For six, yes six, years the governments of the day, both the current Popular and the earlier Socialist one, have been stubbornly trying to get onto the statute books their error, their terrible diagnostic error as to the evils of our electricity system, while they continue to be unaware of the key problems of our energy system as a whole: energy dependence on abroad and the reflection of that in our trade balance, greenhouse gas emission and energy poverty which has become a scar which should shame us as a society. The diagnostic error is to blame the tariff incentives on renewables for that perverse problem invented back in the day by politicians with the blessing of the electricity companies which is known as the “tariff deficit”.
Six years of putting obstacles in the way of renewables development and cuts to their revenue streams have not succeeded in eliminating that deficit but they have served to destroy one of the few sectors with international projection of which Spain was at the forefront and acknowledged as a leader throughout the world.
Six years after hundreds of firms in the sector have closed, over forty thousand jobs have been lost, tens of thousands of photovoltaic investors are on the verge of bankruptcy, investments in renewables have gone down in Spain between 2012 and 2013 by 98% and the prestige of our country is down the drain, hampered by retroactive regulations which have turned us into a paradise of legal uncertainties. In the other corner, the electric “majors”, which in their day invented and disseminated using all means possible – and they have many – the slogan “renewables are expensive”, maintain their profits in spite of the crisis, despite the reduction in demand and with margins double those of the big European electricity companies.
Article published in: FuturENERGY January-February 2014