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Daniel de la Rosa: Burgos is an unrivalled industrial power, also oriented towards sustainable transition

Daniel de la Rosa: Burgos is an unrivalled industrial power, also oriented towards sustainable transition

An interview with the mayor of Burgos (Spain)

Daniel de la Rosa has a degree in Management and Public Administration and a Degree in Political Science and Administration, both of which from the University of Burgos.

His political career began in the Socialist Youth, a group of which he held the General Secretariat from 2005 to 2008. In 2007 he acceded to the Burgos City Council as a councillor being part of the Socialist municipal group until the end of the term in 2011. In the May 2015 elections, he was elected a councillor again and became a spokesman for the Socialist group at the Burgos City Council.

In 2019 he ran in the local elections as the PSOE candidate for mayor of Burgos, a platform that obtained eleven councillors. He became the mayor of Burgos on 15 June that year. He is also the president of the Spanish Network of Healthy Cities at the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces.

Mr Mayor, how would you describe Burgos in your own words?

Burgos is not only a historical city, but also, it is above all a city for the future of the new generations here. An industrial and service-oriented city, which is friendly, with a high quality of life and an unparalleled social, economic and cultural projection of opportunities.

What are the main economic sectors of Burgos?

Burgos is one of the most industrialized cities in Spain in terms of its Gross Domestic Product. The main sector is car-making and car components: a leading multinational company such as the Grupo Antolín was founded and has its main headquarters in Burgos. In addition, there are others, such as Bridgestone, Benteler, Grupo Bekaert and many more. Other sectors that have a presence here are: agri-food (Campofrío, Pepsico, Mahou - San Miguel), chemical (Adisseo, Kronospan, the National Mint and Stamp Factory, L'Oréal) and metallurgy (Ferroli , Nicolás Correa, Gonvarri, NC Hiperbaric).

What is the current progress in the construction of the Burgos Technology Park and how is this investment expected to change the landscape of the local economy?

The many years of its delay emphasize even more that it is something totally necessary for our city, a community that has an irrevocable and acknowledged innovative vocation. There are many companies that lead innovation in their respective fields and that have contributed and are contributing knowledge so we can advance fundamentally in terms of sustainable development.

Here are some examples of applied innovation. Hiperbaric with their high-pressure technologies and now also with their use of green hydrogen. Kronospan, a company that uses 100% recycled wood. L'Oreal with their own water circuit that allows them not to burden the public network, are some examples of innovation applied to sustainability.

What role will green hydrogen play in reshaping the industrial sector here? Why is Burgos a suitable place to implement this new energy source?

As I said before, the city of Burgos is an unrivalled industrial power, but it also has a strong orientation towards sustainable transition. Ours is the province with the largest wind power plant and resulting production. It is also on an upward trend in the implementation of photovoltaic parks thanks to the 2000 hours of sunshine per year that we enjoy and, as another example, there are large amounts of usable biomass both of plant and livestock origin.

In addition to that, there are pioneering initiatives regarding the use of waste, such as the recent installation of the first industrial plant for the production of biomethane from agri-food waste that will produce and inject 20 GWh per year of biomethane into the Spanish Gas System (the equivalent of a reduction in emissions of around 30,000 tonnes of CO2).

All of the above has been an impulse for the Burgos City Council to promote and drive the Renewable Hydrogen Valley project for Industry & Mobility in Burgos, led by Hiperbaric and the University of Burgos, since the idea was born more than a year ago. This project proposes a set of activities oriented towards the decarbonization of the economy and the fulfilment of the 2030/2050 objectives set out by the Spanish Ministry in the “Hydrogen Roadmap”.

It covers the entire renewable hydrogen value chain: generation (from renewable electrical energy: wind and solar), high-pressure storage and distribution, and consumption (in new industrial applications and in mobility). The main objectives are to reduce the carbon footprint of associated industrial processes and promote sustainable mobility, both in urban areas and in road freight transport.

Burgos was the first to implement a public bicycle rental service in Spain as early as 2006. Currently, in terms of sustainable mobility, what initiatives is the City Council undertaking to stay at the forefront?

In the last two years, Burgos has been experiencing a boost to its bike lane network with the creation of new sections and connections between existing ones. In addition, two cycling routes were implemented that allow us to cross the city on two axes and, shortly, we will have an electric scooter rental service similar to the bicycle rental service. New parking spaces for bicycles and personal mobility vehicles are being installed on the road and the possibility of creating covered structures where you park these vehicles is being studied.

But also, in addition to promoting bicycle use, a new network of much more efficient bus lines has been implemented, the fleet continues to be modernized with natural gas and electric buses.

Still on the subject of mobility, when do you expect the high-speed train service to become a reality in Burgos?

I am confident that the deadline announced by the Minister will be met, which would mean that, in a few months, the sale of tickets can begin. Of course, we must not settle for this achievement alone and we will continue to demand the continuation of the high-speed railways even further northward in Spain.

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