The signed agreement focuses on the technologies applied both in the renewable energy sector and in energy efficiency and storage, fields with strong foundations in the Basque Country
The Basque Country and the state of Virginia (USA) have signed an agreement for mutual collaboration on the development and implementation of technologies applied to renewable energies, as well as energy efficiency and storage. This agreement, of vital importance for a sector that brings together more than 100 companies in the wind energy segment alone, generating more than 34,500 jobs and a global turnover in excess of 15,700 million euros, will enable Basque companies to participate in the main wind energy projects of this US state.
Furthermore, as reported by the Basque Government itself —through its transparency portal Irekia—, both institutions are committed to working together in areas such as wind energy, photovoltaics, smart grids and energy management, hydrogen and storage; sectors in which the Basque Country boasts companies with a recognised track record and world leadership. This is attested to by the fact that it is one of the few places in the world that covers the entire value chain of a wind farm, which is very attractive for the nascent offshore wind sector in the state of Virginia.
The agreement, signed on 24 August by the Basque Government’s Minister for Economic Development, Sustainability and the Environment, Arantxa Tapia, and the Secretary of Commerce and Trade of the state of Virginia, Brian Ball, identifies the following priority areas of work:
- Promoting the exchange of information, best practices and policy initiatives to support the development and regulation of technologies applied to renewable energy, energy efficiency and energy storage.
- Working to identify and analyse the challenges associated with financing and risk management in renewable energy installations, energy efficiency systems and energy storage facilities.
- Facilitating the transfer of technical know-how about electrical interconnection and grid integration of electricity generated from renewable energy installations.
- Sharing knowledge on a wide range of renewable energy issues, including the supply chain, consumption, grid integration interconnection, system planning to optimise the use of renewable energy installations, information on the advantages of renewable energy and strategies for achieving price reductions.
Basque industry is a born exporter of technology and products, and the major Basque companies in the wind energy sector are developing internationally. Recognition of the Basque Country is such that in 2019 it hosted the most important wind energy event in Europe, Wind Europe 2019, in which a total of 55 Basque firms took part, among a total of 400 companies from around the world. And the event will be held again in Bilbao in April 2022, thus reaffirming its support for the thriving Basque business network in the wind energy sector.
The capital goods industry, key to the strength of the Basque renewables sector
The Basque Country also has a powerful and innovative capital goods manufacturing and development industry which, with its knowledge and experience, underpins the renewables sector. Companies such as Ormazabal, with more than fifty years of experience, supply specialised solutions in the electricity sector anywhere in the world, adapting to the different needs of the sector depending on the country and demonstrating commitment to and involvement with its customers, partners, employees and society as a whole.
An example of this is Ormazabal’s recent development of a new solution for the coordinated control of smart transformers and distributed energy resources such as photovoltaic, wind, battery energy storage systems, flexible loads and electric vehicles. This solution, carried out within the ERIGrid research project, can reduce technical losses caused by reverse power flow and improve grid stability and compliance with grid codes when integrating a high share of renewable generation. This is just one example of the innovation strategy of this firm, which invests around 4% of its turnover in R&D every year.