AEE: Spain risks wind assets, jobs

Draft rules by Spain’s government that set the profitability of renewable energy installations retroactively at an average 7.4% – while simultaneously feed-in tariffs are abolished – could prompt companies to leave the country and provoke more job losses, the Spanish wind power federation AEE warns.

The industry ministry in Madrid this week has sent energy regulators a long-awaited draft of a ministerial decree that will determine hundreds of standards and parameters on which support will be based.

The rules are part of a wider reform of Spain’s energy sector aimed at reducing the country’s so-called “tariff deficit” of more than €26bn ($35bn), which has been accumulated as a result of a years-long disparity between generating costs and state-set electricity prices for consumers.

Companies that enjoyed a greater profitability in the past than the 7.4% of “reasonable profitability” now laid down will receive a lower profit in the future.

Next to the retroactive character of the measure, the AEE also laments that wind parks built before 2005 – or 37% of the country's wind capacity – won’t receive any remuneration at all.

“These are the most damaging rules ever enacted against the wind sector in any country,” the AEE says.

“They’ll prompt the sector to yet more relocation and sales of production asset, as well as further staff reductions.”

Wind energy is the most penalized sector by the energy reform, the AEE complains, despite only receiving a quarter of support.

Ironically, wind energy was Spain’s number-one source of electricity last year, accounting for 20.9% of the country’s electricity consumption.