Spain progresses with new renewables public auctions
- The Council of Ministers has urgently accepted imperial mandates to regulate the clean energy purchase rounds as well as procedures for the grid connection of huge range projects.
To enhance the wave of renewable energy projects right into the national power mix-- with 60 GW expected to come online by 2030-- and to provide legal certainty to its energy regulatory framework, the Spanish government yesterday authorized decrees to regulate new large scale, clean energy auctions as well as the grid connection of power projects.
The Ministry for the Ecological Transition said massive penetration of renewables would boost the nation's industrial value chain and competitiveness, generating economic activity and sustainable employment in the context of the post-Covid-19 economic revival.
Renewables auctions planned for the second half of the year will be called by ministerial order as soon as a Royal Decree is approved. Under the new auction plan, developers will bid for projects on the basis of the actual megawatt-hours they will be expected to generate, rather than by project capacity, as has been the case until now.
With 430 GW of planned solar and wind projects awaiting grid permits-- and the state only expecting another 50 GW or so of clean energy capacity to be added by 2030-- a second Royal Decree is being urgently processed to stave off the threat of grid permit-related financial speculation. The latter piece of legislation establishes temporary limits that, if not complied with, will cause issued permits to expire. It also brings in a moratorium to avoid the issuance of new access and network connection permits while regulation for that type of authorization is pending.
Spain reached 8.7 GW of solar generation capacity last year, according to the latest statistics held by grid operator Red Eléctrica de España (REE). REE said the nation added 3.975 GW of new solar last year, much more than the 261.7 MW connected in the previous year, 135 MW in 2017, and 55 MW and 49 MW in 2016 and 2015, respectively.
Most of last year's new solar capacity came from projects selected in national auctions in which solar was the only winner, with around 3.9 GW of capacity awarded.
Unlike a 3 GW renewables auction held in May 2017, which featured PV-unfriendly rules ensuring wind would prevail in a tie between rival technology bids, the last auction opened up the field to solar plants.