Climate change is already a reality. According to the European Space Agency (ESA), the average temperature of the planet in the year 2021 was 0.27ºC higher than that of the period 1991-2020, and 0.64ºC higher if we compare it with the period 1981-2010. This climate change is not a small thing: it has a huge potential impact and the consequences of it, ranging from the melting of glaciers to the scarcity of drinking water or the increase in the frequency of extreme weather events, will inevitably affect us.
Currently, there is scientific consensus that the origin of this climate change lies in the increase in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions into the atmosphere as a result of human activity. And 90% of the main gases, which is CO2, comes from the energy sector, mostly from coal-fired power plants.
With the aim of trying to stop this situation, the Paris Agreement was signed in December 2015. This is a legally binding international treaty that establishes the global framework to combat climate change, and it entered into force in November 2016. Its final objective – which was updated at the end of 2021 at the COP26 held in Glasgow – is to prevent the average global temperature from increasing by more than 1.5ºC compared to pre-industrial levels by the end of the century. For this reason, it is crucial to reduce GHG emissions by 55% by 2050.
To achieve this goal, the main tool is the energy transition. This is used to define the necessary comprehensive transformation of the energy system from the current one, which is based on the burning of fossil fuels and intensive production in large installations connected to the grid, to a new one focused on the use of renewable energies, the electrification and the distributed generation.
The energy transition is a slow process as it implies a profound change; however, it has been already launched in many places, both in the processes of production and distribution of energy, and also in the way of consuming it.
At Genesal Energy we are one hundred percent committed to this structural change and our commitment is not theoretical, but practical. We do everything possible so that the measures which favor this transition are carried out as fast and efficient as possible.
Heading towards the energy transition
There are five strategic pillars in the energy transition:
1- Renewable energies and energy carriers
In order to cover the energy demand after the closure of the coal-fired power plants, the plan is to increase the weight of renewable energies in power generation as their production capacity is currently well above that exploited. But these sources are unmanageable, which means that it is not possible to control the generated energy at will. Therefore, to guarantee the security of the network, it is necessary to complement them with some technology that allows energy to be stored in order to gradually release it when necessary.
These technologies are known as energy vectors, and among the existing ones, hydrogen stands out more and more.
2- Natural gas
Getting to cover all the energy demand with renewable energies is going to be a slow and gradual process, which means that support alternatives are necessary in the meantime. In this context, natural gas becomes important. Although it is a fossil fuel, its CO2 emissions are 40-50% lower than those of coal, and 25-30% lower than those of fuel-oil, so that the replacement of these for gas allows a considerable reduction of GHG emissions.
Transport is not only the sector with the highest energy consumption in Spain, but also the least diversified in terms of energy source as it depends almost exclusively on oil derivatives. Besides, it is one of the largest pollutants of combustion gases in cities, greatly affecting air quality. Therefore, a sustainable mobility strategy is essential for the transition.
In this framework, a solution that stands out above the rest is the implementation of the electric vehicles. Among the advantages of this type of transport we can find the lack of direct CO2 emissions and the lower impact they have on the health of citizens as they do not emit combustion gases near them.
4- Digitization and energy efficiency
The energy digitalization in each and every one of the stages of the energy sector, (from energy production to its transport, distribution and final consumption) will help to improve the traditional way of doing business, as well as to give more value to the huge amount of information available, and to anticipate new trends.
For instance, approaches such as Big Data, artificial intelligence or the Internet of Things, based on data and autonomous learning algorithms, make it possible to monitor and manage the energy generation in various producing sources, which allows to find anomalies in real time and shorten repair times.
5- Circular economy
The current economic system is based on the linear model of extracting, producing, consuming, discarding; in which the products have a finite life cycle and therefore must be replaced after consumption, generating an enormous amount of waste. In contrast, the circular economy, based on the concepts of reduce, reuse and recycle, seeks long-term sustainability by reducing the volume of waste by keeping it in the production cycle for as long as possible. In summary, we can say that this approach seeks to achieve more with less.
Therefore, a change in the economic system towards the circular economy would allow not only the reduction of the environmental impact of waste when reused as new raw materials but would also imply improving the efficiency of production processes and a reduction in emissions associated with these.
Genesal Energy and the energy transition
Building an emission-neutral future is teamwork. We are all main characters in the change. At Genesal Energy we assume this commitment to the planet and the environment and consequently we have committed in our Energy Transition Plan to implement the developed strategy, in line with the United Nations SDG 13. It is based on three fundamental axes that are subdivided into a series of specific lines of action (L):
Complete the transition to a sustainable energy model
- L1. Reduce energy consumption in the company’s facilities and increase the use of renewables by installing a photovoltaic self-consumption system.
- L2. Reduce dependence on oil by promoting the transition from diesel to gas and applying a sustainable mobility strategy.
- L3. Increase energy efficiency in all areas of the company thanks to digitization.
Reduce carbon footprint
Move towards emissions neutrality, for which it is key to have a record of the emissions generated due to the development of the business activity. In this sense, Genesal Energy has already traveled part of the way: Scopes 1 and 2 of the Carbon Footprint have been calculated since 2019. This calculation will be improved by adding Scope 3, while continuing to work on reduction strategies and emission compensation.
Mainstreaming of climate action
- L5. Cooperate in the decoupling between economic growth and environmental impact by optimizing the use and reuse of outflows and waste.
- L6. Fight against energy poverty. Genesal Energy’s commitment to the transition encompasses all its dimensions, including the social one. Therefore, a plan to donate energy to those families in vulnerable situations is being studied.
- L7. Strengthen the commitment to education and outreach on climate change.