enMADRID – The Spanish cabinet has approved the Energy Security Plan. This contains 73 measures in six large blocks to save up to 13% more gas and to protect the vulnerable against excessive energy costs.
The main aim is to protect the latter, consumers, especially the most vulnerable, to reduce gas consumption and to increase solidarity efforts with other European countries.
At the moment, and according to sources from the Ministry of Ecological Transition, these are the most important measures. And together they will save 5.1% to13.5% of the national demand for gas consumption between August this year to March 2023.
Protection for the vulnerable
In addition to the energy measures already taken, the cabinet wants to ensure that more people can make use of both the electrical and thermal allowances. The applied discount is increased to 65% and 80% respectively for beneficiaries who are considered vulnerable and severely vulnerable. And there will be a temporary new category of customer with a 40% discount on the bill for low-income working households, benefiting another 1.5 million families. The aim is to protect a larger part of the population with these measures.
Neighbourhood savings for central or block heating
The government also plans to provide a solution to those communities of residents who have communal boilers and therefore cannot benefit from the discounts offered by the gas tariff regulated by the TUR. Nor can they save anything by adjusting their behaviour.
According to government calculations, 1.7 million households live in this situation. Regulations will soon be approved to change this and also protect these people. The measure could halve the bill of these households.
Sunroofs and self-consumption
The government will increase financial support for own consumption by about €500 million. This mainly happens in autonomous regions where there is more demand. An extension to 500 metres will also be approved for the boundary where the production installation can be identified concerning the point of consumption.
Ministry sources are very pleased with the pace at which the number of self-consumption installations is growing in Spain. The country is expected to close in 2022 with 4.5 GW of connected installations. In addition, they also want to promote shared self-consumption. All these measures will be further elaborated on shortly.
Savings plans with governments and large companies
The cabinet will draw up an energy-saving plan to which all government services are obliged to adhere. For this, a platform is created where the measures of each autonomous community or city council are displayed. Each entity has until December 1 to submit its energy savings plan.
Likewise, the government wants major Spanish companies to join this plan. And, furthermore, to draw up and publicise their energy-saving plans and efficiency measures.
New, more transparent accounts
Another key measure in the plan is to make electricity and gas bills more transparent for customers. Consumers will also gain insight into how households in the same neighbourhood with a similar profile consume. Measures to put this into effect have yet to be approved.
The energy companies will have to make recommendations via the bills to consume less energy at home. These will be recorded in both electricity and gas bills. It is also the intention to approve the development of these regulations as soon as possible.
In addition to the announced VAT cuts on electricity and gas bills, the government is working to introduce a series of tax cuts for people whose actions and choices show that they are the most supportive of the energy transition.
For example, if you manage to save a certain amount of energy, or if you are going to install a heat pump instead of a gas boiler, you can take advantage of this.
Public financing for SMEs
Small and medium-sized companies that want to take energy-saving measures, replace their boiler or take some other action to reduce their energy consumption will be eligible for government funding.
More support for the industry
Another measure in the plan is more support for the industry. In principle, there are several measures involved. But these are the most important; the expansion of the ‘Strategic Project for Economic Recovery and Transformation of Renewable Energy, Renewable Hydrogen and Storage’ (Perte ERHA) with €1 billion.
Within this €1 billion package, the intention is to promote the Important Project of Common European Interest (IPCEI) on photovoltaic solar energy with the announced new solar panel factory. A new industry decarbonisation plan will also be approved and announced shortly.
More flexibility in electrical system planning
The government does not want to wait as long to update the Energy Planning of the Electricity System as it has done so far. That needs to become much more flexible because of the industry’s need for more flexibility. That is why the cabinet wants to start working on updating it in January.
More solidarity with the EU
Spain must help its European partners as much as possible in this energy crisis. That’s why the government is going to maximize all its energy infrastructures. In the case of gas, the virtual LNG gas pipeline between Barcelona and Livorno will increase exports to Italy by 3%.
In addition, the current gas capacity exported to France via VIP Pirineos will increase by 18%. Furthermore, it is planned to start the regasification plant in Gijón in early 2023. This will increase Spain’s capacity to export LNG ships to other European ports.