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Spain

Spain

A strategy without details and cash

A strategic plan for renewable energy in Spain, the Plan de Fomento de las Energias Renovables, underlines the Spanish government's commitment to achieving the European Union's target for renewables to meet 12% of energy consumption by 2010, with ESP 1.6 trillion (EUR 9.6 billion) in funding. But like the EU White Paper which sets the 12% target, the Spanish plan appears to be singularly lacking in economic detail.

A supposed strategic plan for renewable energy in Spain, launched by the government's energy diversification agency, is so lacking in detail - particularly on its financing - that the Socialist opposition party, PSOE, is calling for an explanation. The Plan de Fomento de las Energias Renovables was approved by the cabinet on December 30, only one day before the government's sudden announcement of an across-the-board cut in renewable energy tariffs (main story).

According to industry minister Josep Pique, the plan underlines the Spanish government's commitment to achieving the European Union's target for renewables to meet 12% of energy consumption by 2010. But like the EU White Paper which sets the 12% target, the Spanish plan appears to be singularly lacking in economic detail. Pique claims the Plan de Fomento de las Energias Renovables makes ESP 1.6 trillion (EUR 9.6 billion) available for renewables development in Spain. This sum, however, is clearly not forthcoming from the government.

Neither was the Plan de Fomento de las Energias Renovables available for public perusal three weeks after its release. Moreover, the industry ministry declines to comment on its contents. What details that are available are derived from a draft copy of the bill, which has been circulating in the industry for several months.

Some of those involved in the debate believe the plan will probably be instigated in two stages, the first leading up to 2006 and the second from 2006 to 2010. Reportedly, EUR 6.6 billion of the plan's funding, throughout both stages, will be provided by the private sector, while the Spanish government expects the EU's structural funds up to 2006 to meet part of the rest.

In an effort to find out, among other things, whether these substantial sums are really forthcoming or not, PSOE has officially asked for an explanation from Pique. He was to have provided this to a parliamentary commission on industry, energy and tourism, but with the dissolution of parliament last month prior to Spain's March general election, it could take some while before full details of the plan's financing emerge.

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