Currently showing: Sustainable energy > Fossil fuel


11 Aug 13 09:52

Sad news from my home country have prompted me to write this blog (***versión en español debajo***): Bloomberg announced on Aug 1st the Spanish government has announced plans to make consumers pay for the clean electricity they generate and use themselves (typically via PV rooftop solar panels), "a move unheard of in any other market"… yet.
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-08-01/spain-hurts-solar-with-plan-to-penalize-power-producers.html

Jenny Chase, head of solar analysis at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, warns: “Charging a fee for generating your own energy sounds absurd, but in the long term, passing a higher proportion of the cost of running the grid to low-income customers is also unpalatable. Compromises will need to be made on this issue in more countries than just Spain.”

But isn't that where innovation comes in? We've been talking about our grids' need for a revamp for years now. Wouldn't this be a great time to invest in renewing the grid to fit our current needs?

As background: Spain went from being the world's second leading country in terms of installed solar capacity, with a swathe of supporting subsidies that boosted growth, to abruptly ending subsidies in 2012 and now this. It's exactly this kind of policy changes that is so harmful to industry. How can companies invest in new technologies with ROI confidence? Needless to say, this has greatly damaged the solar industry (in Spain and beyond) and reinforced the perception that we need to keep all the current (and future) fossil plants going, limiting the amount of money that goes into clean energy R&D.


**** Versión en español****

Tristes noticias de mi tierra me llevan a escribir este blog: El gobierno español anda considerando introducir legislación que obligaría a los consumidores a pagar por la electricidad limpia que generan y utilizan ellos mismos (típicamente solar fotovoltaica), "una medida inédita en todos los demás mercados".
http://www.elnuevodia.com/espanabuscapenalizaralosqueusenenergiasolarencasa-1564863.html

Jenny Chase, responsable de análisis solar en Bloomberg New Energy Finance, amenaza con esta reflexión: “Cobrar una tarifa por generar energía propia parece absurdo, pero a la larga, pasar una proporción más alta del costo de administrar la red a los clientes de bajos ingresos también es desagradable”.

Y mi pregunta es, no es ahí donde debería jugar un papel la innovación? La red esta anticuada y hablamos desde hace años sobre la necesidad de modernizarla. No seria este un momento idóneo para invertir en una nueva red que satisface mejor nuestras necesidades actuales?

Es muy triste ver como España paso de ser un país líder en energía solar instalada (numero 2 tras EEUU hace tan solo 2-3 años) con legislación puntera a… esto. Estos cambios legislativos han hecho un daño inmenso al mercado solar, no solo en España. Las empresas de energía necesitan confianza para invertir en nuevas tecnologías. Estos cambios refuerzan la creencia que necesitaremos energía fósil de todas maneras, limitando la cantidad que va a I&D;.

Spain Hurts Solar With Plan to Penalize Power Producers

www.bloomberg.com

Spain plans to make consumers pay for the clean electricity they generate and use themselves, a move unheard of in any other market.


Category: Sustainable energy: Fossil fuel

Location: Spain


8 Comments

Tri - 11 Aug 2013, 11:44 a.m.

Es una vergüenza, para una cosa que tenemos en España a raudales como es el sol.
Se esta privatizando TODO, incluido el SOL.
A medida que empiecen a quebrar los "Huertos Solares" vendrán a comprar esas "gangas" otros países, y todas esas perdidas se convertirán en deuda publica, como se ha ido haciendo con todas las deudas privadas de nuestro país, hacerla pública y malvendiendo lo público.
Es nuestro sino, menudos gobernantes tenemos!!!

Paritosh - 11 Aug 2013, 3:29 p.m.

Its really a sad news... For now the perhaps the profitability seems to be the winning agenda but I am sure not for long...

Alicia Montoya - 11 Aug 2013, 8:23 p.m.

Pues si, la verdad es que no nos vendemos muy bien que se diga, Trini.

Obviamente la crisis ha llevado al gobierno a apretarse el cinturon... (aunque, como siempre, el argumento, algo contra-intuitivo quizas pero yo pienso que acertado, que deberia de ser el invertir en el futuro y en la competitivodad de España). Y claro, el cambio de gobierno no pudo ayudar tampoco...

Pero seria muy triste que esto no se resolviese a largo plazo pero como tu bien dices, y como decia esa campaña de turismo: "España, todo bajo el sol". Ojala no lo desperdiciemos y malvendamos a extrangeros como hicimos con nuestras costas y nuestro turismo.

Karthik - 18 Aug 2013, 6:11 p.m.

I was just reading an article on BBC about why more than half of the India's population still has no access to electricity. The problem appears to be the same whether it's Spain or India i.e. how do you balance the cost of producing electricity(and helping power companies make a profit) while keeping it affordable to those who need it?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-23613878

In India off-grid power generated through solar energy by private enterprises presents huge opportunity as well as helping light up rural areas. And this is thanks to technology since even a few years ago this might have not been feasible.

I agree with you, taxing off-grid power like Solar seems absurd to me. Do we want to go back to the dark ages?

Karthik Sampath - 18 Aug 2013, 7:02 p.m.

I was just reading an article on BBC about why more than half of the India's population still has no access to electricity. The problem appears to be the same whether it's Spain or India i.e. how do you balance the cost of producing electricity economically while keeping it affordable to those who need it?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-23613878

In India off-grid power generated through solar energy by private enterprises presents huge opportunity as well as helping light up rural areas. And this is thanks to technology since even a few years ago this might have not been feasible.

I agree with you, taxing off-grid power like Solar seems absurd to me. It begs the question, do we want to go back to the dark ages?

Oliver Werneyer - 19 Aug 2013, 1:50 p.m.

It is very dangerous to start "penalising" people for being self-sufficient. What's next? People with vegetable gardens need to pay a subsidy on their grocery bill?

In my view the traditional concept of a power producer is slowly but surely becoming an outdated concept and companies need to adapt. While they don't (and they are such a critical component of a country) they will try and protect it at all cost. The problem is that if the utility companies cease to exist, renewable energy cannot supply all of the demand. Renewable energies still can't run mines, steel manufacturing, etc. without grid back up.

Anyway, energy independence technology and business models will really give utilities a run for their money. Watch this space.

Daniel Martin Eckhart - 21 Aug 2013, 8:08 a.m.

I see Spain's problem - everyone does - but the filling the till with this type of tax is not just ludicrous, it's harmful every way you look at it. Whatever plans/laws there are, they can be reversed. I believe this is a case where the Spanish people can and should rally - it would make a huge difference not just to their own lives (and wallets), but it would also be strong global signal.

We as human beings are inherently against things we HAVE to do. We're inherently positive about things we WANT to do. Wouldn't it be amazing if a WANT could be generated in the global community? What if, just thinking out loud here - a global campaign were to equate solar power with freedom? The freedom to generate your own electricity, the freedom to power your own place, the freedom to rule over this produced power. Freedom is something we all want ... and Spain is taking another slice of that from its citizens.

How about this as a rallying cry "Solar Power = Freedom!"

Alicia Montoya - 12 Sep 2013, 10:13 p.m.

Sadly, Spanish people have much bigger things to rally about (like lack of jobs, food, housing, a collapsing economy, rampant political corruption), and have been doing so since the Spanish revolution of a couple of years ago: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011–12_Spanish_protests

To Oliver's point, I think power companies are not becoming outdated. At the current rates of population growth, and wealth, we're gonna need all the power we can get. So I think big power producers still will play a vital role in providing vast amounts of energy to power, as you say, industry and, I'd add, the world's megacities.

But I agree with Daniel, the freedom to produce our own power needs to be respected. And we should be able to complement with our own production. Problem is, we'll need to invest tons in renewing the power grid to accommodate consumer-produced power.

I guess that's where democracy should kick in: We should be able to decide where our tax money is spent. I vote for shifting fossil fuel subsidies into renovating the grid. Now where's my ballot?


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