“The electrification as a recovery engine in the post-COVID era” by Jorge González, CEO at Ormazabal

Electric Vehicle, Renewables, Smart Grid

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The Commission and the European Parliament are sending undeniable Messages that the Green Deal and its key target of “green energy for all Europeans” is still in force. In addition, the Spanish Government has addressed to the European Commission a new version of the National Energy & Climate Action Plan and to the Spanish Parliament a draft Climate Change Law. Both pieces of legislation are decidedly ambitious to fight against the climate change relying in the electrification and the decarbonisation of the economy.

The signs are positive, Europe, and Spain with it, understand that an electrification strategy of the economy sustained in a clearly renewable generation mix it is the only way to the solution. The objective has not changed: by 2050 we can and must have a net decarbonised economy; and that means electrified.

The economic recovery after the COVID crisis can only come with massive investments to protect and create qualified and quality jobs; supporting all regions of Europe without exception, to their companies and sectors after having suffered this unexpected and sudden stoppage of the economy.

Jorge González, CEO at Ormazabal

It is time to start rebuilding. It will be essential to encourage investment in those segments that are able to trigger new economic models without giving up climate and energy targets. The transition to a carbon neutral climate-friendly economy should be based on the use of renewable resources. That leads undoubtedly to transfer the entire economy to the only energy vector capable of sustaining itself only in ecologically neutral sources: the electricity vector.

The European transport sector is not only one of the biggest carbon sources but a high pollutant as well. The Green Deal and their climate targets implies the electrification of transportation. That means several subsectors, but here I want to focus on the on road transport and in particular the Electric Vehicle.

Electric Vehicle and the electrification of the society: an economic recovery opportunity

10 years ago, the full electric vehicles were just prototypes, but today they are a reality in continuous evolution not only in terms of the technology involved but in use and business models as well.

Unfortunately, the market share of the EV is still very low. The citizens in general are not convinced of the advantages of the EVs. There are several “marketing reasons” for that, but probably the most important is the “range anxiety”. We are used to combustion engines that just need fuel that can get at a petrol station round the corner. The only way to promote practically the use of the EV is to deploy a strong European network of fast and ultra-fast charging stations.

In the long-term, the use and business models will evolve towards shared and autonomous systems. That drives into huge CAPEX investments in car sharing fleets that can only be amortized with high level of use of the cars (300 miles/day?). That can only be handle with an intensive fast and ultra-fast charging system.

The domestic and slow charging system is necessary, but it is just the pick of the iceberg of the charging infrastructure network.

In this precise moment, there is an opportunity to push actively towards the definition of more ambitious targets in terms of high capacity charging points through the public consultation concerning the revision of the Directive 2014/94/EU on the Deployment of Alternative Fuels Infrastructure. More demanding European objectives will drive to more penetration of the EV.

However, the electricity network must be prepared accordingly. It is not an issue that we do not have a good network; it is an issue of preparing it for the new scenario due to three reasons:

  1. A clean electrical system must be based on renewable generation sources; and, whether we want it or not, renewable sources are intermittent and impossible to control regarding their intensity, simultaneity and availability.
  2. On the other hand, because of that unpredictability from the renewable source, the only way to balance and stabilize the system is to use storage systems of any type but fundamentally in the form of batteries embedded in all the voltage levels of the network and hydro pumping.
  3. Finally, the new uses of electricity as the electric vehicle charging, intelligent heating and cooling systems, home automation or connected reversible self-consumption, are more demanding than the conventional consumptions. They put extra stress on the network in terms of its parameters (voltage and frequency), demand instant price signals and they even challenge the paradigm of the conventional one-way flow of the electric power.

Because of those three reasons, we must foster the network investments in two directions:

  1. First is the reinforcement of the network. The new type of consumptions such as the electric vehicle charging infrastructure means more power to deliver more energy.
  2. Second and even more critical is to make it smarter and automatized. The entire distribution network, both Medium and High Voltage, must be progressively automated and equipped with the communication, control, monitoring and self-regulation infrastructures. In other words, we must, in short, digitalize the distribution network.

The European (and Spanish) complete electricity system, transport and distribution operators, technology providers and its entire value chain and suppliers of smart solutions and systems, has the potential to generate skilled employment y and sustainable economic growth improving the energy mix towards decarbonization. This sector can be powerful engine to invigorate the economy in the post COVID era, and the electrification will be the key.

About Jorge González

Jorge González is Ormazabal CEO since April 2013, although he has been working in Velatia for 20years, in different companies of the group and with different responsabilities: engineer, business unit manager and later Managing Director of Polsa, Aislantes Sólidos, Uniblok and Ormazabal as General Manager for the regions of Europe and Africa.

Jorge González is Ormazabal CEO since April 2013, although he has been working in Velatia for 20 years, in different companies of the group and with different responsabilities: engineer, business unit manager and later Managing Director of Polsa, Aislantes Sólidos, Uniblok and Ormazabal as General Manager for the regions of Europe and Africa.

Ormazabal is a company specialized in the electric sector and focused on innovation. It was founded in 1967 and has a workforce of 2,300 people, a worldwide presence in moren that 100 cities and industrial facilities in 5 continents.

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