Tag Archive for: Transición energética

What is the carbon border adjustment mechanism and why is it so controversial?


  • The EU proposes to apply a tariff on imported carbon-intensive products.

  • The measure (CBAM) will be implemented in two phases, will come into force in 2026 and will initially apply to imports in sectors such as cement, hydrogen and electricity.

As part of the fight against climate change, the European Union (EU) has launched what it considers to be one of the key instruments within the European Green Pact: The Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism, also known as CBAM. It is an essential part of the “Fit for 55” measures package, a set of proposals to revise and update EU legislation to ensure that the EU’s intermediate target of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 55% by 2030 is met.

This proposal has already been described as “bold, complicated and controversial” and several countries have already expressed concerns about its implementation. The measure will undoubtedly disrupt trade relations between the EU and its partners, but let’s look at exactly what it is.

The CBAM is intended to be implemented in parallel to the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) to counter the so-called ‘carbon-leakage’. Based on the “cap-and-trade” principle, the ETS sets a price on carbon and, each year, industries covered by the ETS must buy allowances corresponding to their GHG emissions. These allowances are limited, and each year the limit is lowered with the aim of creating financial incentives for companies to reduce their emissions.

Risk of carbon-leakage

The issue is that this could lead to what is known as carbon leakage: although some companies, which production processes are high in GHG emissions, are allocated free allowances to support their competitiveness, these will be progressively phased out, raising the risk that they may consider moving their production to other countries outside the EU in order to avoid the increased costs associated with the ETS, importing products at a more advantageous price to the detriment of the environment.  

This is where the CBAM applies. This is a tariff on carbon-intensive products imported to the EU to balance by equalising the carbon price of imports with the carbon price of EU products. The phasing out of the free allocation of allowances under the ETS will take place in parallel with the introduction of the CBAM mechanism, ensuring coherence between climate objectives and trade policy.

The CBAM will be implemented in two phases, so that before the entry into operation of the final version, there will be a transitional period with the following objectives:

  • To serve as a learning curve for importers, producers and the authorities involved.
  • To allow the collection of info
    rmation on GHG emissions to help refine the methodologies for calculating these emissions.
  • Align the price of carbon produced in the EU with that of imported goods.

This first transitional period will run from 1 October 2023 to 31 December 2025, and initially applies only to imports from the sectors most at risk of carbon leakage: cement, iron/steel, aluminium, hydrogen, fertilisers and electricity (although it has already been agreed that this will be extended to more products, such as chemicals and polymers). The specific goods that are affected by CBAM are detailed in Annexes I and II of Implementing Regulation (EU) 2023/1773, where the CN codes for all affected materials are listed.

In addition, the obligations arising from the importation of these goods are also set out:

  1. Register in the transitional CBAM Register, which allows communication between all parties to the mechanism (European Commission, competent and customs authorities, traders and reporting companies).
  2. Submit CBAM reports on a quarterly basis. Importers of goods (or their indirect customs representatives) are responsible for reporting the GHG emissions implicit in their imports. The report must be submitted no later than one month after the end of the quarter, and emissions calculations can be made in 3 ways:
    1. Using default reference values published by the European Commission. This method can only be used to report 100% of the implied emissions until July 2024; it can be used for the remaining transitional period to report up to 20% of the implied emissions.
    2. Using an equivalent methodology that considers either a carbon pricing system, a mandatory emissions monitoring system, or a monitoring system that may include verification by an accredited third party (always where the installation is located). This method may be used for imports until December 2024.
    3. Using the new methodology provided by the EU. It may be applied throughout the transitional period.

No payment or financial adjustment will be required during this first phase.

Once the mechanism fully enters into force on 1 January 2026, importers will be obliged to purchase the corresponding CBAM certificates. It should be noted that this mechanism is not a tax to be paid on import, but that the purchase of the certificates must be acquired prior to the importation of the products subject to CBAM. If the importer can prove that a carbon price has already been paid during the production of the imported goods, this amount can be deducted from the corresponding amount to be redeemed at CBAM.

Subsequently, by 31 May each year at the latest, the importer or his representative must submit an annual report, stating the goods imported in the previous calendar year and their corresponding emissions, as well as the number of CBAM certificates purchased for that year.

Antía Míguez, Technologist at Genesal Energy

Energy transition and decarbonisation, an opportunity to seek sustainable industrial models.

One of humanity’s greatest challenges is the fight against climate change, global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions need to reach a ceiling as soon as possible, but this implies carrying out a process of decarbonisation of current socio-economic systems and “transitioning” towards new efficient models in the use of resources, from raw materials to energy fluxes, based on clean and competitive energies. Genesal Energy is well aware of this.

How to perform the transition?

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), it is not enough to replace current energy infrastructures, dependent on fossil fuels, with other renewable and sustainable ones. It is also necessary to implement energy efficiency measures which allow more than just reducing consumption. As is often said colloquially, “the best energy is the energy that is not consumed”.

In this context, the industrial sector must play an active role in the process of change. Genesal Energy is doing so: We have launched OGGY (Off Grid Genesal energY), our own energy management system that allows real-time monitoring of both production and energy consumption, deciding at all times what to do with these flows to make the most efficient use of them: store them in the battery system, consume them at the company’s facilities, discharge them into the grid or a combination of the previous options.

This system consists of three main blocks (Figure 1):

  • The OGGY is capable of controlling different sources of energy generation, including the conventional electricity grid. In the specific case of the application at Genesal Energy, the sources are the following:
    • Two photovoltaic building façades on our HQ warehouses (Illustration 2), which occupy a surface area of 111 m2. They are made up of 93 units of the latest generation crystal-silicon photovoltaic glass, with seven different sizes to suit the design of the original façade. In total, the installed power is 13.1kWp, which allows for a generation of 11 000 kWh per year. These panels are not installed on top of the old façade, they are integrated into it, allowing for better thermal insulation of the buildings.

    • This means that we haven’t just focused on renewable self-consumption, but it has also been possible to reduce cooling needs by up to 50% reducing the air conditioning of the buildings. This installation alone – not mentioning the rest of the energy system – is going to avoid the emission of 245 tonnes of CO2 in 35 years, the equivalent of a saving of 661 barrels of oil per square metre.
    • In addition to the façades, 126 photovoltaic panels with an output of 57.33 kW have also been installed on the roof of the company’s warehouses. These panels save more than 20 tonnes of CO2 per year.
    • Testing of generators at the company’s facilities. All generators sold by Genesal Energy are tested at its facilities before being sent to the customer. This allows us to offer a top-quality warranty, but it also means consumption of fossil fuel. In accordance with the principles set out by the circular economy, the company has decided to reuse this energy by reintroducing it back into the value chain. The OGGY stores a percentage of the energy generated in these tests.
    • Although the amount of energy generated in the facilities Genesal Energy could make us self-sufficient, we have maintained the connection to the conventional electricity grid in case of system failures.
  • The core, and the most important part, is the energy management algorithm or EMS, which is responsible for controlling all energy fluxes. This energy system continuously analyses the status of generation, storage and consumption in order to determine the system’s working profile at any given moment.
    In addition, it considers variables external to the system, such as the weather forecast (to predict what the energy generated by the photovoltaic installation will be) or the price of electricity in real time (deciding whether to feed the energy into the grid or store it in the battery system).

The integration between the OGGY system and the generating sources is performed through MODBUS, an open communication protocol used to transmit information through serial networks between different electronic devices. This is essential for the system to be able to properly manage all the fluxes and where they are directed to.

As for the storage system, it consists of a rack of lithium batteries with a total power of 92 kWh, grouped into 14 modules.

  • Finally, there are the energy consumption points. In the case of Genesal Energy, these are the ones in the factory itself and the offices.


All Genesal’s actions, research and projects developed in the sustainability field are based on the absolute conviction that we are doing the right thing. The industrial sector must understand the processes of ecological transition and decarbonisation as opportunities to promote its own transformation towards sustainable models. Comprehensive energy management systems such as OGGY are key to this new scenario.

Antía Míguez, technologist at Genesal Energy

What is energy transition?

We have a plan!

We created the Faculty of Energy Transitionand we have obtained official Carbon Footprint Calculation Certification as part of our commitment to sustainability.

Digitalisation, renewable energy sources and energy carriers, and the transition to natural gas are the cornerstones of energy transition.

Climate change is real. According to the European Space Agency (ESA), the average global temperature in 2021 was 0.27°C higher than the average over the period from 1991 to 2020, and 0.64°C higher than the average over the period from 1981 to 2010. The potential impact of climate disruption is huge and will have serious consequences, from melting glaciers to drinking water shortages and an increase in the frequency of extreme weather events, which will affect us all.

The scientific consensus today is that the cause of this climate disruption is the increase of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions into the atmosphere as a result of human activity. 90% of the most common polluting gas, CO2, is emitted by the energy industry, mostly from coal-fired power plants.

The Paris Agreement, a legally binding international treaty, was adopted in December 2015 in an attempt to remedy this situation. It created a global framework for combating climate change which came into force in November 2016. Its ultimate goal, which governments recommitted to at COP26 in Glasgow at the end of 2021, is to limit the average global temperature increase by the end of the century to no more than 1.5ºC above pre-industrial levels. In order to achieve this target, it is considered crucial that GHG emissions be reduced by 55% by 2050.

What is energy transition?

The most powerful tool at our disposal in our efforts to achieve this target is energy transition. This increasingly common term refers to the urgently required comprehensive overhaul of our current energy system, powered by the burning of fossil fuels and intensive energy production in large, grid-connected facilities, and the creation of a new model centred on the use of renewable energy sources, electrification and distributed generation.

Although energy transition is a slow process which demands extensive changes to both energy production and distribution processes and consumption patterns, this process is already underway in many places and socially conscious companies are increasingly choosing to make changes and take action, moving on from theory to practice. We are part of this group.

We are one hundred percent committed to this structural change and our commitment is not merely theoretical; we put it into practice by doing our utmost to ensure that the measures necessary to carry out this transition which are within our reach are implemented as quickly and effectively as possible.

The way forward for energy transition

The five cornerstones of energy transition:

1- Renewable energy sources and energy carriers

In order to meet demand as coal-fired power plants are closed, the proportion of our energy which comes from renewable sources needs to increase; production capacity is far greater than what we currently generate. But many of these sources are unreliable, meaning that we can’t control the energy generated as we would like to. In order to ensure the security of the grid, these sources must be complemented by some kind of technology which allows energy to be stored for gradual release as needed. These technologies are called energy carriers, and hydrogen is increasingly important to those which currently exist.

2- Natural gas

The road to all of our energy demands being met by renewable sources will be slow and painstaking, and alternative means of generating energy are needed as we carry out the process. This is why natural gas plays an important role in our energy transition strategies. Although it is a fossil fuel, natural gas emits 40-50% less CO2 than coal and 25-30% less than fuel oil, meaning replacing these with gas results in a considerable reduction in GHG emissions.

3- Mobility

In Spain, transport is not only the sector with the highest energy consumption, it is also the least diversified in terms of energy sources, depending almost exclusively on petroleum products. Moreover, it is one of the largest sources of pollution from combustion gases in cities, greatly affecting air quality. A sustainable mobility strategy is therefore essential to the energy transition.

One obvious solution is to increase the use of electric vehicles. Among the advantages of this form of transport are the lack of direct CO2 emissions and the reduced impact on people’s health, since electric vehicles do not emit exhaust fumes.

4- Digitalisation and energy efficiency

The digitalisation of energy at each and every stage of the process, from production through to transport, distribution and final consumption, will improve traditional business models by enhancing the value of the enormous amount of information available to companies and helping them anticipate new trends.

For example, big data analytics, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things, all of which rely on data and autonomous learning algorithms, allow us to monitor and manage power generation at numerous production sites, thereby making it possible to identify anomalies in real time and reduce repair times.

5- The circular economy

Our current economic system is based on the linear ‘take-make-waste’ model in which products have a finite life cycle after which they must be replaced. This generates an enormous amount of trash. In contrast, the circular economy is based on the maxim of ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ and is aimed at achieving long-term sustainability by reducing the volume of trash and keeping goods in the production cycle for as long as possible. Simply put, this approach seeks to achieve more with less.

A shift in our economic system towards a circular economy would not only reduce the environmental impact of waste by reusing it as new raw material but would also lead to improved efficiency in production processes and a reduction of associated emissions.

The Genesal Energy plan

We have developed our own Energy Transition Plan as part of our commitment to sustainability, the 2030 Agenda and clean energy. So, what does this plan consist of? It is a set of short, medium and long-term measures aimed at changing the way we do things at the corporate, production and industry levels.

We want to contribute to improving society; the implementation of more sustainable and efficient solutions in our product manufacturing processes is one of the cornerstones of this strategy, but it is not the only one.

As prominent champions of the energy transition, we lead by example. As part of our business strategy, we have engaged in a process of identifying and prioritising 11 of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This is one of our contributions to advancing the 2030 Agenda, but not the only one.

Our search for more efficient energy solutions includes concrete actions such as accelerating the transition from diesel to gas, improving energy efficiency, promoting hybridisation with renewable energy sources and energy storage, and committing to innovation and the digitalisation of energy.

More research

Research and education are essential components of our Energy Transition Plan, which is why we have created, in collaboration with the University of Santiago de Compostela, the USC-Genesal Energy Faculty of Energy Transition. The specialised faculty is the first of its kind in Galicia.

The goal of the faculty is to promote research and support education and the diffusion of knowledge in the field of energy transition, particularly those areas focused on distributed energy systems. Its remit includes developing self-sustaining distributed energy grid technologies and systems based on zero carbon fuels, analysis of energy transition processes and the eco-design of distributed energy generation systems.

Action at the industry level and the corporate level

Our plan outlines actions to be taken at both the industry and corporate levels.

As part of the distributed energy industry, the company is constantly on the lookout for opportunities to participate in associations which encourage leading Spanish and international companies specialising in generator sets to share their experience and knowledge; as part of this policy, we have become members of EuropGen, Cluergal and Viratec, the Galician Cluster of Environmental Solutions and Circular Economy.

At the corporate level, we have obtained Carbon Footprint Calculation certification, reflecting our commitment to SDG 13 (on climate action).

Goals and results

Our Energy Transition Plan aspires to more than instigating change at the industry and corporate levels, however: we want to contribute to changing the world, starting with ensuring we are a socially conscious company.

Our most recent efforts in this regard include the installation of a photovoltaic roof at our headquarters in Bergondo, A Coruña, and reducing the fuel consumption of our vehicle fleet by 16%.

The quantity of fossil fuels consumed by our vehicle fleet decreased from 2377.75 litres per million euros invoiced in 2019 to 2005.4 l/M€ in 2021; this represents a 16% drop in fuel consumption, reflecting our understanding that the cleanest energy is that which is not consumed.

Building an emissions-neutral future is a team effort; we are all protagonists of change. At Genesal Energy we are committed to the planet and the environment, and to implementing the strategy laid out in our Energy Transition Plan in line with United Nations SDG 13.

To summarise, the Genesal Energy Energy Transition Plan is based around three core objectives, each of which involve taking concrete action:

Complete the transition to a sustainable energy model.

A1. Reduce energy consumption at company facilities and increase the use of renewables by installing a photovoltaic self-consumption system.
A2. educe dependence on oil by speeding the transition from diesel to gas and implementing a sustainable mobility strategy.
A3. Increase energy efficiency in all areas of the company through digitalisation.

Reduce our carbon footprint

This involves making steady progress on the path to emissions neutrality; key to this objective is keeping a record of the emissions generated in the course of our commercial activities.

At Genesal Energy, we have already taken important steps along this path: we have been calculating the Scope 1 and 2 emissions which contribute to our carbon footprint since 2019, and our CF calculation will improve when we add Scope 3. In the meantime we will continue to work on strategies to reduce and offset our emissions.

Mainstream climate action

A5. Contribute to mitigating the impact of economic growth on the environment by optimising the use and reuse of outflows and waste.
A6. Fight energy poverty. At Genesal Energy we are committed to all aspects of the energy transition, including our social responsibility. As part of this responsibility, we are working on a plan to provide energy to vulnerable families free of charge.

When it comes to sustainability, we set the standard!

The University of Santiago de Compostela and Genesal Energy have created the first Faculty of Energy Transition in Galicia.

As part of our commitment to sustainability, and because we believe that caring for the environment is a collective responsibility, Genesal Energy is going back to school; we have teamed up with the University of Santiago de Compostela (USC) to create the first Faculty of Energy Transition in Galicia.

The inauguration was held in the University of Santiago de Compostela (USC) rector’s hall at San Xerome College and presided over by Antonio López, the rector of the university, and Julio Arca, our Director of Finance and Strategy.

At the event, the rector stressed that science “is crucial to the energy transition and to energy sovereignty” and expressed his conviction that the new faculty “represents a step forward, as it strengthens the ties between universities and industry”. The head of Finance and Strategy at Genesal Energy emphasised the importance of committing to clean energy and to solutions that help us move forward with the energy transition. “The energy transition is fundamental to our efforts to fight climate change. Transport, industry and electricity generation account for 60% of greenhouse gas emissions, and the electricity sector has the greatest potential for emissions reduction”, Julio Arca noted in his speech. The event was also attended by Gumersindo Feijoo Costa, Vice-Rector of Planning, Technologies and Sustainability at USC; Montserrat Valcárcel Armesto, Vice-Rector of Campus Coordination at the Lugo Campus; Enrique Roca Bordello, the new Faculty Director; Marcela Fernández, head of Genesal Energy’s R&D&I Management Unit; Paula Avendaño, our head of Marketing and Communication, and Marta Blanco, the company’s legal adviser.

What is energy transition and why have we created a specialised faculty?

The energy transition is the process of transformation, or the set of changes which must be implemented, in order to make the switch from our current fossil-fuel based models of energy production, distribution and consumption to more sustainable models based on the use of renewable energy, electrification and distributed generation. Alternative fuels, digitalisation, energy efficiency and a circular economy are key to this.

When it comes to knowledge management and its application in society, we believe collaboration between public bodies and private enterprise is essential. The creation of the Faculty of Energy Transition will allow us to further develop our collaboration with the university and strengthen the relationship between universities and the energy industry at a crucial time, when the ecological transition as a whole – and by extension the energy transition – is becoming increasingly important due to the key role it must play if we are to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to research and education.

Where are its offices?

The offices of the Faculty of Energy Transition are located in the School of Engineering (ETSE) at USC (the Engineering and Management of Sustainable Processes and Products Research Group) and in our Distributed Energy Technology Centre (CETED) at the company’s headquarters in Bergondo (A Coruña).

What are its goals?

Research, support for teaching and the diffusion of knowledge related to the field of energy transition, particularly in areas concerned with distributed energy systems, are the principal goals of the faculty. It will also:

  • Promote the development of R&D&I projects and encourage participation in these.
  • Develop distributed energy grid systems based on zero-emission fuels.
  • Organise activities which stimulate reflection and debate in the field of energy transition, promoting its incorporation into bachelor’s and master’s degree programmes in disciplines related to the faculty’s mission.
  • Promote ideas competitions and the creation of awards for projects and undergraduate and master’s degree theses.
  • Create student internships at Genesal Energy, with and without university credit.
  • Organise specialisation courses, conferences, seminars, meetings with experts, and visits to organisations, companies and institutions related to the faculty’s mission.
  • Support USC graduates in their search for employment by participating in faculty activities where appropriate.

The Genesal Energy Faculty of Energy Transition advocates for women in the energy industry

This morning seven women with positions of responsibility in the energy industry opened the first Seminar on Women in STEM and the Energy Transition: Accelerating Progress towards Sustainability, held at the University of Santiago de Compostela (USC) School of Engineering and organised by the Genesal Energy Faculty of Energy Transition.

At the seminar opening Enrique Roca, the faculty director, spoke about the importance of increasing the visibility of women engineers and professionals in STEM fields in order to promote parity, which remains a long way away; according to experts, women in STEM will finally achieve parity in 2050. The director pointed out that today only 29% of women in the energy industry, and in STEM fields in general, hold positions of responsibility.

Rocío Vega Martínez, from the Digitalisation Department at Reganosa; Beatriz Mato Otero, Director of Corporate Development and Sustainability at Greenalia; María Landeira Suárez, Naturgy’s Delegate for Renewable Development in Galicia; Ángeles López Agüera, university professor representing the Energy Sustainable Applications Group; Ángeles Santos Casal, HR Director at Genesal Energy; Rebeca Acebrón San Miguel, CEO of Acebrón Group, and Marta Gómez Palenque, the Government of Castilla-La Mancha’s Head of Circular Economy all spoke at the seminar, which addressed issues related to the energy transition and the future of renewables in an industry that is committed to leaving fossil fuels behind.

The seminar was held at the offices of the Faculty of Energy Transition in the School of Engineering (ETSE), and marked the beginning of its calendar of academic events.

The Faculty of Energy Transition is an initiative of the A Coruña-based company Genesal Energy in collaboration with USC. It was created in December of last year, and its goals include promoting collaboration between public bodies and private enterprise, increasing education and employment opportunities, and raising awareness about energy transition and more sustainable energy models.