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Palabras de S.M. el Rey en la Inauguración del “Windeurope Conference & Exhibition 2019”

Bilbao Exhibition Centre. Barakaldo (Bizkaia), 02.04.2019

Me alegra mucho venir a Bilbao a esta nueva edición de WindEurope Conference & Exhibition. Por un lado, porque venir a esta querida ciudad vasca, capital vizcaína, es siempre un motivo para alegrarse. Pero también, especialmente en este caso, porque nos congrega aquí a todos una conferencia muy importante y muy oportuna. Vivimos en España, en Europa y muchas partes del mundo, un momento clave en lo que se refiere a la tendencia de la transición energética hacia las energías renovables: Clave por la urgencia objetiva desde el punto de vista tanto de la necesidad de seguir combatiendo la contaminación atmosférica y de reducir su impacto en el clima, en medio ambiente y, por tanto, en la salud y el bienestar de las personas, como también por la sensibilidad que aumenta y se extiende a todos los niveles. Ambos requieren cada vez mayor capacidad de respuesta y de acción conjunta.

Y quiero decir que me parece muy oportuno que la industria eólica europea se reúna en España, un país que durante mucho tiempo ha estado a la vanguardia de la energía eólica y cuyo autor literario más universal, Miguel de Cervantes, hizo de los molinos de viento un icono lleno de significados para muchas civilizaciones. Con la evocación de este símbolo, que asocia cultura, historia y valores universales, sean todos muy bienvenidos a nuestro país.

It is so highly fitting that the European wind industry should meet here in Spain, a country which for many years has been a leader in wind energy, and whose most universal writer, Miguel de Cervantes, transformed Don Quixote’s windmill into a true icon filled with meaning for many civilizations. By evoking this symbol, which brings together culture, history, and universal values, I would like to welcome all of you to our country. It is a real pleasure and an honour to do so.

Allow me to share just a few more remarks at this opening ceremony. First, to highlight today the conclusions of the Global Environment Outlook (GEO), presented recently at the United Nations Environment Assembly, in March.

These conclusions are very alarming. Ensuring the quality and availability of water, addressing global warming, reducing marine pollution, and putting the brakes on the loss of entire species —the loss of biodiversity— are just some of the issues that require our immediate attention. This is why the United Nations is calling for the adoption of urgent measures —on an unprecedented scale— to halt and to reverse this situation, for the purpose of protecting the environment and, hence, human health.

Therefore, the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and its renowned Goals constitute a benchmark, an indispensable action guide for governments and all actors across the globe. This means that all of you here today represent part of the best response we can offer in the face of these existential challenges.

"...vivimos en España, en Europa y muchas partes del mundo, un momento clave en lo que se refiere a la tendencia de la transición energética hacia las energías renovables: Clave por la urgencia objetiva desde el punto de vista tanto de la necesidad de seguir combatiendo la contaminación atmosférica y de reducir su impacto en el clima, en medio ambiente y, por tanto, en la salud y el bienestar de las personas, como también por la sensibilidad que aumenta y se extiende a todos los niveles. Ambos requieren cada vez mayor capacidad de respuesta y de acción conjunta..."

Indeed, energy transition is a critical vector of change; one that not only allows access to energy at affordable prices, but that also brings with it many opportunities in business, technology, and employment. This transformation of the international energy system, already underway, is ─to a large extent─ a response drawn from technology and the economy to the challenge of climate change.

In this framework, wind power has many advantages. It is indisputably one of the key sources of energy, and it is obvious that wind power is already transforming Spain, and Europe.

That Spain exports wind technology is a well-known fact, a sector with a significant value chain, in which research and development have placed us 3rd among European nations in terms of the number of wind patents. Wind energy was Spain’s second-largest source of electricity generation in 2018, and today we rank 5th worldwide in terms of installed wind power capacity.

For so many reasons, some of which I have already mentioned, energy transition truly represents a remarkable opportunity. In our case, Spain may well have the greatest renewable energy potential in the EU. It has a geography of 50 million hectares (including vast areas that are sparsely populated). It has both Mediterranean and Atlantic winds, high levels of sunshine, large forests, and notable hydraulic resources. Lastly, a dense network of businesses and centres of technology, innovation, and knowledge complement these natural features.

Spain is home to some of the companies that, over the past decade, have been most prominent in the transformation and transition of the electricity sector worldwide. Our country houses a number of institutions that are true pioneers in this area, together with knowledge and research centres, technological networks, and a major industrial infrastructure in the sphere of renewable energies.

All of which allows me to say quite frankly that we should feel proud of these achievements, however not content. It may be so that many countries in the world look over to Spain as a standard-setter of how to integrate renewable energies into the electricity networks, but we should not stop pushing even further in this and other areas, to stay at the forefront of this global transformation. I am also proud to say that, within Spain, the Basque Country represents a clear and forward example of successful energy transition, with a particular focus on wind power.

Ladies and gentlemen,
According to the reports from a number of international institutions, energy transition is not only indispensable to address climate change; it is also bears a clear benefit to the economy and to society, since there is a large number of jobs associated with the development of renewable technologies. Consequently, it is always crucial to find proper collaboration between the power companies and those institutions that can provide with adequate funding.

The international energy transition is already underway, and the wind industry has a key role to play in it. I am certain that this WindEurope Conference & Exhibition will have a lot to say and to contribute, and that is why I wish you every success at this event and at all of WindEurope’s future conferences.

Thank you very much, eskerrik asko, muchas gracias.

Itzuli Hitzaldiak atalera
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