Spain could hold 3GW clean power auction by end of April

03 April 2017 15:40 Source:ICIS

Spain could hold an auction of 3GW of new renewable capacity by the end of this month. However, the government is unlikely to meet its goal of 8.5GW of new renewable capacity by 2020 unless it ramps up the amount of capacity on offer in later auctions, according to a spokeswoman for the country’s wind association AEE.

The path was cleared for an imminent – and long awaited – auction by the release of a royal decree on Friday laying out the basic structure of the model.

The final regulatory steps can now be taken quickly, according to AEE, which could allow an auction to take place as soon as “late April or early May”.

Under the model laid out by the ministry, the auction will be technologically neutral, meaning wind, solar and biomass energy suppliers can compete for new capacity with the most efficient bids winning.

The royal decree did not reveal whether the ministry had taken on board the requests of Spain’s renewable associations in a consultation process that began in January (see EDEM 10 February 2017).

“The actual details of the auction model and procedures will be made public via a ministerial order and a resolution,” said a spokeswoman for photovoltaic association UNEF. “Therefore, we will have to wait to know if any feedback from the consultation process has been included in the final auction model.”

Initial plans had suggested the auction design would be similar to one held in January 2016 when 500MW of wind and 200MW of biomass capacity was offered, all of which was acquired free of subsidy at market price.

But the renewable associations have called for clear capacity goals for each technology as well as a calendar of forthcoming auctions, while doubting it would be possible to repeat subsidy-free capacity on a significantly larger scale.

The ministry said the auction would help Spain reach its EU goal of meeting 20% of total energy consumption with renewable sources by 2020.

But AEE doubted whether the Spanish government would achieve its renewable capacity aim: “The government is very far from reaching its target of 8.5GW of new renewable capacity by 2020 – this is only 3GW,” said the AEE spokeswoman.

By Jon Stibbs