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Energy> Cleantech 20 Jun 2024

Javier Rodríguez Soler: “BBVA is a great ally for Spanish companies as they take on their sustainable transition and international expansion”

“BBVA is a great ally for Spanish companies as they take on their sustainable transition and international expansion,” remarked Javier Rodríguez Soler, Global Head of Sustainability and CIB at BBVA. His presentation was part of the 41st Seminar organized by Spanish financial press association APIE and titled ‘The role of businesses in the new economy’, being held in Santander. “At BBVA, we support and accompany our clients, and not only multinational firms, but also those companies that need more specific advice to help them continue to grow,” he said.

We must help Spanish SMEs internationalize their business worldwide. This also calls for significant investment in knowledge and only banks with a certain scale can offer this; and that is something that BBVA can certainly do”, he continued. “Banks with an international presence in corporate and investment banking have a unique advantage when it comes to supporting SMEs in Spain and aiding them in their internationalization and decarbonization,” he explained.

BBVA’s Global Head of Sustainability and CIB underscored the bank’s global presence and cross-border business model, something he feels helps corporate and SME clients access the biggest markets. “With a presence in 15 of the 20 largest global economies, we help our clients take advantage of the economic corridors running between Asia, Europe, Latin America and Mexico – United States. This global approach allows us to support the energy transition and unlock investment opportunities,” he added.

The ‘cleantech’ opportunity

“In Europe alone, the European Commission estimates that an investment of €92 billion will be needed in cleantech between 2023 and 2030. Taking into account current levels of public and private investment, there is an estimated investment gap of €50 billion, according to Cleantech for Europe,” Javier Rodríguez Soler stressed.

He feels that “Spain is in a privileged position to take advantage of this wave of investment and become the European hub of new clean technologies, or cleantech, thus leading the decarbonization process.”

“With its abundance of natural resources, low energy costs and levelized cost of electricity in solar and wind energy, Spain is in an ideal position to lead this process,” he added.

According to the report  ‘Industry and Energy Transition Hub’ and analysis by McKinsey, “it is estimated that over 150,000 jobs could be created in Spain thanks to the development of renewable energy and energy efficiency,” noted Javier Rodríguez Soler.

Javier Rodríguez Soler recalled that “BBVA recently launched a global initiative to support the development of new cleantech.” And he explained, the four technologies on which it will focus include: hydrogen and biofuels; energy storage; mobility; and carbon capture technologies. “We have put together a specialized team for this purpose that is distributed across the United States, the United Kingdom and Spain in order to offer our clients financing and advice related to these technologies,” he stated.

The bank has actively participated in several cleantech project finance operations, which Rodríguez Soler named:

  • H2 Green Steel: First green hydrogen-based steel plant
  • Envision: Development of a 9 GW gigafactory in northern France
  • Ricarica: Development of a national network of 2,900 electric vehicle charging stations in Italy
  • Nova Power Bank: 680 MW/2270 MWh energy storage project in California, United States

Javier Rodríguez Soler referred to the decarbonization targets for the bank’s loan portfolio, for which it has established sectoral indicators. The bank recently expanded its interim emission reduction targets for 2030 to include two new sectors: the real estate sector in Spain and the aluminum sector on a global level. They join the list of eight carbon-intensive sectors for which the bank had previously set targets (oil and gas; power generation; automotive; steel; cement; coal; aviation; and shipping).

He also underscored the crucial role that banks play as intermediaries in boosting the economy and the sustainable transition. In order for investments in decarbonization to materialize, “it is essential for governments to create the right environment by building a more certain and reliable sector-specific regulatory framework for climate action, ensuring that the right incentives are in place, facilitating fast-track permitting and implementing policies for fixing carbon prices,” he concluded.