The Spanish wind energy sector under strain

The government is due to make radical amendments to its incentive system, but has yet to disclose its intentions even though the system set up under the terms of Royal Decree 661/2007 expires on 31 December 2012.

Its announcement of a moratorium made on 27 January 2012 to suspend bonuses for new wind farm installations under the special scheme, puts additional strain on the Spanish wind energy sector.

The developers’ lack of vision less than twelve months from the current incentive system’s expiry date, is dissuading them from embarking on new wind turbines projects.

The Spanish wind energy association (Asociación Empresarial Eólica – AEE) has reminded its government that paralysing the wind energy sector would seriously mar the development and competitiveness of the Spanish wind energy industry. The industry provides employment to more than 30,000 people in Spain and has also made its mark as a clean technology exporter with more than 2 billion euros’ worth of export sales in 2011.

The AEE’s preliminary estimates of Spain’s installed capacity indicate that by the end of 2011 the capacity to date was 21,673 MW. When we compare this with the official 2010 data published at the end of 2011 (20 759 MW according to the IDAE – Institute for Energy Diversification and Saving), the additional capacity installed during 2011 was 914 MW. After an excellent year in 2010, electricity output in 2011, estimated by REE (Red Eléctrica de España) at 42.1 TWh (provisionally) was down from 44.2 TWh in 2010 according to IDAE.