Spanish region imposes visual impact tax on turbines

SPAIN: Spain’s autonomous region of Castile-La Mancha, currently with over 3.7GW online, has voted to clamp a visual impact levy on all wind plants above 5MW.

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The levy is set at 1.6% of plant generation income for existing and new capacity. The regional government’s vice president, María Luisa Araújo, expects the levy to net €15 million annually and for it to be in force before 2012.

South central Castile-La Mancha is the second region to establish such a tax. Galicia, in the north, enforced a "landscape impact" levy in 2009, currently facing a legal appeal from the regional wind association.

National wind association, Asociación Empresarial Eólica (AEE), told Windpower Monthly it is considering legal action against the Castile-La Mancha levy.

The association argues the levy unfairly discriminates against wind, while overlooking the visual impact of other industries.

For a sector already hit by reduced wind production incentives and increasing business taxation, the levy could act as a last straw, said AEE, repelling developer investment.

Araújo disagrees: "No company has expressed doubts about maintaining investments in the region."

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