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Ten years promoting universal energy access

Comillas ICAI celebrates the tenth anniversary of the Mesa de Acceso Universal a la Energía 

A panel discussion at a conference with four panelists, including three men and one woman, seated at a table with microphones and water bottles, in front of a presentation screen displaying names and titles.

17 June 2024

ICAI hosted the event to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Mesa de Acceso Universal a la Energía (MAUE), of which it is a founding member, with the participation of leading representatives of the Spanish energy industry. Among others, Sara Aagesen, the Secretary of State for Energy of the Ministry for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge, and Carmen Becerril, who closed the event, were there.

"Since ICAI was founded in 1908, energy has always been one of our priority areas of activity, both in teaching and in research and transfer. It is therefore not surprising that, given the nature and social focus of our institution, universal access to energy is one of our priority lines of work", said Antonio Muñoz, Director of Comillas ICAI. For this reason, he continued, "we fully share the objective of advancing in the collaboration for universal access to energy and against energy poverty, and from the School we offer you all the support we can give you".

Energy and access to it has a lot to do with the environment, as Aagesen said in her speech. "Achieving the great challenge of combating climate change and pollution has a lot to do with what we do with energy, but also when we talk about poverty or access to energy, we are talking about the development agenda and the energy agenda, which has to do with people's well-being". The Secretary of State stressed that "talking about access to energy and energy poverty has to do with how we accelerate this energy transition also with a deployment of renewables, which is the cheapest way to produce distributed and local energy, which reduces pollution and improves health".

The conference was divided into three sessions in which the cases of access to energy in Latin America, Africa and Europe were discussed. In the case of Latin America, the speakers agreed that providing access to electricity in isolated areas is not a political priority because the population is living below the poverty line and it is not a business to invest. "The problem is to reach the last mile," they said, "and we must ensure that the development of electrification is based on renewable sources".

On Africa, Ignacio Pérez Arriaga, lecturer at Comillas ICAI and founder of the IIT, said that "it is necessary to modify regulatory models" and added that "European immigration policy does not seem to be the most appropriate measure; it is necessary to promote human and economic development", especially when it is predicted that by 2050 there will be one billion more people living in sub-Saharan Africa.

In the case of Europe, the last round table analysed the current situation of energy poverty in Europe and Spain in the context of the energy transition.

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