During a visit to the US last week, the Spanish Minister of Industry, Tourism and Trade, Miguel Sebastián, held a meeting in Washington with the Energy Secretary, Steven Chu. During the meeting, both discussed various aspects related to energy dependence, security of supply, energy efficiency and renewable energy.
One of the topics discussed was the mutual interest in developing the Energy Services Companies, or ESCOs, industry. The U.S. government is actively promoting this industry and wants it to play an even more important role in energy efficiency. In addition, Miguel Sebastián detailed the plans in place for the adoption of electric vehicles in Spain, a mode of transportation also backed by President Obama, who has set a goal of having a million plug-in hybrid vehicles on the road by 2015. Spain maintained its commitment to put in circulation a million electric cars by 2014.
Sebastian stressed the Spanish position in the global market for liquefied natural gas (LNG) a fuel which requires no pipelines connecting producer and consumer. Spain currently receives two thirds of its natural gas supplies through LNG tankers, as a way to diversify its sources of supply.
For his part, U.S. Secretary of Energy showed interest in the methods of CO2 sequestration and storage that are being used in Spain. In this sense, the Spanish minister elaborated about the projects implemented in the country, such as the pilot plant to be built in Compostilla (Leon).
At the same time, Sebastian conveyed to the U.S. secretary the willingness of Spain to cooperate and reach agreements with the U.S. on renewable energy issues and to help the stability of energy supply, a cooperation that would benefit both countries. Spain already has standing agreements of this sort with Russia, Morocco and Algeria. Finally, the Spanish Minister proposed the creation of a permanent working group to explore and identify areas of energy cooperation that will be launched in the coming months.
This group will exchange experiences in three key energy areas: solar, electric vehicles and biofuels. The Secretary of Energy and Nobel Laureate Stephen Chu, received this proposal favorably. Finally, the Spanish Minister cordially invited his U.S. counterpart to visit Spain to see for himself some of the landmark projects developed in Spain, such as the plants in operation using pioneering solar thermal energy storage methods.