Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
  Solar Energy News  

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

Spain wants to retake lead in renewable energy
Madrid (AFP) Dec 13, 2015

A former global champion of renewable energy, Spain wants to make up the ground it lost during the economic crisis when it reversed its policy slashing subsidies and decimating the sector.

With roughly 300 days of sunshine per year and regions that receive strong winds, Spain was a world leader in 2007-08 in solar and wind power production, helped by generous state subsidies.

But the sharp economic downturn that followed the collapse of a decade-long property bubble in 2008 put the brakes on the development of renewable energy as the government scaled back support.

Jorge Puebla, a 41-year-old firefighter, suffered the fallout from his energy investment.

"They ruined my life," the father of two told AFP.

He and his wife had invested a million euros ($1.1 million dollars) in 2007 in a solar energy farm in the northeastern region of Castile and Leon.

They borrowed 800,000 euros from a bank with Puebla's parents acting as the loan guarantors.

Solar investors like Puebla were lured by a law passed under the Socialist government in power in 2007. It guaranteed producers a so-called solar tariff of as much as 44 cents per kilowatt-hour for their electricity for 25 years.

At that rate the couple thought they could easily make their monthly loan repayments of 8,400 euros.

But the government did not keep its promise. Faced with a ballooning budget deficit, in 2011 it cut the subsidies that were intended to stimulate the growth of the renewable energy.

The conservative Popular Party that swept to power at the end of 2011 made further cuts to the state aid.

"Everything that existed disappeared from one day to the other," said Puebla.

He now relies on help from his sister and three brothers to pay his loan.

- Low energy -

Solar power farms have seen their revenues drop 15-50 percent due to the change in government policy, said Jose Donoso, the head of Spain's solar lobby group UNEF.

The solar power sector has shed 35,000 jobs since 2008 and now employs just 5,000 people, he added.

The government U-turn has been especially hard on the roughly 62,000 private investors like Puebla and it essentially stopped the solar power sector from expanding.

Spain added just 22 megawatts of photovoltaics capacity last year, compared with 2,270 megawatts in Britain.

Wind power has also stalled. The sector has lost half of its jobs in eight years and no new wind power capacity was added in 2015.

"The change in regulations since 2008 was negative for the entire industry," said Carlos Garcia, a renewable energy specialist at the IE Business School in Madrid.

He points the finger at "pressure" from traditional energy producers that rely on coal, gas, oil and nuclear power to "stop the development of renewables".

It is not just small and medium-sized businesses that are suffering.

Spain's flagship renewable energy giant Abengoa which employs more than 27,000 people worldwide is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. While the loss of subsidies is not the main cause of its troubles, experts say it has not helped.

- 'Make up lost time' -

"2015 marks the lowest point in the development of renewables in the past 20 years in Spain," said Spanish Wind Energy Association policy director Heikki Willstedt.

"Spain must make up for lost time and fulfil its goals for 2020," she added.

Willstedt recalled that Spain is committed to meeting 20 percent of its energy needs through renewables by 2020, compared to the current 15 percent.

The government which emerges following the general election on December 20 must change Spain's renewable energy policies, added Garcia.

Spain's ruling conservative Popular Party has presented proposals to restart the wind power sector but has not yet outlined its plans for solar energy.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy vowed at the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) in Paris on November 30 to table a "law on climate change" if he is re-elected, after having complained for a long time that renewable energy is too expensive.

Spain has maintained companies "with significant know how" in the area such as Gamesa which survived the economic downturn by expanding abroad, mainly in Latin America, said Garcia.

The country is still the fifth largest producer in the world of wind power and the third biggest exporter.

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only


Related Links
All About Solar Energy at

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
Chile plans hydropower plant -- in desert
Santiago, Chile (AFP) Dec 10, 2015
Building a $400-million hydroelectric power plant in the world's most arid desert may seem like an engineering debacle, but Chile sees it as a revolutionary way to generate green energy. The idea is to take advantage of the Atacama Desert's unique geography to solve one of the most sticky problems of renewable energies like solar and wind power: inconsistency. The sun is not always shini ... read more

Scientists unveil urine-powered wearable energy generator

New catalyst to make eco-fiendly bio-based plastics possible

Plant-inspired power plants

OX2 wins concession for one of Sweden's largest biogas plants

UW roboticists learn to teach robots from babies

Swimming devices could deliver drugs inside the body

Kennedy now firmly established as a 21st Century Spaceport

These are the robots you're looking for

U.S. offshore wind project wraps up inaugural construction season

Dogger Bank lidar confirms technology meets met masts for wind data collection

Pilot Hill Wind Project Closes Financing from GE and MetLife

German power giant RWE to spin off renewables business

Cars driving the rebalancing of Chinese economy: IEA

Germany feels heat in EU car coolant row

China November car sales hit record high: industry group

Volkswagen says pollution cheating dates back to 2005

Carbon capture analyst: 'Coal should stay in the ground'

Scientists see the light on microsupercapacitors

Storing electricity in paper

Saft to supply LION batteries to power Textron control stations

New Delhi to construct six fast breeder reactors over 15 years

Turkey says not dependent on Russia for nuclear plant

AREVA wins contract to dismantle the vessel internals of the Superphenix reactor

South Korea offers to participate in Czech nuclear program

MIT Research offers new approach for China's carbon trading system

As Paris summit tries to save the planet, how green is France?

Addressing climate change should start with energy efficiency

CO2 emissions set for historic fall in 2015: study

US forest products in the global economy

N. Korea 'declares war' on deforestation at Paris climate talks

At UN talks, African countries aim to restore 100 mn hectares of forest

Eyes in the sky track health of Earth's African 'lung'

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement