Spanish regulator proposes extending wind freeze to 2017

SPAIN: A proposal to extend the Spanish government's moratorium on renewables to 2017 at the earliest will kill the national wind industry claims the sector's national trade body.

The proposal is part of a report by electricity regulator Comisión Nacional de Energía (CNE), aimed at slashing an electricity sector deficit of €24 billion, accrued since 1999.

CNE argues onshore wind, "as the most competitive" renewables technology, will require reduced or even zero subsidies by 2017— depending on how far wind costs have fallen and wholesale electricity prices have risen.

CNE also proposes ending price support mechanisms in place since 1999, by forcing operators of new wind capacity to auction power to the lowest bidder. It even suggests a retrospective reduction in subsidies for existing wind capacity; a measure the industry has always threatened it would fight in court.

Spain's wind industry "will be reduced to importing turbines" if new capacity is delayed to 2017, threatening 30,000 jobs, said national wind association Asociación Empresarial Eólica (AEE).

By AEE calculations, the industry has lost 10,000 jobs since 2009, when the government froze licenses for new wind capacity after 2012.