Spain Ejects Green Energy Lobby
by Alex Morales and Ben Sills, Bloomberg
Spanish renewable-energy companies that once got Europe’s biggest subsidies are deserting the nation after the government shut off aid, pushing project developers and equipment-makers to work abroad or perish.
From wind-turbine maker Gamesa Corp. Tecnologica SA (GAM) to solar park developer T-Solar Global SA, companies are locked out of their home market for new business. These are the same suppliers that spearheaded more than $69 billion of wind and solar projects since 2004 that today supply more than 50 percent of Spain’s power demand on the most breezy and sunny days.
Saddled with a budget deficit more than twice the European Union limit and a ballooning gap between income and costs in its power system, Spain halted subsidies for new renewable-energy projects in January. The surprise move by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy one month after taking office helped pierce investor confidence in stable aid for clean energy across Europe.
“They destroyed the Spanish market overnight with the moratorium,” European Wind Energy Association Chief Executive Officer Christian Kjaer said in an interview. “The wider implication of this is that if Spanish politicians can do that, probably most European politicians can do that.”
Spain’s $69 billion of investment in power capacity from 2004 to 2011 was about triple the spending per capita in the U.S. in that period, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance data and U.S. Census Bureau population estimates. Most of the 2012-2013 spending will be for the legacy of projects approved before the aid cuts to wind, solar, biomass and co-generation.
After four successive reductions in subsidies since then, the government on Jan. 27 this year announced the moratorium on aid for new projects. The next month Spain saw itself drop out of the 10 most attractive markets for renewable-energy investors for the first time, due to reduced aid, on an Ernst & Young ranking. Spain led the list from October 2003 through July 2006.
“What happened in Spain is that abruptly, they changed the industry by changing the policy, and that doesn’t help build a sustainable industry,” said Stephan Ritter, general manager of General Electric Co.’s European renewables unit.
Full story here at Bloomberg
Regarding that last line from Stephen Ritter….who seems clueless about “sustainability”…
A sustainable industry is one that stands and competes on its own, not one that is dependent on the government teat.
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