Spanish solar reforms could damage EU laws
As industry representatives claim, proposed post-factum changes to solar support in Spain could not be employing two of the decrees issued by the UE. A letter was sent to European Commissioner for Energy Gunther Oettinger, in which European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) and Spanish industry body Unión Española Fotovoltaica (UNEF) are inquiring if the intentions of Spain to impose taxes for utilization of solar energy, and surmount revenues for private investors, are in fact coresponding to the aims of the European Union.
The letter states that “In summary, the proposed Electricity Sector Act undermines the internal market and runs in contradiction with the Renewable Energy Directive. It is retroactive, discriminatory and hinders fair competition. It will seriously damage the investment climate for photovoltaics, not only in Spain but throughout Europe, by turning PV into a perceived risky investment.”
“We therefore urge you to investigate any possible violation of the European law and take all necessary actions to give a new perspective to the Spanish renewable energy sector.” Spain is forcing laws that will require owners of photovoltaic panels to pay for using own generated solar energy, a tax set higher than basic electricity prices. The country is trying to recover an approximated energy budget loss of €26 billion (US$34 billion).
Simultaneously spanish investors in solar projects will have a rate of return, after tax payment, of about 5-5.5% over their original expenditure. Frequently the cost of borrowing is very much alike or higher than this.
The national policy advisor, Marie Latour, believes that EPIA and UNEF believe that this reorganization could be have a discrepancy with the directive Directive on 2009/28/EC because the retroactive measures put in danger the security needed for investments and could cause the fulfillment of the binding objectives incorporated in this directive.
“We believe that by penalising self-consumption, the proposal also runs in contradiction with the objectives of a more efficient distribution energy system as promoted by the Directive on energy efficiency [2012/27/EU],” she added.
The Energy Commission on Tuesday announced some ground rules for the intervention in the electricity market with retroactive measures vigorously restrained. The document is part of a forerunner to EU State Aid guidelines for the electricity market for the upcoming year.
“Unannounced or retroactive changes to the support schemes must be avoided. Investors’ legitimate expectations concerning the returns on existing investments must be respected,” read the commission statement.
The government of Murcia said that the Spanish government was taken to the the constitutional court with the claim that the reforms are in violation of the international 1994 Energy Charter Treaty. The document articulates the fact that signatories should “encourage and create stable, equitable, favorable and transparent conditions for investors of other contracting parties to make Investments in its area”.
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