Spanish government slashes 2020 wind target by 2GW

SPAIN: Spain's central government intends to cut its 2020 40GW installed wind capacity target by 5% (2GW).

Spanish industry minister Miguel Sebastian: under pressure to lift wind industry cap
Spanish industry minister Miguel Sebastian: under pressure to lift wind industry cap

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The reduction was presented June 15 in the draft National Action Plan (NAP), laying out steps towards meeting the EU's 20% renewables objective to 2020. The announcement coincides with ministry plans to cut incentives to wind power production,

The draft fixes a target of 38GW, a 2GW drop from the 40GW previously envisaged and established in February's cross-party energy proposal, dubbed the Zurbano Pact. Spain currently has nearly 20GW online.

The 2GW cut entirely involves offshore wind, which the Zurbano Pact had set at 5GW. The onshore target remains at 35GW. Existing planning restrictions mean Spain's limited offshore building programme cannot start until 2014.

In terms of energy, the draft NAP earmarks 78,254GWh for wind in 2020, a 6.51% drop on the Zurbano Pact target. The reduction is in spite the NAP's 6% increased estimate in total electricity consumption in 2020, to 317,944GWh. It means wind will cover 24.61% of electricity demand, down from 27.89% under the Zurbano Pact.

Still, renewables will provide 40% of total electricity, as previously targeted. Furthermore, the objective for renewables to cover 22.7% of primary energy consumption remains unchanged. That is 2.7 percentage points above the EU target.

The NAP draft marks the first national wind objective reduction, according to delegates at Madrid's annual wind industry convention, organised by national wind association Asociación Empresarial Eólica (AEE).

Before the Zurbano Pact, the government's only other official action on wind was a Royal Decree in April 2009, capping annual wind capacity 2009-2012, inclusive, at 1.4GW. That is way below national industry capacity, which installed 2.4GW last year.

Meanwhile, the sector continues pressuring Sebastian both to lift the wind capacity cap while negotiating against the clock for the best deal for production incentives.

Rumours abound of drastic cuts to come. "The reduced NAP objective is a lower priority right now but, still, it's another slap in the face for Spanish wind," said a spokesperson AEE, which is yet to publish an official opinion.


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