Spanish Renewables Grew 30% in 2010

Spain’s fast-growing renewable energy industry grew 28% last year to contribute 0.81% to the country’s GDP, according to a Deloitte consultancy study commissioned by the country’s primary renewable energy lobby group, Asociacion de Productores de Energías Renovables, or APPA.

In a Madrid press conference, APPA said revenues in Spain totaled €8.5bn, making a greater economic contribution than the textile, fishing and shoe sectors and helping cut the nation’s power bill by €4.8bn.

“This shows that renewable energy is not as expensive as some of its critics claim,” APPA’s President Jose Maria Gonzalez Velez said in the conference, adding that government subsidies accounted for €4.6bn last year, showing that the sector makes a significant contribution to government coffers.

By 2020, APPA expects electricity will be cheaper to generate with renewable power than combined gas-cycle power plants. 

Gonzalez said, however, that the industry is witnessing a “delicate” period after losing 20,000 jobs last year and now has just under 100,000 workers. Therefore, he urged the government to be temper a recent campaign to reduce subsidies. The government is keen to lower its energy-subsidy bill as part of deep spending cuts designed to help the country recover from its stinging recession.

Solar power is at the eye of the storm in this regard. The government has sharply cut subsidies for the space, stalling investment investment in new projects. Some of the state cuts affect older projects and will be charged retroactively, something APPA is fiercely opposing.

APPA is set to meet on Janury 12 to analyze the impact of these charges and has stated that it may take legal action against them, Gonzalez said.

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Ivan Castano is a freelance journalist based in Miami. His work has appeared in Thomson Reuters’ International Finance Review (IFR), Dow Jones’ Financial News, Euromoney, Trade & Forfaiting Review and a range of trade publications covering the capital markets, private equity, loan, credit and restructuring markets. He is fully bilingual in Spanish and English having been raised in Ecuador, Colombia and Spain. Ivan has worked and lived in Los Angeles, New York, Madrid and London.

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