Ladies and gentlemen:

Ladies and gentlemen:
It gives me great pleasure to be here today, sharing your very interesting discussions on
climate change and renewable energy.
For this is a fundamental issue in today’s world. It is certainly an important topic for
Europe and for Spain where we keep stringent targets for 2020 and beyond. This
question will probably become even more important for our children and grandchildren.
Let me tell you that we are proud, as Europeans, that the EU is playing a leading role in
the world climate negotiations. We sincerely hope that the next conference in Warsaw
and its follow up in Lima next year will pave the way to conclude an ambitious world
climate agreement by 2015.
For the same reasons, in my opinion, climate change and renewable energy should also
be important for Australia. By the way, I have just read a very recent interesting report
on “Climate Change. The story so far” signed by Dr Will Howard and Dr Joanne Banks
from the Office of the Chief Scientist of Australia whose conclusions are not very
different than the ones sustained in Europe.
In a moment of political transition, as the present one here, it is very timely to promote a
discussion like this one. For that, I am very thankful to La Cámara for once again
coming forward, grasping this opportunity to foster exchange of ideas and experiences
by government representatives, public institutions as well as private companies on this
hot topic which is also of great interest for some of its associates members.
For me, the key issue right now is to know whether Australia will reach its stated
emissions reduction targets under the Direct Action policy of the incoming government.
The Coalition has been clear the funding will be capped, and it seems highly unlikely
the present Australian government would use international market mechanisms to meet
Australia's targets, if Direct Action is unable to realise sufficient emissions reductions
domestically. But these are just short term speculation.
Anyway, let me share with you just one data to mark the importance of this question for
my country: In the first half of the year, more than half of all the electricity produced in
Spain came from renewable sources.
I see here representatives of leading renewal energy companies from Spain, like
Abengoa, Fotowatio, Unión Fenosa, Acciona and others. I have an important long term
message for them: please keep investing in Australia.
In my view, the political change in regional or in the federal government should not
necessarily entail a fundamental change in business opportunities.
Although it may look understandable to be more cautious in a moment of political
change, I remain convinced that we will start to see a much clearer picture as times goes
by. Because no matter what the fate of the carbon tax will be or the Direct Action policy
will be able to reach, in the long run the objective conditions for the blossoming of
renewal energies in Australia will prevail.
Some may say that in a country like Australia, because the fossil fuel sector is
particularly strong –and may become even stronger when the fabulous investments in
the gas sector will mature- the resistances to really promote renewals may make a
longer transition than elsewhere to a less dependant fossil fuel economy. In my view,
the abundance of fossil fuel should is not necesarily an excuse for the development of
renewable energies. Take the case of some of the Persian Gulf countries, some of them
are among the most important fossil fuels producers in the world but they are today
most determined investors in solar thermal energy for example.
Somebody, very highly placed in the renewable corporate sector in Spain, told me
before taking office as Ambassador here -and I will never forget it- that Australia is
perhaps the most fortunate country of the world for the expansion of renewable energy
because it combines more renewal resources -sun, wind and water- than any other
nation worldwide.
I agree. But like in mining, you also need other things to harvest it.
Besides the best resources in the world, I would also add to the comment of my friend
four additional assets that I have also perceived during my two years stay here, which
may drive Australia into a renewal world leader in the future:
An excellent legal and judiciary systems, which are of paramount importance for
giving security to the very long term investments needed for renewals;
increasing financial means to invest, as a result of the mining activities and the
mandatory saving scheme
a larger number of companies and a strong research and development activity
both in the private and public sectors dealing with renewal energy issues
a pragmatic political class that may also see good opportunities and grasp it
whenever it would be necessary, both at regional and national level
So, I firmly believe that the business opportunities for international companies to be
present in the Australian market in renewable energy will arise, in a natural way, as a
result of these circumstances, the logic maturity of technologies in renewals and the
increasing consciousness of the international public opinion, and subsequently
parliaments and governments around the globe, including the Australian, about the
potential threats to mankind of unending fossil fuel consumption.
(I am of the view that business opportunities for renewal energies companies will come
not only in the regulated public energy sector, but also in the private sector, including in
mining, only because they would also be obliged to see its high expenditures on fossil
fuel based energy reduced!
I have even witnessed here, in a recent trip to Broken Hill, the town where one of the
biggest world mining corporations was founded, how renewal energy (solar and wind)
has been embraced by the political leaders of a community whose economic reality only
some years back turned around on mining activities almost exclusively.
I think we, Spaniards, should also learn from this experience.)
Last, but not least, let me inform you that as a follow up of a recent trip to Australia of
Prof Cayetano López, Director of CIEMAT (the leading research and development
public institution on solar energy), I have just learned about the signature of a MOU
between CIEMAT and the ANU Energy Change Institute that will further enhance the
close relations between our two nations in these matters, particularly in solar energy.
This institutional cooperation follows the already fruitful links with CSIRO and the
different activities done by Spanish private companies with different universities across
So, let me thank all experts, politicians, journalists, representatives of the public
institutions as well as from the private sector for participating in this event.
I would also thank La Camara members and corporate members, the sponsors of this
conference, particularly EY, for making this conference possible and once again to La
Cámara for its timely initiative and also for inviting me. It gave me the opportunity to
update my knowledge and my personal interest for this fascinating world of renewable
energies. Thank you to all of you, we have learn a lot from your very valuable
Thank you very much!