Renewable development in Spain: severe fever!

Renewable development in Spain: severe fever!

A recent new regulation is supposed to cool down the development fever in Spain by restricting the connection process. This is theory will filter out all the speculative projects and only keep the serious ones, or at least the ones that can afford the increased connection rights.

But numbers are still quite amazing to observe:

In October 2019, less than a year ago, these were the numbers published by Red Eléctrica de España: 28,9GW (solar + wind) were in commercial operation, 81,7GW had connection access granted, 57GW of applications were being reviewed, and a cumulated 37,8GW had been denied connection permits.

These are the numbers at the end of August 2020: 35,4GW are commercial operation, i.e. +6,5GW increase in less than one year thanks to the push of the 2016 and 2017 tenders that required winners to enter in commercial operation before December 31st 2019. But now we find a total of 130GW of projects with connection access granted, i.e. +48,3GW ! 60GW are still in the pipe of applications being reviewed, and the cumulated denied permits now rise to 117,5GW.

These figures are both eye-watering and far from being realistic. The total current installed generation capacity in Spain, including all technologies, is approximately 105GW. So the 130GW of projects with connection access granted represent 1,2 times the current installed capacity: completely unreal for a country that has a maximum peak demand of 41GW.

Please be reasonable when assessing the expected penetration of renewables in Spain: in order to exist, projects need first to be financed. In order to do so bank requirements are strict, and generally include the need for a PPA, which are extremely rare in Spain. Even if the government launches the highly expected renewable tender, the numbers will certainly be in line with the PNIEC estimates made by the same government some months ago: +40GW of wind + solar over the next decade, i.e. +4GW per year. Far away from 130GW…

Beware of the fever.