Gran Canaria local government opens a participatory process for the 2040 Energy Transition Agenda

The president of the Cabildo of Gran Canaria assures that the objective is “to make life on the Island more sustainable, reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and promoting the use of renewable energy sources.”

Gran Canaria local government opens a participatory process for the 2040 Energy Transition Agenda

Councilor Raúl García Brink announces the beginning of the citizen participation process aimed at completing the document, in order to have a collective vision towards a more sustainable energy future He demands the involvement of all the islands and warns that “we will not have excess energy, so each of the island territories must comply with the obligations that correspond to them.”

On May 21st, the president of the Cabildo of Gran Canaria, Antonio Morales, presented  to the island society the draft of the Energy Transition Agenda of Gran Canaria 2040, prepared by the Energy Agency directed by Raúl García Brink, and announced the beginning of the citizen participation process for the creation of the definitive document, with which, in his words, the insular Corporation “is taking a significant step towards a more sustainable and self-sufficient future”, with the clear objective of “make life on the Island more sustainable, reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and promoting the use of renewable energy sources.”

In fact, President Morales emphasized that this Agenda “is very relevant in the current context, to address climate change and comply with international, European and state commitments,” and assured that, “by presenting it and debating it with society Gran Canaria civil society, we want to create a collective vision towards a more sustainable energy future, with clear objectives and viable strategies to achieve them.” 

Likewise, he emphasized the close relationship that exists between the eco-island project, which seeks to turn Gran Canaria into a benchmark for sustainability and environmental resilience, and the proposal of the Energy Transition Agenda for 2030 and 2040.  

Thus, he considered that its implementation “is a crucial step towards realizing the eco-island vision, since it provides a clear and concrete roadmap to achieve the objectives of climate neutrality and energy self-sufficiency by the year 2040”, and referred to that it is a living document, which will be reviewed and updated when necessary.

In this regard, he maintained that energy sovereignty is one of the bases that support the work of the current Government of the Island, one of the fundamental transversal axes of its action. “This Cabildo has committed to meeting the objectives of achieving one hundred percent clean energy in Gran Canaria and is the first local administration of the Archipelago to launch an agenda to analyze the situation and set the objectives to achieve in the year 2030, more than 60%, according to the various scenarios, and almost that one hundred percent, in 2040,” he predicted. 

He also highlighted that this Agenda is closely aligned with climate objectives at both the European, state and regional levels. “This implies that its development is framed in a broader context of international commitment to address climate change and promote the transition towards a more sustainable and resilient energy model,” he stressed.

In fact, he stated that the document takes into account the current social, environmental and energy context, and highlights the importance of preserving the natural and cultural environment of Gran Canaria, in addition to showing the social and political commitment towards an energy model based on renewables. And, similarly, it highlights the need to guarantee energy sovereignty and improve the health of the population, places Gran Canaria as an innovative laboratory for the development of renewable technologies, emphasizes efforts to improve climate resilience and promote the low-carbon economy. carbon, and presents the previous Energy Diagnosis (2022), as a base document for its creation.

For his part, the Councillor of Environment, Climate, Energy and Knowledge, Raúl García Brink, pointed out that “this draft, which is an open document where contributions from interested agents (companies, operators, social organizations) who will be able to work with experts on the subject and citizen participation to draw conclusions that enrich the document, so that it is a consensus document in which all parties interested in the energy transition towards a decarbonized future of Gran Canaria can also contribute their grain of support sand.”

Wind energy, photovoltaic, self-consumption and involvement of all the islands

Antonio Morales was accompanied at the event by the Minister of Territorial Policy and Landscape, Inés Miranda; and the counselors, and of the Primary Sector, Food Sovereignty and Water, Miguel Hidalgo, together with the director of R&D&i of the Tecnoló Institute gico of the Canary Islands, Gonzalo Piernavieja, and representatives of renewable energy companies and social entities on the Island, in addition to the researchers Beatriz del Río Gamero and Pablo Yánez Rosales, who are part of the Renewable Energy Group of the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, whose collaboration Morales himself considered key to the execution of this project.

As the leader of the Gran Canaria Executive explained in his speech, “we present a live agenda for the participation of all sectors, but with an accurate analysis of where we have to move forward,” he stressed. “We must move forward with a clean energy mix that includes wind, marine, terrestrial wind, photovoltaic, and self-consumption. And we are also promoting and will begin work in the coming days with geothermal energy and from there, hydrogen, ammonia and other renewable fuels that will also allow us to cover the transportation demand on the Island.”

Therefore, he stated that “we are facing real assumptions, objectively sized, to draw up that roadmap that will allow us in 2030, and even more so with the operation of Salto de Chira, to surpass and reach almost that 70% of renewable energy for Gran Canaria.”

In this regard, he insisted on the need to join forces to move the project forward. “We set the objective, but taking into account that here we have to add everyone, the public initiative and the private initiative, and the fundamental investments in offshore wind will be private. In storage, at this time, the fundamental investments are public in Salto de Chira or in upcoming storages that we will announce and that are also public,” he specified. “That is, it is the sum of public and private efforts, public investments and private investments, that will allow these objectives to be achieved.”

In this sense, he explained that, on the one hand, the Agenda will be debated in two large groups with interested agents from Gran Canaria: social organizations, installation companies, producers and operators of the system, associations, the ULPGC and the technology centers, among others. And, on the other hand, the citizen participation process will also be launched through the Cabildo website, where you can access the complete document, the executive summary and a easy reading. 

At this point, he highlighted that Gran Canaria’s commitment in this regard is clear and transparent, and emphasized that each of the islands must comply with the decarbonization objectives set at the European, state and regional levels.

“We have been governing the Cabildo of Gran Canaria for more than eight years. In this short space of time, the energy scenario has changed. We have left the era of fossil fuels and entered the era of renewable energy. The energy transition is happening throughout Europe and also in the archipelago and in Gran Canaria,” he stated. “Now, we must stay the course. Let us keep our sights firmly fixed on our objectives. This is the key to a healthier planet and Island, more affordable prices and our long-term energy sovereignty,” he reflected.

Concretion of the energy demand of the Island and the actions to cover it

Regarding the values that support the Agenda, the president of Gran Canaria highlighted that they are focused on emphasizing innovation in the development of renewable technologies, highlighting the importance of guaranteeing security of supply, underlining landscape integration and environmental sustainability, and show commitment to citizen participation in the energy transition process.

“We intend to significantly increase the presence of wind energy on land and at sea, as well as increase the production of photovoltaic energy and promote self-consumption” he insisted. “In addition, we plan to boost large-scale storage, through pumped hydro and electrochemical batteries, electrify transportation and other sectors, and improve energy efficiency in general.”

And, as he highlighted, the document works in parallel with three main axes. The first is based on the forecast of electricity demand that must be covered in 2030 and 2040. And, on the other hand, the renewable potential available to the Island is identified, through geographic information systems, with which it has been specified the capacity that Gran Canaria has to produce clean energy through solar photovoltaic, onshore wind and offshore wind technology.

“New potential areas are proposed, analyzing the possibility of repowering in those that currently already have renewable deployment and prioritizing currently anthropized surfaces, to maintain energy sustainability,” he declared.

In addition, he pointed out that various scenarios are proposed that analyze different paths to achieve carbon neutrality in 2040. And, to achieve this, a roadmap has been prepared that contemplates different potential scenarios in 2030 and 2040. “These scenarios will vary, depending of the degree of contribution of each of the renewable technologies studied and the use of different storage systems, betting on hydropumping plants and batteries, as the main allies in the management of the system, and proposing the production of hydrogen using the renewable surplus. This surplus can serve as an energy vector in the transportation sector and as clean fuel for thermal generation groups,” he explained.

He also showed that, in terms of renewable potential, the combination of the technologies analyzed presents a capacity greater than that necessary in both time horizons. “Solar photovoltaic technology could cover energy needs, using only types of soil that are already being used by man, and terrestrial and offshore wind technology is presented as an ally in the larger-scale deployment of renewables on an island like Great Britain. Canaria”, he commented, adding that, “except for the first, all the scenarios consider the Salto de Chira hydropumping to be already in operation.”

Finally, he elaborated on the importance of storage, “because it will make us more independent from technologies based on fossil fuels, in addition to opening the possibility of revising downward the forecast of fossil power to be installed in the tender for the renovation of power generation plants. energy,” he concluded.

For her part, researcher Beatriz del Río Gamero expanded on these considerations, observing that, in the scenarios being handled, the two main technologies would be photovoltaic solar energy and wind energy, perhaps being the main ally of large-scale deployment offshore wind. 

“We did not want to limit ourselves to a single scenario, that is why the Agenda proposes different configurations, but perhaps, in the best of cases, we talk about the three technologies, offshore wind, onshore wind and solar photovoltaic, being distributed in terms of installed power, and as for that power, it roughly translates to 305 megawatts of onshore wind technology, 200 megawatts of solar photovoltaic and about 325 megawatts of solar photovoltaic. That is what is needed so that, in the 2030 time horizon, Gran Canaria manages to achieve 60% demand coverage from renewable energies,” she concluded.