New state energy secretary Nieto welcomed

The investiture last month of Ignasi Nieto as new state energy secretary is seen as good news by the Spanish wind sector, still reeling from the news that the entire legal basis of the wind power market will no longer be operational after January 1 (Windpower Monthly, September 2006). With no word as yet from government about how wind power prices will be set from next year, the entire industry is choosing to lie low and wait for a new set of rules from Nieto, scheduled for approval in January. Carlos Rojo of the Andalucia Wind Energy Association points to Nieto's broad experience as director at electricity regulator Comision Nacional de Energia (CNE), which helped push through the Spanish wind law. Nieto replaces Antonio Fernandez Segura, renowned in the industry for a personal crusade against wind power which did not reflect government policy. The success of the Spanish law means that wind prices have been 30% higher than budgeted by government, with renewables, mostly wind, contributing EUR 600 million to an electricity sector deficit of £3.6 billion in 2005. Anti-inflation rules in Spain ban the passing on of rising electricity generation costs to customers.

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