From Volume 37, Issue 18 of EIR Online, Published May 7, 2010

Global Economic News

Spain Loves 'Green' Energy, Begging Bowl in Hand

April 30 (EIRNS)—The roaring boom of Spain's solar industry is now a mere whisper, and the racket is now under the spotlight. It shows how the green energy and its promoters killed Spain's power sector financially.

In 2004, imbued with anti-science ideology, Spain's power-sector authorities, promoting green energy, established, through a Royal Decree, a feed-in-tariff (FIT) to the electrical grid at US$0.56 per kilowatt-hour (kwh). That price was almost ten times what was paid by the authorities to the fossil fuel power generating utilities. At the time, this advantage was bestowed to all "clean energy" generators with a capacity of 100 kilowatts or less. This was done ostensibly in order to bring in clean energy to replace the old "unclean" energy. It was also done to strengthen the "green energy" mafia with a handout of about $0.20/kwh. All this time, Spanish authorities were selling the clean energy to consumers for about $0.10/kwh. In 2007, the authorities changed the upper limit on the size of the installations that qualified for the FIT, to 10 megawatts.

As a result of this action, two things happened. Every photovoltaic cell manufacturer of Europe and North America moved in to raise the installed solar power capacity to 3,300 MW, making a financial killing. The second outcome was that the power industry lost as much as $24 billion between 2004 and 2009. When they were forced to face the reality of bankruptcy, authorities reduced the FIT to $0.32/kwh in 2009—still more than five times what it pays to coal-fired power plant suppliers. After the FIT was reduced, many photovoltaic manufacturers could not maintain their operations, and have since laid off 25,000 of their employees.

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