Pedro Fresco (València, 1981) is one of the main energy disseminators in Spain. He is currently the General Director of the Valencian Association of the Energy Sector. Previously he was an advisor to the Ministry of Ecological Transition and later Director of Ecological Transition of the Generalitat Valenciana, a position from which he was removed by Compromís due to differences in criteria regarding the extension of renewable plants.

His opinions are always limited, direct, and conclusive. And because of this he has great allies and critics. Now he has published “Energy Fakes, myths and hoaxes about the energy transition” (Barlin Libros) where he dismantles and questions a multitude of falsehoods about an issue, energy, which, as he himself says, affects all areas of society.

After reading your book I have assumed that I am another victim of a multitude of “fakes” around energy.

We are all victims of fake news, of things we don’t know, and it is easy to fall into hoaxes or myths. These lies about energy are very present for two reasons: it is something essential for economic and social transformation, and decarbonization is a new industrial revolution that will generate winners and losers, profound economic changes; It also touches on business and personal interests. The part that magnifies victimhood is that, being a technical issue, it is difficult to see when you are being taken for a ride, even if you are a professional it can happen to you, because specialization means that we understand a lot about small areas when the world of energy is very broad and complex.

It happens that large companies, governments from around the world and parties collaborate in the creation of these fakes.

That’s how it is. There is fake news that is spread for economic interest. The first hoaxes against climate change were manufactured by big oil companies in the 70s and 80s; and then we have the political part that generates fakes from the institutions themselves. The energy transition attacks many political prejudices, not only from an ideological sector, because even antagonistic sectors, from the right and the left, share and promote these fakes so as not to change their perspective of the world. It is a crossfire of prejudices, which means that many lies end up being assumed as great truths.

Is the mother of all energy fake news climate change denial?

Climate change denialism is a germinal fake that later leads to many more concrete and limited fakes. The list is long, because from the main fake, others emerge about renewable energies, electric vehicles, and a long etcetera, which are present in our daily lives. Climate denialism is the initial fake that began due to economic interests, but the curious thing is to see how these fakes, which have been circulating for decades, mutate, change, and groups that apparently have nothing to do with the first ones end up adopting them, making them their own, and repeating them. . It is striking how fakes that the radical right have made their own are used by extreme left groups, simply because they understand that the truth does not fit with their worldview.

When you were removed from the Generalitat Valenciana the underlying issue was your criticism of Compromís’ idea that it was enough to put panels on the roofs to generate sufficient renewable energy. You make it clear in the book that the sufficiency of this solution is impossible.

From certain political positions and from certain worldviews it was easier to believe in that despite it being technically something that was not supported. In certain sectors of the left that define themselves as environmentalists, there is a certain rejection of the occupation of territory by renewables and the alteration of landscapes. They start from the idea that, since you don’t like this, you want to believe any excuse, even if it’s a hoax like this one. It’s that ‘I want to combat climate change but I don’t want to occupy territory’, and this is incompatible. As a member of the Valencian administration, it was frustrating to try to explain to colleagues in the Generalitat that this was not true, that it was impossible, with numbers that are irrefutable, but I found people reluctant to something that falls apart in half a minute and that I explain in my book.

This controversy is associated with another, that renewable solar and wind plants in the territory destroy biodiversity.

The logic of seeking zero impact is a paralyzing logic. Nothing has zero impact. Our own existence does not have zero impact, and if we want zero impact we should all die. What we are looking for is the minimum possible impact, and among all the actions that we can develop, the one that has the least possible impact is renewable energy. Any defense of the biodiversity of the landscape, of agriculture, points out that its worst enemy, the most powerful, is climate change. Because it is climate change that, in the end, will not allow cultivation, will extinguish most species and will generate serious alterations in the ecosystem. This is difficult to understand for public opinion, because we are talking about future impacts with current impacts. It is more comfortable to do nothing so as not to assume the current impact, no matter how improvable it may be for the future. It is an easy trap for human beings. Renewables do not have a zero impact, but they are very low impacts, and there is no other way if we want to win the battle. Not taking that path is called climate retardation, and we can pay dearly for it.

Is the pace of construction of renewable energy plants adequate?

At the level of solar energy it is adequate worldwide, not in the Valencian Community, where we are extremely behind. At the wind level it is low and so is biogas. The best proof that the pace is not adequate is that the previous climate conference set the goal of tripling the speed of renewable energy generation.

In your book you dismantle the hoax that China does nothing for renewables.

This comes a lot from the learnings we all have from the past. All countries are dual regarding renewables. China had a moment in the late 90s and around 2010 where its use of coal was exponential, radical, and that is why it was the country that polluted the most. But starting in 2010 it began to change its chip, considering pollution a problem, moving coal plants away from cities, avoiding cars, and in fact China is the one that has improved its air quality the fastest. And at the same time, China becomes aware of climate change and approaches it from an interesting point of view: here comes a new technology, a new revolution and I am going to be the first to not only install it, but also to manufacture it. That is why it is the world’s first renewable factory, the leader, the factory of the energy transition.

I present five statements that are very present in social dialogue: the first is that nature does not have enough resources to generate enough renewable energy. True or false.

Fake. The capacity of natural energy is enormous. I give the example in the book that one hour of solar radiation absorbed by the planet is enough to satisfy all of humanity’s energy consumption. Obviously, we cannot capture everything, but it tells us what capabilities we can achieve. In the book I offer the maximum metrics with today’s technology, but technology will improve and we can more than multiply the capture of natural energy.

oil runs out

It is a fake that we have been hearing for 40 years; There are still the same years ahead as 40 years ago because more resources are discovered. It is an argument trap: what we know is not what exists.

We must decrease to stop climate change

This is based on a prejudice, which comes from the 70s, which stated that economic growth created pollution and if we continued to grow we would exhaust resources. This is not real. I show that there are many countries that have great economic growth and have lower environmental impacts. The economy has changed and so has its logic.

Nuclear yes, nuclear no

Nuclear? Depends on the country. I am not for or against, but what I am saying is that nuclear is an energy that has been stagnant for 40 years and that today is infinitely more expensive than its renewable alternatives, and that is why it is in decline except in China.

Green hydrogen is not a solution

It’s always going to be more expensive than electricity because it starts from electricity. It will not be the cheapest alternative, but we will be able to use it in those places where electricity does not offer us a solution, either because we do not have it available in wiring or due to energy density. I have no doubt that it will have its place in the economy, but just by using green hydrogen where we now use hydrogen that we get from natural gas we would already have an important market.

The Castellón cluster could be fundamental for the future

It makes sense because oil refineries use gray hydrogen and it must be replaced with green hydrogen; and because that area has enormous use of natural gas by the ceramic industry with many difficulties for electrification. Green hydrogen is a logical option.

By the way, Vox denies climate change and is in the institutions where it can make decisions.

Unfortunately climate change has become a political issue for some groups. Denial is a position of the radical right and is the saddest thing for science. Science is denied because ideologically it is good for you to spread conspiracy theories. It already happened in the 20s and 30s of the last century. That thought, which was anti-intellectualism, was typical of the extreme right that attacked knowledge. Today, in another century, these forces once again attack science and climate change, which is established internationally, to spread their conspiracy theories.

Will green energy be more expensive?

Today the two cheapest ways to generate energy are solar and wind, and solar energy is the cheapest way humanity has ever had.

By the way, a serious crisis has opened in the car sector in Europe due to the adaptation to electrification. Is the electric car unquestionable?

The electric car has already won the technological battle. The next generations will be electric. In this matter we have had a problem: when China was betting on this technology ten years ago, here we tried to maintain diesel. That has led us to the current situation, where the entire European industry is trapped between Tesla and Chinese brands, with more powerful and competitive economies of scale. The industry is scared, logically, because an error in perspective was made. It is inevitable to bet heavily on the electric car and try to recover the years of backwardness that we have been behind.