Ignacio Sánchez Galán: “We will increase investments to more than 10,000 million a year”

Ignacio Galán, president of Iberdrola, has been participating in the World Economic Forum held in Davos for years. The electricity company currently plans to make investments of 8,000 million a year until 2022, but as its president reveals in this interview, the intention of the first Spanish power company is to significantly reinforce its growth rate in both networks, as in renewable and storage to remain among the five largest global companies and meeting the decarbonization objectives set by the European Union.

The European Commission has just launched the Green Deal, will this money be enough? Do you think that green investments by national governments should be excluded from the deficit calculation?

Undoubtedly, the goal of “net zero carbon emissions” by the year 2050 set by the Green Deal will require substantial investments. Goldman Sachs estimates that the accumulated investment necessary to achieve this objective could amount to 7 billion euros, and a large part will go to the energy sector.

The most important thing is to ensure that the planned investments are mobilized by all the actors involved, in order to move towards those goals. Only then can we fight against climate change and air pollution. Achieving climate neutrality is possible, if we all do our part and move in the same direction.

What improvements do you consider necessary to move forward in the fight against climate change? Is a tax reform necessary? In what sense?

Nowadays we all pay for pollution. But it would be fair for those who pollute to pay. We would have to force them to do so. As the European Union is doing, demonstrating undoubted leadership, all countries have to promote the energy transition, which will provide them with greater technological development, a creation of superior employment and a healthier life.

In Spain, I consider it essential to continue with the Government's policies: approval of the Climate Change Law, of the 2030 and 2050 Energy Planning and of the fair transition strategy.

Likewise, actions must be implemented that expedite the processes and procedures necessary for the development of new renewable facilities and recharging points, and encourage investment in smart grids and storage. But also plans that develop sectoral plans to promote electrification, build a sustainable financing framework and establish a taxation based on the polluter pays principle, which signals the investment and consumption consistent with the previously defined goals.

How do you see Iberdrola internationally in the coming years? Which countries will be key and what are their plans?

The world needs more renewable energy, backed by increasingly intelligent and reliable power grids and increasingly efficient storage systems. And that is exactly what we are and will remain focused. In the last 20 years we have shown that our environmental commitment is good for the planet, but also for our shareholders and our employees.

At this time, for example, we are developing one of the largest offshore wind farms in Europe, East Anglia One, in the United Kingdom, and the largest photovoltaic in the continent, Núñez de Balboa, in Spain, while increasing our storage capacity by pumping in the Portuguese hydroelectric complex Támega. This facility will have a storage capacity of 20 million kWh – similar to that generated by 400,000 batteries of electric vehicles or 1.5 million batteries for residential use.

On a global level, we plan to increase our investments to a rate of more than 10,000 million euros a year in increasingly intelligent and reliable electricity networks, in new renewable capacity and in efficient storage. And this will allow us to continue consolidating ourselves as one of the 5 largest electric companies in the world and referents for our fight against climate change.

The investment opportunities in our main markets (Spain, United Kingdom, United States, Mexico and Brazil) are very large, but also in others in which we are developing our business such as Portugal, Italy, France, Germany, Greece, Australia, Hungary … We will give more details about our plans for the coming years on Investor Day, which we will celebrate in a few months.

Materializing the 2030 Agenda is not an issue that should be carried out in terms of parties. It is everyone's job.

Over the past two years, rumors of corporate operations in the US have been constant. and United Kingdom. Is Iberdrola looking for a purchase operation to strengthen itself in some market?

Although the organic opportunities in our current markets are very large, as I said, and that is the priority for us, it is our duty to be very attentive to good opportunities that may arise, both organic in other markets and corporate. For example, we have just announced our first wind and solar developments in Australia, where we already have a 600 MW project portfolio. We don't set a concrete goal. Iberdrola is the result of multiple mergers throughout its 120 years of history.

How do you rate the creation of a Vice President of Ecological Transition and the separation of it from the 2030 Agenda for the management of Podemos?

The creation of a Vice President of Ecological Transition is very positive because it gives it the importance that this tremendous challenge requires and facilitates the approval of transversal policies, which are very necessary to take advantage of the opportunities that it entails. It is a movement very similar to the one we have seen in the European Union with the creation of the vice presidency for the Green Deal. Materializing the 2030 Agenda is not an issue that should be carried out in terms of parties. It is everyone's job.

Although energy issues are fundamental, it covers many other subjects: gender equality, health, cities, industry, education …. So we understand that the creation of the 2030 Agenda responds to the will to bring together all actions that the Government promotes in each of these areas. Of course, Iberdrola will continue to support all the measures that serve to materialize the 2030 Agenda, as our Statutes pioneeringly indicate.

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