Europe 2020: Renewable Energy Plans - Offshore development hit in disappointing plan

SPAIN: Although Spain still expects to surpass its 20% renewable energy target by 2020, the country's National Renewable Energy Action Plan has shaved 2GW off the previously accepted 2020 wind power capacity target of 40GW.

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This 5% cut affects only offshore installations and leaves less than 18GW of new capacity to be built by the deadline, over and above the 20.2GW expected to be online this year.

The 40GW figure, cited for more than a year by the government, had seemed secure after it was upheld in February's energy proposal, known as the Zurbano Pact.

The national wind industry body, Asociacion Empresarial Eolica (AEE), describes the plan's wind objective as less ambitious than it should be. This is as far as AEE will go publicly because of the sensitivity of parallel negotiations with the industry ministry to set a new production incentive for wind power after 2012. A leading AEE member says that, given the stream of reports on leaked ministry plans to slash production incentives for wind, the reduced objective is a lower priority right now - especially as the affected segment, offshore, will have nothing online until 2014.

In terms of energy production, the plan allocates 78.25TWh for wind in 2020, a 6.51% drop on the Zurbano Pact target, despite the 6% estimated increase in total electricity consumption by 2020. Wind will cover 24.61% of electricity demand, down from 27.89% under Zurbano (see table).

Still, renewables retain the previous target of providing 38-40% of electricity by 2020, largely because of a boom in solar photovoltaic and thermoelectric power. The document highlights that achieving the renewables targets depends on extending to 10GW the country's interconnection capacity with other states; current links are at a restrictive 3GW. Completion of a 2GW line with France is expected by 2014 and agreements exist for another similar line. The remaining 3GW largely relies on negotiations with Morocco.

Spain scales back wind goals

How the Spanish NREAP has changed the 2020
2020 Wind Zurbano NREAP
Targets Pact
Total capacity 40GW 38GW
Onshore 35GW 35GW
Offshore 5GW 3GW
% Electricity 27.89 24.61
Energy production 83.34TWh 78.25TWh

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