Spain’s government’s is set to approve an ambitious climate law that would underpin the country’s huge renewable energy ambitions and set a course for carbon neutrality by 2050.

The climate bill – which still has to be approved by the Spanish parliament – aims for 70% of the nation’s power to come from renewables by 2030 on the way to a 100%-clean electricity system by 2050, up from about 50% now.

The bill – which enshrines proposals first revealed by Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s government in 2018, but delayed by successive political deadlocks and then the coronavirus pandemic – also includes measures to halt new oil & gas exploration, end fossil fuel subsidies and rapidly exit coal generation.

“Faced with Covid-19, the energy transition will become a strong driving force to generate economic activity and employment in the short term, in a way that fits our needs as a country in the medium and long term,” said energy minister Teresa Ribera.

The Spanish renewables sector is counting on the climate law to re-ignite a national auction programme that has been in the doldrums since 2017, with corporate PPA deals providing the biggest impetus since.

The head of Spain’s wind power association AEE told Recharge earlier in May that the industry is encouraged that the country has a political consensus around net-zero policies – but now needs to get on with putting them into practice if it want to hit deployment targets.

“Our intended goal is that we must reach 50GW of installed wind capacity in Spain by 2030. We are now on 25.7GW, so that means we must develop almost another 25GW during this decade.

“Once the law is introduced then we have the mechanisms in parliament to launch a new auction very fast,” Marquez said. “The wind sector needs an auction calendar so it can get visibility in the short-term and a change to the existing auction design.”

Those changes could include a revamped tendering mechanism that includes elements of the French and German models, he added.

A net-zero law would mean Spain following fellow European nations such as the UK and France in enshrining in law a mid-century goal. It also keeps it in line with the EU’s own ambition to be carbon neutral by 2050.