The Spanish wind energy sector has reacted with alarm to the government’s new Energy Bill, which was approved last week to be placed before parliament.

The bill includes a provision to impose a 6 per cent tax on renewable energy, as the Spanish government fights to tackle a tariff deficit, which reached $31bn by the end of last year.

The “fiscal measures for sustainable energy” set forth in the bill are designed to bring down the deficit to $19bn in 2012, and zero by 2013: an objective which the Minster for Industry, José Manuel Soria, believes will be achieved.

While the aim of the Energy Bill is laudable, members of the renewable energy sector have criticised some of the measures therein, claiming that the will actually harm the clean energy industry rather than promote sustainable energy.

Wind turbines

On the one hand, the bill introduces a tax on radioactive waste production and storage, and a “green cent” tax on natural gas, coal and fuel-oil and diesel, but it also imposes a 6 per cent tax on the sale of “green electricity”, which, the government calculates, will have an impact on the renewable energy and cogeneration sector of $901m.

The Spanish Wind Energy Association (AEE) has already reacted to Friday’s news, claiming that the 6% tax on electricity generation will have an impact on the wind of €241 million in 2013 and could prompt an exodus of companies from Spain, reports Renewable Energy World.

“These measures should have been discussed with the sector beforehand,” said AEE in a press statement on Friday evening. “The wind sector has repeatedly demonstrated its willingness to make concessions for the good of the country and its economic situation, provided they are fair and negotiated. In this regard, it should be remembered that wind is the technology that supports higher taxation because, it not only pays the taxes that are common to other technologies, but also the levies imposed in some regions.”

The wind association warns that the new tax will put extra pressure on a sector that is already experiencing a period of high uncertainty due to the moratorium imposed on the feed-in tariff for renewable energies in Royal Decree-Law 1/2012 and the lack of a regulatory framework beyond 31 December 2012.

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