Spain announces 3GW auction

SPAIN: The recently appointed People's Party (PP) government has announced it will launch an auction for 3GW of renewables capacity at the start of 2017.

New Spanish energy minister Alvaro Nadal (pic: People's Party)
New Spanish energy minister Alvaro Nadal (pic: People's Party)

Energy minister Alvaro Nadal made the announcement in parliament on Tuesday (14 December), saying the auction will be launched "in the first weeks of 2017".

The decision follows the second year running with zero new wind capacity installed in Spain's once roaring wind market. Currently, Spain has 23GW online but was plunged into stagnation in 2012 from cuts to wind subsidies imposed by the previous PP-led legislature (2011-2016).

All renewables may enter what Nadal called the "technology neutral" auction, explaining the winners will simply be those generators offering the lowest price for energy.

While industry association AEE claimed wind still offers the lowest cost of energy among renewables, it says it cannot predict that technology's potential share of the 3GW, as the auction terms and conditions have not been discussed with any of the renewables sectors.

AEE also said it has received no notification of construction starting on any of the 500MW of wind capacity allocated in Spain's only previous renewables auction, held January 2016.

At the time, renewables association APPA had doubted whether any would eventually be built due to what it saw as unviably low bids. APPA has called for clearer regulation to make auctions viable.

With the 2017 auction, Nadal — the twin brother of Alberto Nadal, former energy secretary and architect of the previous government's energy reforms — said he aims to comply with Spain's EU commitment to meet 20% of total energy consumption with renewables.

He confirmed renewables currently meet 17.3% of total energy and 41% of electricity consumption.

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