Wind power in Spain: AEE announces high risk of thousands of jobs loses due to the wind sector paralysis

The Spanish Wind Energy Association announced the risk of thousands of jobs loses in the wind sector due to the paralysis of the sector that has resulted from the creation of the Register of Pre Assignment (RDL 6 / 2009 of May 6) and its resolution. For seven months the manufacturers have not received any new orders from the promoters because they have had to wait until Tuesday December 15 to see if their projects were included in that register.

The Ministry of Industry announced the registration of 6,389 wind MW, on the other hand, the wind energy industry claims that more than half, 4,042 MW are already built or under construction, so it cannot be considered new power and that means that the wind energy industry work load for the next three years is limited to 780 MW a year with the aggravating factor that the absence of a new regulatory framework to replace the RD 661 / 2007 leaves no outlook beyond 2012.

The president of the Spanish Wind Energy Association, Jose Donoso, has said in a press conference that the situation is "very worrying". He was accompanied by the vice presidents of the association, representatives of manufacturers and a large number of members who wanted to support the sector´s complaint.

AEE wants to highlight that wind power, which this year will cover around 14 per cent of the electrical demand and will become the third technology of the system, has grown in line with the expectations of the Renewable Energy Plan and that under no circumstances it was necessary the establishment of the Register of Pre Assignment to "put in order" the final stage to achieve its objectives having the right to adhere to the framework of the RD 661/2007, as intended by the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade.

AEE has reminded that wind energy has created an industry that has important socio-economic returns and employs over 40,000 people, and has stated that in recent months over five thousand jobs have been lost and that in 2010 this figure could increase to forty percent of those currently available.

Lack of regulation

The current situation is compounded by the absence of a regulatory framework to replace the RD 661/2007 and leaves no outlook to projects -for the first time in the development of renewable energies in our country. In the case of wind energy, this gap is especially important since the periods of development maturation of a farm are of five to seven years and hence all the farms to be installed from 2012 onwards should at least have a policy framework so developers can make their decisions.

AEE urges the Government -it has been an agreement of the Council of Ministers that has approved the amount and distribution of the power in three phases- to bring forward part of the quota from 2011 to 2010, about 700 MW, and the entire 2012 quota to 2011 so that the wind energy industry regains activity rhythm and avoids the potential relocation of key factories that would place the domestic industry at a disadvantage situation against competition in the coming years.

Moreover, the sector claims the approval of a special call for the facilities in operation before April 30 2010 and that have been kept outside the register for not complying with one of the requirements of the Article 4 of the Royal Decree-Law 6 / 2009, requirements that the developer did not know when the construction of those facilities began.

Therefore, AEE also requests the approval of the new decree to regulate its activity in the first quarter of next year and for it to come into force at the opening of the latest facilities benefiting from the RD 661/2007.

At the same time, the 2011-2020 Renewable Energy Plan must be approved. This plan should enable the achievement of the European objectives that appeared in the Directive for the Promotion of Renewable Energies approved in 2009 and that forces Spain to ensure that 20 percent of the final energy is from renewable sources, which will only be achieved with a significant contribution of wind energy, the most effective and efficient technology among renewable energies.

Spain’s installed wind power capacity reached 18,119 MW in 2009, up 2,682 MW from 2008’s level, according to grid operator Red Electrica de Espana (REE). According to an advance version of REE’s 2009 power market report, wind energy covered 13% of demand in 2009, compared to 11%, overtaking coal for the first time. Renewable energy as a whole covered 26% of demand, compared to 24% in 2008, with solar contributing 3%.