Diego Rodriguez Rodriguez, Professor at Complutense University: “Nobody thinks we can live on renewable energy only today”

Faces of Green Transition (XXXVI)

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“It is very important that we are attentive to the potential barriers to self-consumption deployment”

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Between 2013 and 2017, Diego Rodriguez Rodriguez (1967, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria), held the position of director of the National Markets and Competition Commission. For some time now, his collaboration with various government departments has led him to participate in the Commission of Experts on Energy Transition Scenarios.

Now, from the Department of Applied Economics, Structure and History of the Faculty of Economic Sciences of the Complutense University of Madrid, he tries to make his students aware of the importance of acting relentlessly and to set an example for those who do not. .

The war in Ukraine has once again put energy saving measures in the mouth of the government. Are we going to drive at 100 km/h this summer?
This was a measure that was already proposed in the last crisis and I don’t know if it is on the table, but it would only affect consumption derived from oil and not gas. I think the important thing in this regard is to examine whether the remedy had significant effects first; We must evaluate its effectiveness with a high degree of accuracy.
And to wear a coat at home next year?
Energy saving measures by households can contribute to reduction in gas consumption. However, it is one thing for public authorities to propose it and another thing to make citizens aware and reduce their consumption. The second thing is that if there is a cut, then we will have to give gas ration.
And that could be the situation?
No one, to date, can firmly claim whether this will happen or not, so it is plausible. A few months ago we would have said that this was not on the table, but with the reductions some countries have experienced (Bulgaria, Poland…) it is a possibility with a relatively high degree of probability.
The former Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism approached you for advice, what were your most outstanding works?
I was cooperating in the field of the Commission of Experts on the Energy Transition Landscape, a commission that was created for us in 2017 to provide our vision on the changes that have been introduced from a regulatory perspective to face the transition process should go. Ecological with some guarantees.
They say that by legalizing the practices of fracking In Spain we will have gas to soften the situation
I believe that restrictions on the use of this modality should be maintained. We don’t know how much it could contribute in real terms, it could be a very small amount and it could have a significant environmental cost, I don’t think that’s on the table.
What do you understand by Self Consumption Boom?
It is very important that we are attentive to potential deployment constraints that may arise. Regulation should be treated in a neutral manner with respect to centralized production. It would be interesting to intensify the need for this in newly constructed buildings, something countries are already considering.
Would you dare to plate?
I have a house in a neighbors community, it is currently being discussed. You have to number.
How do you convince university students that countries like China must maintain sustainable practices while setting pollution records?
What I explain to my students is that we Europeans have a commitment to achieving a decarbonized economy and we should serve as a reference for the rest of the international community, even for countries like India or China. I try to get them to see how each individual’s actions can have a positive impact on society as a whole.
The day Europe turns green, there will still be five continents that will not. Will that effort be of any use?
There is global progress towards decarbonisation, but this does not mean that all regions of the world do so at the same pace, this is due to development reasons. Europe has an advantage, as its energy consumption is going to be lower. The picture is different in countries like India, where its energy requirement is still increasing; These countries present more difficulty than the European Union. This does not preclude the EU from assuming its responsibility, there are advantages to leading the process.
Is there a high level of competition in the power sector in Spain?
It has fallen and is going to fall very rapidly in the coming years. Competition has improved over time: when we look at the concentration indicators, they have dropped significantly. It is a capital-intensive sector with a lower concentration than other intensive sectors such as telecommunications. What is most worrying is that the level of competition in marketing has also improved but declined at a slow pace.
What do you think about the gas intervention designed by the government?
I share the opinion of the European regulator, the modus operandi is at the limit of acceptability. Nevertheless, I understand that this is a temporary procedure and is for an exceptional situation. I hope that we will have no unpleasant surprises when the subsidies paid to Spanish consumers with a separate contract are resolved.
Europe says regulated tariffs must be reformed.
I also believe that regulated tariffs have negatively contributed to the situation in Spain. This introduces good incentives in a general context, but outside of this it creates a strong concern about daily market movement. We have to stabilize it, include the index part of it in futures contracts, although now is not the best time. The EU seems to have made this a condition and I understand that the government is proposing a partial indexation of the regulated rate for future contracts.
You talk about the problems associated with nuclear shutdown planning in your academic articles. Should your deadline be extended?
There is no doubt that the nuclear park is going to be closed in the future, what should be discussed is the optimal closed route. Current expectations may change, either to reinforce the shutdown or to recommend further upgrades.
And can we live on renewable energy only?
Technically the answer is very simple, no one thinks that today we can only live on renewable energy. We also need energy, such as thermal or gas. can we work today? No, can we work in 2045? Let’s hope
Does Spain have a competitive advantage in green energy?
Objectively it is: the sun and wind hours conditions are very favorable. Besides, we have the availability of land.

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