Spain prepares to resume renewable energy auctions

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Spain’s Ministry of Ecological Transition is currently preparing to launch a new renewable energy auction for large-scale power projects. In a statement to pv magazine, the Ministry’s press office said the bidding rules for this kind of auction are currently being reviewed, in order to adapt them to international standards.

When the next auction may be held, however, remains uncertain.

The redefinition of the auction rules was a necessary step, as the two auctions held last year, which were in theory technology-neutral, each concluded with the almost exclusive allocation of capacity to a single energy source: wind in the first auction; and solar in the second.

The bidding rules for these auctions were changed between the first and second round, as solar secured a limited share of just 1.5 MW in the first auction, while the remaining 3 GW of  assigned power went to wind. This, according to the Spanish solar sector, was due to rules that were unfavorable to PV. Wind, indeed, had the right of way, in the case of a tie between bids.

In the second auction, held in July, solar comprised the lion’s share, with around 3.9 GW of allocated capacity. This auction made PV projects possible, since the Spanish government agreed to increase the maximum discount, which could be offered by project developers for both wind and solar projects.

If implemented, these initiatives from the new Minister of Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera will add to those announced in mid-June, namely the elimination of the solar tax on distributed generation (the notorious “impuesto al sol”).

Spain currently has an installed capacity of around 4.8 GW. Most of this capacity was installed during the golden years prior to the moratorium, which served to halt the PV sector until recently. Another 3 GW, however, may see the light of the day next year, as a result of last year’s July auction.