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De izquierda a derecha, se encuentran, Miguel Horta, Director de INTIA-División Riegos, Andrés del Campo de FENACORE, Francisco Iribarren de ENHOL, Adrián González de HTN Biogás, y Eduardo Torres de MTORRES

During the opening day of the First National Congress on Irrigation and Renewable Energy it has been shown that renewable energies are one of the most effective alternatives for irrigation communities, to address the rising costs of electricity rates and Spanish dependence on foreign energy.

Jesús María Echeverría; Managing Director of the public companies INTIA, Fernando Sánchez; Technical and Scientific Director at CENER, Manuel Omedas; Head of the Planning Office of the Ebro Hydrographic Confederation, Andrés del Campo; FENACORE President, Eduardo Torres from the company MTORRES, Alberto Alonso of GAMESA and Joaquín Arbeloa from CAN Banca Cívia were some of the speakers who participated on the opening day.

The opening day of the First National Congress on Irrigation and Renewable Energy held in Pamplona has aimed to present solutions that help Irrigation Communities find new more efficient ways from the energy standpoint as opposed to the current high costs of electricity and the foreign energy dependence of our country.

In this way, Jesús María Echeverría, Managing-Director of the public company INTIA, first to speak this morning, offered a broad overview of the current situation in the sector, and explained that agriculture accounts for 3.5% of the total energy in Spain, of which 53% is intended for machinery in the form of fuel and 30% for irrigation. With regard to the latter it should be noted that 80% of the energy consumed is electricity and 20% is spent on fuel (specifically diesel). Given this data, mainly due to the 80% increase in electricity rates over the past 5 years, the energy efficiency of Spanish irrigation has worsened. Thus, while the surface has increased by 2.5%, energy consumption has done so by 19%. Echeverria poses the main challenge for the Irrigation Communities as “achieving improvements in the use of water accompanied by the efficient use of energy”, from their point of view “this can only be achieved with a new approach which is to replace current energies with renewables.”

For his part, Fernando Sánchez, The Technical and Scientific Director of the National Renewable Energy Centre (CENER), stressed that “from the energy point of view our main challenge is to duplicate the presence of renewables in the energy mix” and announced that over the next decade, “the cost of this type of energy will be less and will no longer be known as expensive energy.” Furthermore, he assured that thanks to the implementation of renewable energies in Spain, “the macroeconomic impact is lower because of the benefits of an environmental nature, to which we must add a reduced dependence on foreign energy.” Thus, he concluded by saying that “here at CENER we consider that 100% renewable energy will be feasible by 2050.”

Manuel Omedas, Head of the Planning Office of the Ebro Hydrographic Confederation, emphasized that water is still a key element in developing agri-food and energy in the Ebro Valley, and that synergies between irrigation and energy management pose a sustainability scenario in Spain that converts the Ebro into a great asset. Similarly, Omedas explained that the irrigation communities could not remain on the margin of electricity manageability and inter alia coffer dams should be implemented within irrigation dams, intelligent networks to allow supply to become cheaper, and the use of irrigation pumping during inactive periods. He also stated that “someday we’ll see how a dam can be filled with wind energy.”

Andrés del Campo, President of the National Federation of Irrigation Communities of Spain (FENACORE), explained that the consumption of electricity in the Spanish agricultural sector is a major cost of production and energy costs are rising. The latter is a result of the irrigation modernization effort being made by the Irrigation Communities moving from gravity irrigation systems to pressure irrigation. In this situation, Andrés del Campo has put forward various renewable energies as a solution to this problem, ranging from biomass and solar photovoltaic to small hydro and wind energy. He seeked to highlight that only these can help overcome the challenges of 21st century agriculture. Mention was also made of the existence of one billion undernourished people compared to less arable land and less fresh water per capita in the world and new farming methods and practices based on emitting less CO2 and methane.

The fourth speaker, Eduardo Torres from the company MTORRES, expert in aerospace and wind, proposed a new optimal solution from the technological and economic standpoint, which is adapted to the energy needs of the Irrigation Communities Irrigators by installing wind turbines to power a pumping station in the city of Funes in Navarra.

Finally, noteworthy too was the intervention of Alberto Alonso from the company GAMESA, who presented an interesting model of wind diesel hybrid systems, as well as that of Joaquin Arbeloa from CAN Banca Cívica who proposed new financial solutions for irrigation and renewable energy.

Opening Ceremony

The President of the Government of Navarra, Yolanda Barcina Angulo, presided this morning the opening ceremony of the First National Irrigation and Renewable Energy Congress, held on November 16 and 17 at the Baluarte Conference Centre of Pamplona, organized by the Government of Navarra through the Navarra Institute of Agro-Food Technologies and Infrastructures. Irrigation Division) and the National Centre for Renewable Energies(CENER).

The President was accompanied at the opening of the Congress, by the mayor of Pamplona; Enrique Maya, the Minister of Rural Development, Industry, Employment and Environment; Lourdes Goicoechea, The CENER Technical Director; Fernando Sanchez, and the Director of the Irrigation Division of INTIA; Miguel Horta.


Public Company under the Department of Rural Development, Industry, Employment and Environment of the Government of Navarra. The purpose of Irrigation Division is to promote the development of the agricultural sector through the creation and improvement of productive infrastructures for irrigation and training in irrigation techniques for professionals in the sector.

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