Sunday, August 11, 2013

Spain seeks to charge for on-site renewables

Spain to tax renewable energy which is likely to wipe out 75% of the country’s uneconomic wind and solar farms. (TA)
Spain's renewable energy industry has hit out against government energy market reforms that could force homeowners to pay for the right to generate renewable energy.

The Spanish government unveiled a draft bill last month that aims to curb payments to solar power generators, the rate of which has surged thanks to feed-in tariff payments in the sun-drenched country.

According to Bloomberg, domestic renewable energy installations smaller than 10kW in capacity will have to pay the levy, which industry experts estimate will push up the cost of generation by 27 per cent.

A consultation on the wide-ranging reforms prompted an angry response from the solar and wind power businesses, which emerged as the consultation period ended last week.

The government argues the reforms are needed because the country has too much solar power capacity, with total capacity exceeding peak demand by 60 per cent.

But the Spanish Wind Energy Association (AEE) said the changes in their current form are retroactive, discriminatory and arbitrary and would have a profound impact on the industry.

"AEE considers that if the regulation is passed in the current terms, the impact would be out of proportion and the sector could suffer a cascade of financial problems, manufacturing plants closures and job destruction," it said in a statement on Thursday.

"It introduces new uncertainty elements and legal insecurity and it is extremely unfair with the wind energy sector."

The proposals have also been slammed by Spain's solar union (UNEF), which argued they would force up the cost of solar power beyond the cost of buying electricity from the grid. As solar costs have fallen by eight per cent in the past five years, many consumers now find it cheaper to create their own power than buy it from the grid.

"The decree is an attack to market freedom that aims to prevent people from competing with established utilities," Jose Donoso, managing director of UNEF, told Bloomberg. "It's like if they charged you when you turn off electric heaters and use a wood stove."

"We're not asking for subsidies, just that the new fee is scrapped," Donoso said. "Such a tax doesn't exist anywhere in the world."

Syndicated from Business Green

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