Costs force Spain to cut 2020 offshore projection

SPAIN: The Spanish government plans to slash Spain's projected 2020 offshore wind capacity to 750MW, a cut of 85 percent on the 5GW targeted five years ago.

The move is part of the Spanish government’s Renewable Energy Plan (REP) 2011-2020. It reduction is due to the higher installation costs associated with offshore wind.

The REP—which plans a €61 billion overall investment in all renewables technologies during the period—flies in the face of Spain’s National Renewable Energy Plan (NREAP) submitted last year to the European Commission.

The NREAP promised Spain would install 3GW offshore to 2020 to meet EU’s objectives. That NREAP target had already marked a 2GW cut on the government’s previously stated 5GW guideline for offshore wind.

Industry ministry officials outlined the REP May 13 at Madrid’s energy exhibition, Genera. It said the full document would be publicly available "as soon as possible", following a consultation period with regional governments and industry representatives.

National wind association, Asociación Empresarial Eólica (AEE) called the plan "not ambitious but reasonable given the economic situation".  AEE praises the REP’s upholding of the 35GW NREAP target for onshore wind (Spain had 20.6GW online end-2010, all onshore).

Nevertheless, the association "laments" the 2.25GW cut in offshore did not translate to an increase onshore. More onshore wind could only save the electricity system money, said the AEE, arguing the REP expects wind to be competitive, without subsidies, by 2014.

While the REP does not outline the new pay mechanism for wind after the current one expires end-2012, AEE says the draft foresees a cap on the amount of generation eligible to incentives annually. The association claims the measure will "discourage improvements in turbine efficiency".

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