Gas Natural abandons wind development in Spain

SPAIN: Spanish utility Gas Natural has abandoned all wind construction plans in Spain, despite being the only company to defy government cuts to renewables subsidies.

Bad news for wind - Gas Natural CEO Rafael Villaseca
Bad news for wind - Gas Natural CEO Rafael Villaseca

Gas Natural announced it would build some new capacity, despite government cuts. The company commissioned its 14MW Montouto project in the northwest - the only new commercial capacity to be built in mainland Spain last year.

"Conditions are nowhere near good enough," Gas Natural's CEO Rafael Villaseca concluded this week before shareholders. His message appears to confirm wind association AEE's message that Spain's new wind market is verging on the non-existent.

Last year, Gas Natural announced 308MW of its 449MW portfolio remained viable. All those projects, including Montouto, were in in Galicia, Spain's windiest region.

As established by last year's rules for new wind capacity, Montouto trades with no support on the wholesale electricity market, which experienced unexpectedly low prices last year.

The only alternative route for new wind capacity, a subsidy set at 7.5% of a plant's estimated pre-tax turnover, has so far had no takers, according to wind association AEE. This is largely because new generation taxes offset any subsidy income.

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