Published on July 24th, 2013 | by Zachary Shahan2
The Real Solar Feed-in Tariff Story In Spain
July 24th, 2013 by Zachary Shahan
Spain’s feed-in tariff boom and bust story (especially the bust) has been very widely and shallowly discussed, even beyond the cleantech or energy arena. Unfortunately, a lot of important details are missed in most of these discussions. Craig Morris of Renewables International has a great piece getting into the Spanish feed-in tariff story in a much more useful way. You can just jump over there to read the full article, or read the intro and one particularly interesting section below and then jump over. (In either case, I’d really recommend reading the full article… so you may as well just click through now.)
Spain remains in the news with further changes to its feed-in tariffs. We spoke with Berlin-based Canadian analyst Toby Couture to go beyond the headline that “Spain has thrown out feed-in tariffs.”
The Spanish have done those of us who campaign for feed-in tariffs a tremendous disservice since 2008. As Couture told Renewables International, “everyone has heard of the Spanish debacle – from Malaysia to North America.” Spanish renewables policy serves as an example to those who want to claim that feed-in tariffs cause markets to overheat and lead to a boom and bust cycle.
Essentially, all of this is somewhat unrelated to feed-in tariffs and very directly related to Spain’s refusal to have ratepayers actually cover the cost of electricity. As I pointed out back in 2009, the Spanish government had put a ceiling on power prices, and the resulting “energy deficit” had reached 14 billion euros at that point, equivalent to roughly 300 euros per person. Now, that figure has nearly doubled to 26 billion. We’re now talking about a debt of a couple thousand euros per Spanish household – and that’s just from electricity.
Couture also points out that the debt began accruing in 2000 as a result of rising fossil, not renewable, energy prices, which the Spanish refused to pass on to ratepayers.