Welcome to IEA Wind Member Country Activities for Spain

Installed wind capacity in Spain reached 22,785 MW in 2012 with the addition of 1,112 MW, according to the Spanish Wind Energy Association’s (AEE) Wind Observatory. The growth has been similar to 2011, which had an increase of 1,050 MW. Spain is the fourth country in the world in terms of installed capacity and produced 48,156 GWh of electricity from wind in 2012.

In 2012, Spain’s electrical energy demand decreased 1.8% from 2011 to 269.16 TWh. Wind energy met 17.8 % of this demand and was the third largest contributing technology in 2012. Other big contributors to the system were nuclear power plants (22.2%), coal (19.8%) and gas combined-cycle power plants (13.9%) (Figure 1).
During 2011, the government implemented new decreases to incentives for wind energy so that the wind sector would share the burden of helping the country to reduce its subsidy bill for green energy. Spain’s landmark renewable energy law, 661/2007, only governs wind power prices for new projects through 2012. A draft decree sent to the national energy commission in September sets out the proposed regulations after 2012. However, lobbyists are arguing that the 2020 target will not be achieved if the bill is passed.

The decision on the draft decree was deferred to the new government elected in November 2011. The conservative party won the elections and the first decisions will be how to end the national deficit created partially by the feed-in-tariff (FIT) system. A new law came early in 2012, Royal Decree-Law 1/2012, temporarily (the duration was not established) suspending pre-allocation incentives for new energy production projects using, among others, renewable energy. The justification, based on the economic crisis and on the financial difficulties in the electricity industry, was to halt a reward system that involved a substantial cost for the electricity system, causing the tariff deficit; in particular, limiting the impact of renewable premiums in the tariff deficit, reducing costs in this way.

This measure would not affect projects registered in the Pre-Allocation Registry at the time the Law was passed (January 2012). At that time, there were around 1,900 MW of wind projects registered. Slightly more than 1,100 MW were deployed during 2012, so about 800 MW could be installed. For about 450 MW promoters have declared that they cannot be built under the current rules due to problems beyond the control of the promoters (delays in the planning of the transport network and distribution lines, administrative difficulties, etc.). This means that, with valid green moratorium, only around 350 MW of wind power remain installable in Spain under the current rules in 2013 and 2014. However, the Royal Decree-Law 2/2013 adopted by the government in 2013, assumes that all wind farms will compulsorily adopt the regulated rate and reduces the update settings of incentives. Given the loss of return implied by the new rules, the installation of these remaining wind farms is threatened.

In conclusion, it will be necessary to clarify the future regulatory framework in the wind sector without further delay if Spain is to reach 38,000 MW in 2020, the goal of the NREAP sent by the Spanish government in Brussels last June. Read the entire report here.