Spain to Surpass U.S. Wind Power

Spanish wind development continues apace and will reach 8,000 MW of total installed capacity by year end according to Manuel Bustos, International Policy Analyst for the Spanish Renewable Energy Association, APPA, and Paul Gipe, with the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association.

Spain was tied for second place in worldwide wind development with the United States but will roar past the U.S. in 2004, regaining its second place title that it held in 2002, and 2000, according to Gipe. The USA is the world’s third most populous country and has the world’s largest industrial economy. Spain’s population of 40 million is two-thirds that of neighboring France and European Union partner Great Britain. Spain’s rapid development of renewable energy is due to its adoption of Renewable Energy Tariffs in the mid 1990s. The tariff system was updated earlier in 2004. Unlike the Renewable Energy Tariffs used in France and Germany, Spain’s system is based on a percentage of the retail price of electricity. For example, small home- or farm-sized solar photovoltaic systems are paid 575 percent of the retail rate for the first 25 years of operation. Larger systems are paid less. Wind power developments were effectively frozen in the United States during 2004 due to an expired production tax credit. The Canadian province of Prince Edward Island is considering a similar tariff system for wind turbines less than 100 kW.
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