THE ENERGY SECTOR IN ASTURIAS
The clear industrial nature of Asturias is closely linked to the energy-industry
binomial. One of the reasons it has developed a competitive
heavy industry has been its ability to rely upon its energy supply to undertake iron and steel industry activities and to transform materials such as aluminium, steel, zinc and glass.
industry in Asturias
The relevance of industry in Asturias, in particular the metal sector, capital goods manufacturing, naval goods, electrical components and facilities, etc.), is heavily connected to the manufacturing skills required to construct large facilities from the petroleum and gas sector, marine wind power energy, thermo-electrical generation, etc.
The energy production in 2018 represented 5.94% of the regional gross value added, constituting the second branch of the industrial sector after steel and iron industry activity.
Taking advantage of business opportunities deriving from the development and implementation of large energy facilities on a world scale.
Asturias is a benchmark in the field of electrical energy within the Peninsular System, with 4.5% of installed power in 2015, 4% of the demand and 6.3 % of net generation, with a clear electro-intensive profile.
Nationally, the average consumption per capita is around 6 MWh/year, whilst in Asturias that parameter reaches values of 10 MWh/year.
The clear predominance of coal in the structure of primary energy consumption (over 60 % as a result of the high rate of thermo-electrical generation and the iron and steel industry application of coke).
Reliable and flexible transportation network, essential for meeting the high surges of electrical consumption as well as the high density of generator facilities.
Final energy consumption In asturias by sector 2018:
15.1% Residential, Services y Primary
features of the sector
The primary energy consumption structure in Asturias is vastly different to the national structure. Coal is the most demanded energy source in Asturias, with a total weighting of 59.3 % in 2018. The region is characterised by its industry of exploitation, transformation and end use of coal.
Regional primary energy production, during 2018 experienced an increase compared to the previous year, reaching a value of 851 ktoe, with a variation of +2.7%.
PRODUCTION OF PRIMARY ENERGY IN ASTURIAS 2018
From the point of view of electricity generation, Asturias has a large production capacity. In 2018, the Energy and transformation sector experienced a decrease, registering a variation of -17.0% compared to 2017. This figure is a consequence of the decrease in activity in the regional coal and natural gas thermal power plants, was due to the increase in renewable production due to the weather conditions recorded during the year, mainly in hydroelectric power.
The University of Oviedo offers new degrees adapted to the European Area for higher education with qualification that cover most areas of knowledge. Some 30 % of its more than 22,000 registered students are following technical courses.
The Cluster of Energy, the Environment and Climate Change at the University of Oviedo drive forward R&D&i in fields such as clean energy (generation, transport and storage) and energy efficiency.
The following Degrees from the University of Oviedo related to the energy sector are noteworthy:
- Erasmus Mundus Master’s Degree in Sustainable Transport and Electrical Power Systems
- Master in Conversion of Electric Power and Power Systems
- Master’s Degree in Energy Engineering
Approved Vocational Training with 17,000 registered students, more than the 35 % in technical degrees, completes the technical qualification of the Asturian workforce, combining theoretical training with work experience in companies.
innovation & technology
technology centres, r&d&i institutions, clusters
FAEN is the regional Energy Agency of Asturias. It acts as a collaborative entity of the regional energy industry, extending its activity to the sectors of electricity, gas, renewable energy, petroleum and derivative, energy and energy-related financial markets and other sectors connected to energy.
FAEN collaborates with the regional government, companies and Technology Centres undertaking training and awareness activities, as well as participating in European projects in the sphere of energy savings and efficiency and the use of renewable energies.
INCAR upholds its leading position in the field of coal and the science and technology of coals and carbon materials. Its scientific activity is directed towards a cleaner and more efficient use of coal and derivate, including new technological developments.
INCAR is working to develop new technologies to capture CO2, based on the use of solid materials at very high temperatures. It is also developing a project.
Created with the vision of becoming an element of “common interest” to improve cooperation between companies with a clear specialisation in the energy sector.
AINER has been awarded the European bronze seal from the European Cluster Excellence Initiative and is coordinated by the Asturian Energy Foundation.
Its areas of activity are electricity, fossil fuels, building and renewable energies.
IDONIAL emerged in 2019 as a consequence of the merger between the ITMA and PRODINTEC centres, with 28 and 14 years of experience respectively. They opted to join forces to offer their clients tailor-made integral solutions linked to the development of steels and metal materials, bio-manufacturing, additive manufacturing, the digital industry, active materials and smart products, refractory and ceramic materials, numerical simulation, welding and joining, surface and coating technologies.
To do this, the centre has its very own team of multi-disciplinary experts with a firm interest in development and innovation.
The aim of CETEMAS is to promote research, development and innovation in the Mountain-industry value chain. Its areas of work are sustainable forestry development, wood technology and structural wood and construction.
Both R&D&i entities lend their support in different fields of activity related to the intelligent management of networks, “smartgrids”, the main support behind the Smart City model. These areas of application of ICTs and data analysis are converted into solutions to mobility, energy and sustainability, the governing, habitability and quality of life.
renewable energies in Asturias
Asturias positions itself within the direction taken by Europe with the aim of achieving savings and energy efficiency objectives.
The regional energy strategy takes into account the promotion of renewable energies and the development of activities in the field of savings and energy efficiency.
The share of renewables in total regional primary production in 2018 was 75.2%, compared to 60.9% in the previous year.
The Principality of Asturias has 40 hydraulic facilities with an installed capacity of 777.9 MW. Hydraulic-sourced electrical energy production in 2017 fell by 50.1% compared to the previous year.
The region has 19 wind farms with an installed capacity of 518.5 MW. Wind-sourced electrical energy production in 2017 increased by 2.9% compared to the previous year. Asturias has strong capacities for manufacturing key components for the wind turbine industry.
The regional government has included marine renewable energies in its regional Intelligent specialisation strategy (RIS3), showing its clear backing for using waves as an energy resource associated with the region’s favourable support for the development of this activity.
Numerous companies in Asturias already provide services and products in the supply chain of renewable marine energies, developing research activity, development and innovation, as well as component manufacturing activities, mainly in the sphere of offshore energy.
Regarding facilities that generate electricity from biomass, the power of the stations in the region increased in 2017 thanks to the launch of the Biogastur plant, with a power of 4,275 MW. This industrial plant produces electrical energy and fertilisers using the biogas generated from cow slurry and other livestock farming-sourced waste.
The installed solar photovoltaic capacity increased in 2017 by 1.5% over the previous year, reaching 1,080.45 kWp. In terms of thermal solar facilities, at the end of 2017 there were 37,837 m2 of thermal solar collectors installed, registering an increase of 1.4% compared to 2016.
The University of Oviedo provides companies with collaborative
mechanism in order to develop R&D&I projects in their specific
fields of energy. It has different departments which collaborate with
Technological Centres and companies, participating in European
projects and networks from the international sphere.
It has the ideal infrastructure for graphene synthesis using top-down technology and chemical techniques from graphite, with the aim of its application in various areas such as energy storage.
INCAR has developed technology based on the capture of CO2 based on carbonation cycles, being tested on a pilot level at the fluidized bed plant in Pereda, generating 1.7 MW of power.
Supporting infrastructure for offshore industry
The Asturian Energy foundation, FAEN, has developed the study of the current and potential Capacities of Offshore industry in Asturias. The following Asturias-based infrastructures are particularly noteworthy:
- There are up to 18 maritime ports in the region capable of being base
ports for operational and maintenance work for offshore plants.
- The Port of Gijón, the national leader in the transport of solid bulk, and the Port of Avilés are strategically located (at just some 40 hours from the North Sea) and are capable of housing manufacturing operations, assembly and the supply of components and equipment. They also have infrastructures to facilitate operations such as the transportation of towers for wind turbines or the unloading of offshore platforms to marine wind power parks.
- The Asturias Area of Logistical and Industrial Activities (ZALIA). Industrial land of Public Advocacy near the Ports of Gijón and Avilés.
- Maritime Rescue and Safety Agency-Joviellanos Integral Maritime Safety Centre. It has facilities specialising in the practice of maritime security, survival, the fight against pollution, and rescue in diverse scenarios of working at height and in confined spaces as well as training in fire fighting and in structures as well as in fires in petrochemical plants.
- Company Support. The marked presence in Asturias of companies
belonging to the metal, energy and naval sector weaves an industrial fabric with experience and material and human capacities to contribute solutions to the supply chain of marine energy on a worldwide level.
The pulp mill in Navia in Asturias is the mill with the largest production
capacity belonging to the ENCE group and the most efficient pulp mill on
the European eucalyptus market.
The mill production capacity is 500,000 tonnes/year of high quality ECF eucalyptus pulp. ENCE Navia has the largest biomass generation plant in Spain.
Leader in sectors such as renewable energy and boiler-making, the
company has been conceded important international contracts in the marine wind power business. The Windar Renovables group company that manufactures wind towers for wind turbines and offshore establishments is participating in the largest offshore energy project ever awarded to Spain, allocated to the marine wind power park in the Baltic Sea.
Leading business Group in engineering, construction, assembly and implementation of electrical power plants with open cycle and combined cycle technologies, cogeneration, wind power parks, thermo-solar and
photovoltaic power plants, hydraulic and biomass plants. The company has
constructed some of the largest photovoltaic and thermo-solar power plants in the world in countries such as Spain, the USA, France, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Morocco, Egypt and South Africa.
Saint-Gobain has an industrial centre in Asturias, where it develops glass for construction (Saint-Gobain Glass) and glass for automotive purposes (Saint-Gobain Sekurit).
The company has a Research Centre in Asturias (Aviles R&D Centre) which has worked on projects such as the development of glass for solar energy and highly innovative glass fusion procedures.