities and what this observatory does is to group them together, he highlighted the increase in the share of renewables in the electricity mix in 2020, increasing by 12.8% and already representing 44% of the total, while coal will fall to 2%.