Wednesday, October 20

The Balearic Islands advances in the democratization of energy to lower the price of electricity

Since last January, with the storm Filomena, electricity broke historical records, we have witnessed continuous increases in the bill, especially in recent weeks. The recurring justification is that we are facing a kind of “perfect storm”: the accumulation of a series of factors such as high demand, the price of CO₂ emissions and the functioning of the market, among others, has caused this spiral of increases .

However, this “perfect storm” should at no time serve to hide root problems in the Spanish electricity market. A system where three large multinational companies dominate practically the entire market, causing a functioning more typical of the oligopoly than of the free competitive market that they want to pretend. Some companies that, despite the fact that energy demand has fallen in the last year, have achieved greater profits exceeding 6,000 million euros. If energy were truly considered a basic commodity, and not a market good, this level of profit would have no place. A sector that is also full of revolving doors placing former presidents and ministers such as Aznar or Soria, who have been repeatedly fined for manipulating the price of electricity or who are being the object of speculation by funds based in tax havens.

From Unidos Podemos we have been insisting for a long time to the government partners on the need to take courageous measures to tackle the root of the problem. Measures that aim to protect consumers and guarantee that electricity is treated as a basic good of first necessity. In our training we have proposals both at a state and regional level, and those that are within our competence we execute as we are doing from the Government of the Balearic Islands where we carry the energy policy of the archipelago.

As soon as the legislature began, we launched the Balearic Energy Institute (IBE), the public energy company provided for in our Climate Change and Energy Transition Law. The IBE is the executive arm of the Government for renewable energy projects and next year will become the first public marketer, at the regional level, of the State. And before the end of this year, the first shared self-consumption projects promoted by the Government will come into operation, which will supply energy at cost, green and zero kilometer prices to vulnerable families and SMEs. With the arrival of European funds, by 2022 we plan to go from 6 projects to 35, thus reaching more and more towns and neighborhoods on the islands, thus allowing the most vulnerable to lower their bills. In addition, the IBE promotes all projects in urban spaces without the need to consume rustic land in a finite and limited territory such as our islands.

From the Balearic Islands we are thus advancing towards a decentralization of electricity generation, because precisely the concentration in a few hands is one of the roots of the problem. We promote and encourage the entry of new energy producers, thus democratizing their generation and establishing requirements for projects so that more and more individuals and small local investors are part of this energy transition. Because this transition cannot be left in the hands of large companies, but must be socially fair, inclusive and participatory. To ensure that this is the case, a public energy company is necessary. At the regional level we are already launching it and we want this experience to serve as an example to be replicated in other territories and at the state level.

In the next decade, the State will recover some thirty hydroelectric plants whose concession ends over the years. This would be a great opportunity for them to become managed by a public state energy company, a trend that is also deeply rooted throughout different countries such as France, Sweden or even the US A company, which together with substantial reforms of the electricity market, will contribute to lower the price of electricity and fight against energy poverty of the most vulnerable groups.

In 2015 Rajoy imposed the tax on the sun, hindering the development of renewable and self-consumption projects. Just 6 years later, the energy transition is today one of the pillars of reconstruction and economic diversification. The commitment to renewable energy is the best tool to lower the price of electricity, but we have to be vigilant and ensure that it is done in a fair, inclusive and participatory way, with the aim that this time energy is considered a good of first necesity. For this reason, a public state energy company is more necessary than ever, a tool that will allow the State to participate in the production of a basic good such as electricity. From the Balearic Islands we have a fundamental role in this change, but it is necessary that it be accompanied by state measures to jointly improve the well-being of citizens and guarantee their access to increasingly green energy at an affordable price.