Spain is currently the second largest global solar market and the third in the global wind market. Spain houses some of the leading renewable energy research centers, including Almeria Solar Platform, the National Center for Renewable Energy, and ISFOC, one of the cornerstones for concentrating photovoltaics. The Spanish government has created many progressive mandates that have called for things such as the requirement of all new building to be built with solar collectors to supply a percentage of hot water needs. The Movele Project is one of the most ambitious electric car projects throughout the globe.
1) Role Model for the Development of Renewable Energy. Spain is being looked at as a leader in renewable energy development. The government of Spain has provided number subsidies to assist in clean power technologies, in the form of low-interest loans and grants. In 2008, more than $1.6 billion was donated to this cause, with the amount rising each subsequent year. In the last few years, Spain has seen a large increase in its solar panel manufacturing sector.
2) Favorable Feed In Tariffs. Spain has a number of positive renewable energy tariffs that allow for a productive and positive environment to create new projects revolving around renewable energy. For example, “The Spanish government authorized a feed-in tariff under which renewable energy producers could sell the energy they produce to the system directly through distributors; they could choose between selling electricity at the market price with a premium or at a given – very attractive – regulated tariff.”
3) Powerhouse of Renewable Energy. Spain has been a frontrunner in wind, solar, and biofuel renewable technologies behind some of the largest countries in the world, including the United States and Germany. A lot of this has been “due to the big investments made by Spanish energy companies and the government’s early adoption of favorable tariff incentives that provide a guarantee to producers that all their energy will be purchased.” According to one private equity manager, this stance as a powerhouse is due in large part to Spain’s large focus on research and development of clean energy and how that has increased the ability of various Spanish groups to successfully invest in the clean teach market of the country.
4) Support Policies. To keep on the key issues surrounding the Spanish target for renewable energy, Spain has had to create a large support program with a number of policies for electricity from renewable energy sources. Not only does this include a number of feed-in tariff programs, but also increased support for biogas, biomass, and solar thermal electricity, low interest loans which would cover as much as 80 percent of reference costs, and renewable energy legislations that would increase tariffs and make the country more favorable to increasing development of renewable energy technologies, and make the country more inviting to outside investment from other countries.
5) The Renewable Energy Plan. The goal of the Renewable Energy Plan is to “take it possible to achieve the target of 12 percent of primary energy being met from renewable sources [and creating] more ambitious objectives in those areas that have been developing successfully and establishes new measures to support technologies.” This plan is indicative, it is not binding for the energy system actors, however, there is the hope that a majority of investments will be provided by the private sector. Therefore, the next aim of the plan is the produce an attractive framework that is based upon profitability and stability.
6) Spanish Renewable Energy Companies Moving to Latin America. Investing in the future is really important to Spain, but not just in the home country, but around the globe as well. Starting in 2009, Spanish company Associacion Empressarial Eolica provided more than 1,200 megawatts of energy in Latin America, mainly Mexico, Brazil, and Chile. The plan for Spanish renewable energy companies it to then head into Argentina, Peru, and Venezuela, while still investing in Brazil and Mexico. According to the Associacion, “A recent study shows that by 2025, the investments could reach 46,000 installed MW [in Latin America].” There are numerous Spanish firms in Latin America working on increasing solar energy, including T-Solar and Solarpack.
7) Renewable Energy Goals. Spain’s renewable energy goal seeks to have the country produce 67 percent of its energy in 2020 from renewable energy sources. According the plan at hand, generation capacity must reach 70 gigawatts by 2020 (one gigawatt equals enough energy to power one million washing machines). To reach these goals, solar energy will have to climb to 13.4 gigawatts, and wind will have to reach 38 gigawatts, with three of those gigawatts from offshore generators.
8 ) Top in the Wind Energy Market. Spain ranks as number three throughout the globe for installed wind power capacity, only behind the United States and fellow European Union Member, Germany. The Spanish Wind Power Association remarked that the wind power sector counts for 40 percent of Spain’s GDP, looking to rise to 45 percent by 2021. There are more than 50 companies dedicated to the wind industry, generating more than $5 billion in revenue. A large part of Spain’s Renewable Energy Plan outlines that wind energy will be a prime focus in renewable energy consumption targets. Along with onshore wind power, Spain has a potential for large offshore wind power investments.
9) Energy Efficiency Institutions and Programs. There are a number of institutions and programs designed by the Spanish government to assist with energy efficiency. These have included the National Plan for the Allocation of Greenhouse Gas Emission Allowances, 2008-2012, Energy Efficiency Strategy Action Plan, and the Planning of the Electricity and Gas Sectors.
10) Measures for Energy Efficiency. Spain has taken up a number energy efficiency measures that will also reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Some of these measures include public support programs, transport plans in firms and activity centers, urban mobility plans, greater participation of collective road transport means, efficient driving of private vehicles, renewable of the road transport fleet and private car fleet, improvement of the energy efficiency in the thermal installations of existing buildings, as well as energy saving and efficiency plans in public administrations.
Article by Shawn Lesser, Co-founder & Managing Partner of Atlanta-based Watershed Capital Group – an investment bank assisting sustainable fund and companies raise capital, perform acquisitions, and in other strategic financial decisions. . He is also a Co-founder of the GCCA Global Cleantech Cluster Association ”The Global Voice of Cleantech”. He writes for various cleantech publications and is known as the David Letterman of Cleantech for his “Top 10″ series. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org