Spain’s Environment Ministry downsizes giant solar project in Extremadura by 170 MW

The Spanish Ministry of Environment has decided to downsize a 394.1 MW PV project planned by Iberia Termosolar, a joint venture between Spanish developer Valsolar and German-based S.A.G. Solarstrom, in Spain’s region of Extremadura by 170.1 MW.

The ministry has decided to approve only two of the four plants included in the phase I of project, the 74 MW Calzadilla III project, which is owned by the special purpose company Iberia Termosolar 2, S.L. and is planned to be spread across the municipalities of Calzadilla de los Barros y Medina de las Torres, and the 150 MW section named Calzadilla B, which is planned for the municipality of Bienvenida.

The Calzadilla I and Calzadilla II projects, which have a capacity of 50.1 MW and 120 MW respectively, were not granted environmental approval, according to a document published in the country’s official journal. These two plants were both expected to be built in the municipality of Calzadilla de los Barros.

The Ministry said the two projects were not approved as these represented a threat for several animal species present in the area. Alternative sites for the two projects were also rejected due to other technical and environmental issues.

The 394.1 MW project was submitted to local authorities by Iberia Termosolar in October 2012. “The government of the Spanish region of Extremadura has contractually guaranteed their support for the project with regard to cooperation with the authorities, the energy providers and the network operator REE (RED Eléctrica España),” said S.A.G. Solarstrom in a statement released at the time. S.A.G. Solarstrom was acquired by Chinese solar manufacturer Shunfeng in November 2014.

At the time, the government of Extremadura announced its intention to support large-scale solar projects and to fast-track their development as well as their approval process.

The four plants are not eligible to receive a FIT or any sort of incentive – these will instead be developed under Spain’s ordinary regime, which is usually reserved for conventional energy projects.

After Spain introduced the moratorium for solar in 2012, not a single large-scale PV project has been built in the country, although several projects such as the Iberia Termosolar’s projects were announced across several southern regions over the past years. All of these projects, which were originally conceived to sell power to the local grid at market prices, could now eventually compete in Spain’s upcoming 3 GW renewable energy auction.