The Government approves a new ‘Energy Security Plan’ with measures to save more gas

The Government of Spain has brought to the Council of Ministers the so-called ‘Plan Más Seguridad Energética’ (‘More Energy Security Plan’) with which it is intended to promote saving measures for compliance with the European Commission, but also to set the agenda for the coming years. However, many of the proposals are awaiting regulatory developments and most of the proposals this plan will need several weeks to get underway in the best case. The government will also focus on how to show more solidarity with other European countries as well as greater protection for the vulnerable.

In the Council of Ministers, the government approved the so-called Plan + Energy Security, with the aim of protecting consumers, especially the most vulnerable, reducing gas consumption and increasing solidarity efforts with other European countries.

This plan contains no more and no less than 73 measures in six large blocks.

For the time being, and as far as sources at the Ministry for Ecological Transition have been able to tell, these are the main measures, which together will produce savings in gas consumption of between 5.1% and 13.5% of national demand, and only in the period from August this year to March 2023.

1.- Protection for the vulnerable

In addition to the measures already adopted, the government intends to provide greater coverage for both the electricity and thermal social bonus. It is not yet known in what terms and they hope to approve it as soon as possible. The aim is for the coverage of this measure to protect more and more of the population.

2.- Neighbourhood savings for community boilers

The Government intends to provide a solution for those neighbourhood communities that have community boilers and therefore cannot benefit from the discounts offered by the regulated gas tariff TUR.

According to government estimates, 1.6 million households live in this situation. The regulation is expected to be approved soon in order to implement this measure before the heaters are switched on.

3.- Solar roofs and self-consumption

The Government is going to increase grants for self-consumption by around 500 million euros to be distributed among the Autonomous Regions, especially where there is the greatest demand. It is also going to approve an increase to 500 metres for the limit where the generation installation can be established with respect to the point of consumption.

Ministry sources are very satisfied with the progress being made in the rate of installation of self-consumption in Spain, where it is expected to close in 2022 with 4.5 GW connected. In addition, they also want to promote shared self-consumption, creating the figure of the collective self-consumption manager. All these measures will be developed in the near future.

4.- Savings plans in the Administration and Large Businesses

The Government is going to establish an energy-saving plan to which all public administrations will be obliged to adhere. To this end, a platform will be created to reflect the measures adopted in each Autonomous Region or city council that sends the documentation to the Ministry. They have until 1 December to draw up their energy-saving plan.

The Government also intends to encourage large Spanish companies to join this plan and draw up their own plan for energy saving and efficiency measures and to publicise them. The aim is to publicise and publicise both the measures and the successes achieved with them.

5.- New, more transparent bills

Another of the plan’s star measures is that consumers will benefit from greater transparency in both electricity and gas bills. To this end, it is planned to approve as soon as possible how to inform domestic consumers about what other neighbours with a similar profile in your neighbourhood are consuming.

In addition, energy suppliers will be obliged to inform consumers on their bills of recommendations on how to consume less energy at home. All of this will be established in both electricity and gas bills, and the aim is to approve its regulatory development as soon as possible.

6.- Tax reductions

In addition to the already announced VAT reductions on electricity and gas bills, the Government is working on how to establish a series of tax reductions for those taxpayers who most promote the energy transition through their actions.

For example, if you manage to save a certain amount of energy you could benefit, or if you are going to install a heat pump instead of keeping your gas boiler, etc.

The Ministries of Energy and Finance are working together to approve these deductions as soon as possible and to encourage change and greater energy dependence.

7.-Public financing for SMEs

For those small and medium-sized companies that want to establish energy-saving measures, want to change their boilers, or take some other measure to reduce energy consumption, the Government will make available through the ICO the so-called Green KIT to finance this type of measures in the SME sector.

8.- More support for industry

This is another key measure of the plan, so that the industry feels the support. First, there are several measures, the most important of which are: extending the ERHA, renewables, green hydrogen and storage budget by 1 billion euros.

Within this 1 billion package, the IPCEI is to be boosted in the area of photovoltaic solar energy with the new solar panel factory announced.

In addition, a new Decarbonisation of Industry Permit will be approved, which is being finalised by the Ministry of Industry and will be announced soon.

9.- More flexibility in Electricity System Planning

The Government does not want to wait so long to update the Energy Planning of the Electricity System as has been the case until now. They want it to be much more flexible due to the needs of the sector and therefore want to start working on updating it as of next January.

10.- More solidarity with the EU

Spain must help its European partners as much as possible, which is why the government is going to maximise all its energy infrastructures. In the case of gas, the virtual LNG pipeline between Barcelona and Livorno will increase exports to Italy by 3%. It will also increase by 18% the current gas capacity exported to France through the VIP Pyrenees, and from the beginning of 2023, the Gijón regasification plant will be put into operation, which will increase Spain’s capacity to export LNG tankers to other European ports.

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