Interview: Francisco Olarreaga, Head of Iberdrola's Institutional Delegation for the Basque Country
Interview with Francisco Olarreaga, Head of Iberdrola’s Institutional Delegation for the Basque Country
What lessons can you draw from your partnership with Udalsarea’s Basque Observatory for Local Sustainability?
Energy consumption is a key indicator of socio-economic development and the success of sustainability and climate change policies. Public authorities need an overview of the socio-economic system in which they are operating and trends within that system.
Increasingly, all tiers of government are working to encourage sustainability within their specific area of operations, from state government down to regional and local authorities.
Many Basque municipalities are working on initiatives such as Local Agenda 21, the Covenant of Mayors and the “Compact of Mayors” (the covenant of mayors against climate change).
As a result, public authorities are increasingly looking for information on energy consumption. We are aware of how important this information is for them in monitoring their policies in these areas and communicating the results to the general public.
A large number of requests are being received for information in different formats, relating to different details and periods. Iberdrola’s collaboration with Ihobe and EVE on this Data4Action project is helping to simplify the administrative work involved, and to ensure the uniformity and quality of the data provided. Iberdrola offers itemised data for each municipality and industry. Ihobe and EVE process it uniformly and send it to the municipal authorities in the Basque Country. We are very satisfied with this collaboration and we think it benefits everyone involved.
What is the main added value for your company?
Iberdrola treats business ethics and transparency as essential principles in all its areas of action and it is committed to ensuring that its dealings with public authorities are governed by principles of cooperation and transparency, in compliance with its ethical code. This contributes to building long-term relationships of trust. Among other aspects, this commitment extends to the information it offers those authorities on the way the electricity is produced and consumed.
At the same time, the model of collaboration used in this project allows us to simplify the work involved and improve quality in the use of energy information.
Iberdrola presented its basic guidelines for combatting global warming at the Climate Summit in Paris (COP21). Firstly, we consider it necessary to take immediate action to deal with this global challenge implicating all of society, through a binding agreement that will make it possible to limit global temperature rises to below 2 ºC by 2100. This requires sending out a real signal on the cost of CO2 that will affect all industries. Iberdrola is a world leader in wind production, and it has already cut its emissions per kilowatt hour to 30% below the average in the European power industry. In addition, the company has committed itself to halving its emissions intensity by 2030 (compared to specific 2007 emissions), and to being fully carbon neutral by 2050. Within the framework of this overall commitment, one key element in progressing towards a more efficient energy system involves managing and providing information on the way in which energy is produced and managed by all the agents involved.
Data4Action is a European project which aims to develop regional energy and greenhouse gas observatories across Europe. What advice would you give to these new Observatories? What are the pitfalls?
We think it’s very positive for regional and provincial public authorities to support the work of the municipalities in monitoring their sustainability plans, gathering information on electricity consumption at a local level, and making that information available to the municipalities in centralised form. This will allow uniform processing of the data, simplifying the necessary information flow and guaranteeing data quality and comparability.
We believe that this is a chance to reinforce a stable trust-based relationship between the operator of the distribution network and the regional government and we think that it is beneficial for both parties.
The confidentiality of the data provided must be guaranteed, in compliance with current legislation.
22 February 2015
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