The Spanish capital was the choice for FECER’s Steering Committee meeting 2015 which took place on September 24th/25th and was dominated by the EU concept for an Energy Union. FECSE, the Spanish member organization, acted as host and succeeded in organizing a highly attractive technical programme prior to the formal meeting.
Jointly with some FECSE officials, the members of FECER’s top body traveled to the Cáceres province, South-West of Madrid, for an introduction into the system of hydro power plants along the river Tajo and for a detailed tour at the Valedecaňas power station. Part two of the technical tour referred to the Almaraz nuclear power plant which produces approx. 9 % of Spain’s electricity demand with two blocks of 1045 MW pressured water reactors. This power plant which started production in 1981 boasts a unique cooling system: the nearby Arrocampo reservoir fed by river Tajo serves both as source of fresh cooling water and the effluent’s cooling facility.
The other day, the Steering Committee meeting took place in FECSE premises and was chaired by FECER president, Thomas H A Schneider. High on the agenda ranked the points as follows:
– Climate and other environmental issues connected to energy production and the positions towards the forthcoming UN climate negotiations in Paris, COP21
– The global “divestment” movement initiated by some major institutional and private investors who question investment in companies with a certain exposure in the fossil fuel value chain
– The launch of the European project “reinventing industrial relations with and for young people: a research applied to energy transition” as a joint exercise of FECER, CFE-CGC Energies and Reseau FIGURE, a network of French universities’ Masters in Engineering
– Funding problems and social issues related to the decommissioning of the Ignalina nuclear power plant in Lithuania
– Latest set of legislative proposals by the European Commission in pursuit of the Energy Union
– The status of negotiations towards the TTIP agreement and
– Considerations on organizing in 2016 a European conference on social issues associated with the energy transition in Brussels.
The Steering Committee expressed its deep concern on the lack of public consideration of social issues in the context of the COP21 negotiations and the EU’s drive towards an Energy Union. It was therefore agreed to set the focus in a forthcoming position paper meant as impulse for the CPO21 negotiations on social and labour issues resulting from the shift towards low-carbon or carbon-free energy systems, respectively.
After a day of intensive discussions, the president concluded the meeting by thanking all participants for their highly constructive contributions and FESCE as hosting organization for its excellent preparations.