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Wind Energy

An ill wind in Spain

WinpowerWorks/ Sisse Brimberg & Cotton Coulson

WinpowerWorks/ Sisse Brimberg & Cotton Coulson

At the end of 2012, the country’s total in-stalled capacity was somewhere between 22,500 and 22,800 MW.

Reiner Wandler, 7 Mar 13
Spain’s wind industry is stagnating. Based on provisional figures, industry association AEE is assuming that the total capacity of turbines installed in 2012 amounted to 1,000 to 1,200 megawatts (MW). That means that wind energy has had another bad year.

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.”

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