An ill wind in Spain
Spain put just 1,050 MW online in 2011. In 2007 (the year before the crisis hit), capacity grew by 3,518 MW. At the end of 2012, the country’s total in-stalled capacity was somewhere between 22,500 and 22,800 MW. “The real crisis is going to hit us in 2013,” says Heikki Willstedt, director of energy policy at AEE. He thinks that new farms built this year will only reach between 300 and 600 MW. The culprit? The suspension of feed-in tariffs that has been in force since early 2012. On top of that, Spain has introduced a new tax on electricity production. Nicknamed the “Soria tax” after the minister for industry, the levy is set at seven percent for all technologies.
AEE has calculated that, with a total business volume of EUR 3.5 billion per year, wind farm operators stand to lose EUR 300 million in income. But Willstedt remains cautiously optimistic. He is taking the silver-lining approach to the crisis by calling on the industry to use it as an opportunity to introduce “imaginative new business models” that will help wind power grow even without feed-in tariffs. “If we can do that, it will mean we’re a big step ahead of our competitors who are still receiving funding.”