Spain's renewables association, APPA, has demanded that the national energy board Comisión Nacional de Energia (CNE) "pronounce clearly" on its official stance towards wind power. The demand follows reports in leading newspapers on CNE complaints regarding the destabilising effect of wind power on the national grid and its "excessive cost" to both distributors and consumers. APPA's Manuel de Delás points out that all CNE's reported allegations come from an anonymous "spokesperson" and not any official CNE representative. This is the second time that APPA has come to wind's defence following similar reported CNE allegations (Windpower Monthly, July 2001). Spanish wind power is supported under two different subsidy systems, which wind plant owners choose between: a guaranteed fixed rate of EUR 0.0628/kWh; or a production incentive of EUR 0.0290/kWh paid on top of the general power pool price. The production incentive is the most popular since pool prices are relatively high. Both subsidies are paid by the electricity distribution companies and both are up for review at the end of the year. As a result, Spain's renewables sector is particularly sensitive to political game playing. For De Delás the arguments are clear. Spain's objective of producing 29.4% of electricity from renewable sources by 2010 is far from being realised. Wind power covers around 2% of current electricity demand while total electricity demand is growing at 6% a year. "How could such quantities possibly destabilise the grid?" asks De Delás of the contribution of wind power to the grid. Furthermore, last year's surcharge for green electricity was EUR 336.6 million according to APPA -- a negligible amount compared to the invisible costs in the bill for Spain's nuclear moratorium, coal subsidies, nuclear waste disposal or gas and oil pipelines.
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Senior Renewable Energy Analyst (WindGEMINI Product Lead) DNV GL Bristol (City Centre), City of Bristol