Riding the Green Curve

(Estimated reading time: 5 minutes) – Audio version of article available.

We’re in crisis. There, we said it. Now, let’s look for solutions. Solutions for economic reactivation and solutions for climate change.

The good news is that mitigating and adapting to climate change creates both economic and environmental wealth. This is why the European Union has once again taken the stance, after the situation with COVID19, in favour of driving a green and digital economy (European Commission, 2020). Moreover, encouraging green employment is based on a reality with specific examples and specific companies, giving work to specific people and strong competency in their respective productive sectors. 

There are several lines of action leading the range of solutions for climate change. Let’s take a look at the three most noteworthy.

1. Decentralised solar power. Companies specialised in self-supply solar energy installations are classified under the one thousand fastest-growing European companies. Because in Spain we have much sun, and we have great experience obtaining energy from it, we must take advantage to generate renewable energy and gradually reduce our dependency on oil and the great associated costs seen in Spain’s trade balance. The ever-lower costs of technology and regulatory changes have led self-supply to a stage of huge growth. In 2019, 459 MW of new solar power for self-supply were reached, double the power installed in 2018 (UNEF, 2020).

2. The environmental internet of things. There are currently multiple companies that design and manufacture technology to connect the physical world to the digital world by means of wireless sensor networks. This is known as IoT technology (Internet of Things). Its environmental applications take on many different forms, such as air quality monitoring systems or smart irrigation. Regarding irrigation, remember that in Spain, 70% of water consumption comes from agriculture (Fundación Canal-IMDEA Agua, 2017), so systems of this type play a highly important role in an area with rising temperatures due to global warming.

3. Transport electrification. Why is transport electrification, both for private and for public transport, interesting? For several reasons. Firstly, because transport in Spain is the sector that contributes the most to greenhouse gas emissions ( MTERD, 2019 ), specifically at 27%. In fact, as renewable electricity generation continues to penetrate the electricity offer, electric vehicles will progressively shore up their emissions-reduction capacity.  Secondly, because electric transport technology is making leaps and bounds toward greater affordability, and its performance in terms of autonomy is increasing (International Energy Agency, 2019), which means it can now compete with its fuel-powered counterparts on multiple markets, such as California and Norway. Finally, because the automobile sector in Spain employs 9% of the active population ( ANFAC, 2020), and the current economic-health crisis is most likely a great opportunity to redirect talent from the sector toward the present and future of electric transport.  

It is also important to point out that all the aforementioned initiatives simultaneously incorporate 2 key variables: the environment and technology. In the process, they are creating jobs, all of them riding the curve of wealth and the environment: the green curve.

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