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Port Authority of Valencia president Aurelio Martínez says “Renewables will prevail when they produce 1 kWh cheaper than fossil fuels; and we are already there”

In his speech, Martínez explained to port officials coordinated by the United Nations the main lines of action of Valenciaport in environmental matters

The PAV is investing more than 131 million in decarbonisation projects

The president of the PAV took part in the workshop on the challenges facing ports in the 21st century organised by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Buenos Aires (Argentina)

The leaders of the ports of Gijón, Laureano Lourido; Santander, Francisco Martín; Las Palmas, Francisco Javier Trujillo; and the director of Planning and Development of Puertos del Estado, Manuel Arana, also took part

The policies and investment projects in decarbonisation and energy transition that the Port Authority of Valencia (PAV) has been implementing in recent years have served as an example to illustrate that it is possible to grow and reduce carbon footprint, and that economic activity does not have to be incompatible with the environment. During the last week, the city of Buenos Aires (Argentina) has hosted the Port Management programme ‘TrainForTrade’ on the challenges of the Ports of the 21st century of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). A meeting of technicians and port managers from various Latin American countries and Spain, including the port authorities of Valencia, Gijón, Las Palmas, Santander and Puertos del Estado.

On the Valencian side, the president of the PAV, Aurelio Martínez, and Juan Manuel Diez-Orejas, head of Strategic Planning and Innovation, took part. In his speech, the president of Valenciaport went through the discourse of the fight against climate change since the first studies were carried out in the 1960s up to the present day.

We have been talking about this problem for more than 60 years,” explained Aurelio Martínez, “but the consumption of non-renewable energies has not stopped growing, and what is more significant, the annual increases in the production of renewable energies in absolute terms do not even cover the growth in the world’s energy demand”. This is a global problem for which it is necessary that “the more industrialised countries must be more belligerent in the fight against climate change”. According to the president of the Valencian port, “the world is making a considerable effort to support renewable energies, both in their implementation and in R+D, the search for new sources, etc. But the process is still insufficient, uneven, and is beginning to generate some rejections”.

“The projections for 2050 – indicates Aurelio Martínez – show that the consumption of non-renewable energies will continue to be very significant and will represent approximately one third of total energy consumption in the world. Whether we like it or not, the widespread use of renewable energies means that the cost of producing 1 kWh will be cheaper than producing it with fossil fuels. And in this case, we can say that the advances in solar and wind have been so spectacular in recent years that they are already both competitive and cheaper than traditional energy sources”.

In his speeches in Buenos Aires, the president of the APV gave some examples for hope. The latest report,” he explained, “from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) already pointed out that clean energies were the cheapest source of energy in the world in 2020. Specifically, 62% of renewable energies were already cheaper than the cheapest fossil fuel”. On the other hand, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) “by 2025 there will be a tipping point where it will be more expensive to generate power with coal or natural gas than to build new solar or wind farms”. And finally, data from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) indicate that since 2010 wind energy has decreased its generation cost by 23% while solar energy has become 73% cheaper.

These are contrasted data achieved through investments committed to the environment and decarbonisation, such as those being carried out by Valenciaport. And in this sense, Aurelio Martínez, before an audience of port managers coordinated by the United Nations, explained the main lines of action in environmental matters at Valenciaport. “Actions which are already underway and which add up to more than 131 million euros of public investment with the strategic objective of becoming an emission neutral port by 2030”, added Aurelio Martínez.

These initiatives include the construction of 3 photovoltaic plants (2 in Valencia and 1 in Gandía) while a fourth is being planned for Sagunto; the installation – under construction – of a 1st 132 KV electrical substation, as a preliminary step for the supply of electrical energy to ships and a 2nd substation in the northern area; the restructuring of the port’s internal electrical network; the electrification of the docks; the electrification of the internal railway network; the wind power project; the hydrogen pilot plant under test/use of machinery in terminals; the use of LNG in ships and various actions in the northern container terminals, APMT, CSPV and the new public passenger terminal.

Digitalisation and decarbonisation

The TrainForTrade programme is aimed at managers, area managers and senior managers and forms part of UNCTAD’s programme to support port communities in developing countries. On this occasion, the workshop was organised by the General Administration of Ports of Argentina in collaboration with the Inter-American Committee on Ports (CIP) and UNCTAD.

During the workshop, coordinated by the National Port Training Centre (CENCAPOR) of the AGP and directed by Diego Salom, experts from the main ports of Spain and Latin America addressed the different strategies, opportunities and tools available to advance in the processes of digitisation and integration of port management systems. They also analysed the variables for the development of new renewable energies to supply the operation of the port establishments, navigation and even contribute to the national networks.

In addition to the head of the PAV, the president of the Port Authority of Gijón, Laureano Lourido, the president of the Port Authority of Santander, Francisco Martín, the director of the Port Authority of Las Palmas, Francisco Javier Trujillo, and the director of Planning and Development of Puertos del Estado, Manuel Arana, also took part in different panels.

The event was attended by Jorge Durán, head of the Secretariat of the CIP; José Beni, Comptroller of the General Administration of Ports; Antonis Michail, head of the Port Management Programme of UNCTAD for Latin America and the Caribbean and technical director of the International Association of Ports and Harbours (IAPH). Also present were representatives of the Port Authorities of Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay.

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