EDPR opened its first plant in Spain in 1997. How would you describe the evolution of EDPR in the country, and what have been its main achievements?
EDPR is a global leader in the renewable energy sector and the world's third-largest wind energy producer. It is noteworthy that we are present in 15 countries with an installed capacity of more than 12GW, but our headquarters are in Spain. Our company is mainly focused on the development of renewable energy, and it aims to provide value both to its shareholders and to society. Nowadays the company is focused on wind onshore and off-shore, solar PV and hydrogen. In terms of business, we are very pleased with what we have achieved this year and the execution of our business plan has progressed satisfactorily.
How has the pandemic affected EDPR?
Throughout the Covid-19 crisis, EDPR has demonstrated that it has a solid business model based on sustainability principles and a strategic agenda that positions the company well to take advantage of the potential economic momentum towards green energy. It is clear that 2020 was a difficult year but our company reacted extremely well and our full-year results, with the highest net profit ever, proves this. On March 10, we decided all staff would be working remotely to reduce risks, and all the necessary security measures were taken. We could not stop working because we produce energy, so within about a month all protocols were established to ensure we could work in secure conditions. It was important to continue to follow the growth plan we had set out, and this was achieved in the end. Moreover, 2020 was an extremely intense year in terms of regulations so we tried to adapt, stay up to date, and follow the requirements. In fact, we were capable of building new generation. We started up the wind farm of Quintanilla II during COVID-19. We also managed to sustain the business plan that was scheduled to start at the end of March and ended in October. All our employees carried out excellent work under the new rules and we fulfilled our business plan as well as our budget for the year.
At the end of November 2020, EDPR began commissioning the Quintanilla II wind farm, with 10MW of power and the largest wind turbines in Spain. What does this project mean for EDPR?
The Quintanilla II wind farm in Burgos was not planned for 2020, but it has been the challenge of the year. In early 2020, we decided to make an effort to determine if we could start it up. The farm has three G137 wind turbines and each has 3.3MW of individual power. One of the major challenges was the transport of components. The assembly of machines was done during summer, in September we carried out the function testing, and in October we received the start-up documentation. It has been generating electricity since the end of the year for more than 10,000 families. It does not consume water, and we avoid CO2 emission. The objectives we set ourselves as a company have been more than fulfilled.
How has the hybrid system that sought synergies between an onshore wind farms and a solar energy installation evolved? What is the expected percentage of wind power?
From EDPR we always have to go slightly further in terms of innovation. We put together a pilot to try out the combination of wind and solar energy. It is worth noting that renewable energy is not constant throughout the day; we depend on the wind and the sun. We saw that wind and photovoltaic power complemented each other very well, and we decided to implement the project in Andalusia, at the Janda III facilities. The administration supported us in our endeavor, and we saw that it performed well. From that point on, we began to work hard with the administrations so that it could be put in place. Moreover, new legislation was obtained to regulate hybrid projects in Spain, and this can be seen in the possible law on Climate Change and Energy Transition. The ministry decided to support it through a Royal Decree on access and connection that was published at the end of the year and gave us the final push to do so. In the last auction of Spain, in which we participated and were the successful bidders of 143MW, four of the projects that won will be hybrid. It is an opportunity in terms of optimization in the use of the network and the reduction of the environmental impact. It is a tool that can ensure that the government's PNIEC objectives are achieved more quickly and efficiently. We hope to have them operating by 2023.
One of the main problems that the private sector faces is the slowness and complexity in obtaining permits, as well as the cost of the same. What is your vision regarding the ease of processes and permits?
In Spain, we have to comply regulations at a national, local and autonomous community level. Our projects are located in rural towns, which we see as key regarding the issue of “emptied Spain.” There must also be network access in order to obtain the access and connection permits, the development of evacuation works, and network connection. Administrations often do not have enough resources to deal with many requests. In this sense, there are investments pending to be reviewed, and they will be approved, but for various reasons it has not happened yet. This is a burden that could be minimized.
What are the main objectives of EDPR for 2021?
The main objective of EDPR is to grow in terms of wind onshore and offshore, photovoltaic and hydrogen. We secured long-term purchase contracts and more than 400MW in Spain. We were awarded with 143MW in the auction that allows us to consolidate our growth plan. We have covered and secured our business plan and want to continue growing. Our other objectives include meeting the project delivery plan and continuing to be leaders in renewable energy, always with the assistance of innovation and our employees.