Spain needs between 4,500 and 6,500 MW of wind power to comply with European 2020 targets, according to Ministry of Industry

Foto presentada al Premio Eolo de Fotografía AEE de 2012. Ana María Aliaga. A toda máquina

For the first time during this Parliamentary Term, the Government has gone public as regards its intentions for the Energy Plan 2015-2020 and the path to be followed to comply with Europe’s targets for 2020. According to the accompanying Environmental Sustainability Report, between 4,553 and 6,473 MW of wind power capacity would have to be installed – depending on the demand for final energy –, in order to achieve around 29,500 MW. This means that wind power would be the energy technology to enjoy the highest level of growth in Spain over the next six years.

To achieve the capacity that the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism believes necessary, between 900 and 1,300 MW would have to be installed every year, representing an investment of between 6Bn€ and 8.7Bn€. However the regulatory framework accompanying the Spain’s Energy Reform makes such aims almost impossible: these are standards that allow profitability to be varied at different times throughout the useful life of the unit thereby generating uncertainty and discouraging investment. During the first half of 2014, only one 0.08 MW wind turbine was installed in Spain.

These forecasts clearly show that compliance with the target of 20% of final energy consumption originating from renewable energy sources by 2020 is up in the air. In addition, it should be remembered that by 2020, around 45% of the installed capacity will be 15 years old.

To comply with the target path set out by the Executive for 2020, stable regulation will be required in all areas of the State, something that will mean taking a step backwards in Energy Reform. If not, Spain will not be able to meet its European commitments, which are binding.

In fact, a recent report issued by the European Environment Agency (EEA) – that reports to the European Commission – has stated that, based on 2013 data, it is unlikely Spain will achieve the target under current conditions. And it affirms that the country will have to design and implement new measures or use flexibility mechanisms to achieve its objectives. The report points out that Spain, just like Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, France, Greece, Hungary, Romania and Latvia, must achieve two to three times higher absolute growth in renewables compared to the period 2005-2012.