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The energy sector has been characterized by intense activity in 2005, with three events that stand out in the international scene: the Kyoto Protocol coming into force; the launch of the Community's market of greenhouse gas emission rights and the increase in crude prices.

The Euskadi 2010 Energy Strategy 3E-2010 focuses on two main areas: efficiency and renewable energies.

The first major objective is to achieve yearly savings on consumption with respect to anticipated figures in keeping with current trends (+3.4%). This will mean a reduction in 2010 of 15% in the total theoretical consumption if today's growth trends remain stable.

The other principle objective is for renewable energies to represent 12% of the primary energy consumption in Euskadi. Similarly, the participation of cogeneration and renewable energies in the electricity supply will amount to 30%.

We will consolidate the energy system by developing electricity and natural gas structures mainly with a view to ensuring a continuous, quality, competitive supply.

We will also make an effort to coordinate and prioritize technological development and R&D&I lines in the area of energy.

The Energy Strategy will notably reduce greenhouse gas emissions and will play a key part in achieving the Kyoto objectives.

The Basque Government will invest €4.9Bn in the energy sector, of which €423 million will correspond to public investment, thus making it possible to reduce dependence on petrol in favour of natural gas and renewable energies. The Government target is to reduce the use of petrol to 36%, natural gas to 52%, coal to 2%, and to increase the use of renewable energies to 12%.

One of the electricity plants guaranteeing electricity self-sufficiency in energy terms and a healthy level of diversification of its supply sources is Bahía de Bizkaia Electricidad (BBE), co-owned by Spanish power company Iberdrola, Spain's oil giant Repsol, BP and the EVE, the Basque Energy Board. BBE is an 800 MW combined cycle facility located at the port of Bilbao. Costing 260 million euros in all, the facility was inaugurated in 2003 and is now up and running.

Coming into service slightly later, regasification plant Bahía de Bizkaia Gas, or BBG, now supplies its sister plant BBE with gas. BBG's first phase required an investment of 204 million euros. After recycling the liquid natural gas brought in by specially built tankers, the plant supplies the distribution network as well as the electricity generation facility.

It is worth mentioning the existing Bizkaia Gas BBG-Bahía expansion project, which consists in a third gas storage tank.  In relation to the structure the Euskadour gas pipeline is continuing to be developed, boosted by the Sociedad de Gas de Euskadi and Gaz du Sud-Ouest which intend to connect the French and Basque gas networks through the BBG and Bermeo Gaviota platform.

The decision to invest a total of 15 million euros to develop projects related to wave energy, as a compliment to wind energy, is important in the aim to boost the use of renewable energies.

By energy origin

In addition to these initiatives, Iberdrola's Santurtzi Thermal Plant has been reconverted into an combined cycle plant and two ESB combined cycle plants have been opened in Amorebieta and Zabalgarbi, Bilbao.

Promoted by Irish firm ESB, the new 800 MW power station, baptised as Bizkaia Energía, required an investment of 390 million euros.

Zabalgarbi, controlled by Sener, Spanish construction company FCC, the Vizcaya Provincial Council and local savings bank BBK, among others, is a waste incineration and 90 MW electricity generation plant costing 153 million euros.

In recent years, the regional authorities have placed a lot of faith in wind power, solar energy and biogas. The Elguea-Urquilla wind farm is to be extended shortly, with a further 38 wind turbines being added to the original 40. A farm to be built at Oiz under the Basque Territorial Sector Wind Power Plan is the first of six planned in the near future. Wind power construction company Eólicas de Euskadi, co-owned by Iberdrola and EVE, is to be entrusted with extension and construction work at the two farms.

Basque Energy Board (EVE)

The basic mission of the Basque-Government-backed Grupo Ente Vasco de la Energía (the Basque Energy Board group ) is to guarantee the availability of energy in the Basque Country under the best possible supply safety, cost and environmental impact conditions. EVE is currently concentrating on the production of energy by means of natural gas combined cycle and cogeneration, which are rapidly becoming leading candidates to replace conventional generation methods.

Gas de Euskadi

The Hidrocantábrico group, winner of the privatisation process for the Basque gas sector, kick-started its takeover merger in Naturcorp of Gas de Euskadi, Donostigas, Gas de Asturias, Gas Figueres and Naturcorp Multiservicios, which integrates 50% holdings in natural gas companies Bilbogas and Gasnalsa. Gas Euskadi brought to Naturcorp a long-term natural gas supply contract with Atlantic, promoted by BP, Amoco and Repsol, to exploit gas fields in Trinidad and Tobago. Portuguese group EDP recently took control of 92% of Hidrocantábrico group shares.

Gas Euskadi brings to Naturcorp a long-term natural gas supply contract with Atlantic, promoted by BP, Amoco and Repsol, to exploit gas fields in Trinidad and Tobago.


Iberdrola is Spain’s leading private power company and a major player in Europe’s power industry. With its headquarters still in Bilbao, this dynamic company is obviously also a benchmark enterprise in the Basque regional economy. In recent years, the company has built up a large business group working in five different areas, energy, telecommunications, real estate, customer services and, last but by no means least, the Corporación IBV, a holding company with interests in a wide range of industries and sectors. Iberdrola shares ownership of the IBV corporation with Spanish banking giant BBVA.


Petronor is the other flagship enterprise working in the Basque energy industry. Producing a range of oil- and petrol-based products, Petronor (89% of which is owned by Spanish oil company Repsol) is the Basque Country’s leading exporter. At present, the refinery has two crude distillation units and one FCC cat cracking unit, plus two other smaller units. The Petronor plant at Somorrostro, a few kilometres along the coast from Santurce and Bilbao, employs 900 people and is capable of processing some eleven million tons of crude oil a year, storing more than a million cubic metres of oil in thirteen tanks and a further million more of products concocted in sixty different tanks. All this makes it the largest, most up to date facility to be found anywhere in Spain.

The Energy Cluster

Set up in November 1996, the Energy Cluster Association   has 83 associates accounting for 95% of the GDP generated by the industry in the Basque Country and contributing 30% of the region’s industrial GDP. Cluster associates provide work for 27,000 people and register joint turnover of more than 12,500 million euros in 2004.

Given the complexity of the Basque energy industry, which comprises firms following a variety of strategies in a fairly broad range of areas, the Energy Cluster orients its attention towards finding niches that complement existing activities and coordinating the potential of all its associates towards common objectives. Such objectives include increasing the presence of associates in different markets, setting up business consortia to access large-scale projects with the right guarantees, nosing out investment projects, technological planning and cooperation in R&D and optimising energy resources in the Basque region.

Related Links
Energy Cluster Association
Basque Energy Board (EVE)


Source: Presidency of the Government - General Secretariat for Communication

Fecha de la última modificación: 25/08/2009