Spain Puts its Economy Destroying Wind Industry to the Sword: ZERO MWs Installed in 2015

spain unemployment

España launched into a subsidy-drenched, wind rush almost 20 years ago; for which it’s been lionized by wind-worshippers, worldwide. But its effort to conquer the wind and wallow in taxpayers’ (forced) largesse wasn’t confined to its own sunny climes.

Like the Conquistadors of old, its wind power outfits launched off to all points, in search of benevolent breezes; and an endless Eldorado of government guaranteed ‘gold’.

In Australia, Spanish outfit, Acciona has been defrauding the Commonwealth at its non-compliant Waubra public health disaster since 2009. These modern day Conquistadors have been getting their pet acoustic consultants to withhold, fudge and fabricate noise data and reports for over 6 years:

Pacific Hydro & Acciona’s Acoustic ‘Consultant’ Fakes ‘Compliance’ Reports for Non-Compliant Wind Farms

But being rounded up for blatant theft isn’t what’s troubling Acciona and its compatriots back home. Oh, no.

The Spanish wind industry has hit the wall for the very same reason that the wind industry is on the ropes in the UK, Germany, the US, here and elsewhere: either the massive subsidies that have driven the greatest fraud of all time have actually been cut; or there’s the inevitable prospect that they will be, very soon.

In Spain’s case, its government worked out long-ago that pouring never ending €billions into a meaningless power source – that has no commercial value – was never going to end well, on any level – political, social or economic.

While Spaniards watched their government squandering hundreds of €billions on renewable subsidies, they headed for the dole queue – unemployment rocketed out of control. And, in a double whammy, the promised wind industry jobs ‘bonanza’ turned out to be little more than a cruel hoax.

Instead, of being its economic salvation, the insane cost of subsidising wind and solar power helped to kill off productive industries, with the general unemployment rate rocketing from 8% to 26% – youth unemployment nudged 50% in many regions (see our post here). For more detail on Spain’s renewables disaster see the study produced by the Institute for Energy Research available here.

In Spain, just as everywhere else, the great bulk of employment in the wind industry involves fleeting construction work (once the turbines are up, there’s nought to do) – of the jobs created:

“two-thirds of which came in construction, fabrication and installation, one quarter in administrative positions, marketing and projects engineering, and just one out of ten jobs has been created at the more permanent level of actual operation and maintenance”.

That the Spaniards had to stump up “subsidies of more than €1 million” to create each wind industry job; that each wind industry job thus created, killed off 2.2 jobs elsewhere in the economy; and that each MW of wind power capacity installed destroyed 4.27 jobs – is nothing short of an economic disaster (see our post here).

Facing up to the inevitable, last year, Spain moved to slash its clearly unsustainable wind power subsidies – with merciless, retrospective effect:

Spain’s Renewable Energy Disaster Draws to a Close

Europe’s Wind Powered Recipe for Economic Disaster

Now, the inescapable reality of economic principle has finally caught up with the Spanish wind industry – with an industry crushing vengeance.

With its endless subsidy model in tatters (and never to return), there hasn’t been a single MW of wind power installed anywhere in Spain this year; and that total collapse in ‘investment’ sits on the back of a measly 27 MW installed for the whole of 2014 (think a mere nine 3MW whirling wonders).

Here’s Spain’s equivalent of our Clean Energy Council, Asociación Empresarial Eólica, bemoaning the inevitable doom of an industry that simply has nothing to offer, but an insatiable addiction to subsidies.

Zero wind power megawatts installed in Spain in the first half of 2015
Asociación Empresarial Eólica
28 July 2015

  • The lack of activity in the domestic market endangers both the Government’s Energy Plan and compliance with 2020 European objectives
  • Spain is the OECD country that has registered a bigger growth in fossil fuel generation in the first four months; the electricity sector CO2 emissions have increased by 116%
  • In order to recover investors trust, the announced 500 MW wind energy tender should come with changes of certain aspects of the Energy Reform

Madrid, 27th July 2015. The worst predictions have come true: Spain does not attract investment in new wind power capacity. In the first half of 2015, not a single megawatt has been installed in the country, leaving the total at 22,986 MW.

This makes it harder to comply with the draft of the Government’s Energy Plan, which expects about 5,000 MW and 7 billion euro investment to meet European targets for 2020, which are binding.

With electricity demand on the rise, the situation is worrisome: without new investments in clean technology, new electricity needs have to be covered with imported fossil fuels.

In the first four months of the year, Spain is the OECD country that has registered a bigger increase in its fossil fuel electricity generation, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

This has led to an increase in imports of 39% in coal and 32.8% in gas for electricity production in the period, according to the Customs database of Spain’s Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness. As a result, CO2 emissions in Spain have increased by 116%.

After the summer, the Government will make public the terms of the 500 MW wind power tender intended to promote investment in the sector and return to the path of compliance with European objectives.

According to the Spanish Wind Energy Association, restoring investor’s trust by correcting key aspects of the Energy Reform, including the possibility to modify economic conditions every six years and with them, the reasonable return, or the impossibility of wind farms to recover some of the deviations between the market price and the Government’s predictions, is crucial.

Without these adjustments, it will be very difficult for investors to regain trust in our country and install new wind farms. It is also necessary that the tender takes into account the reality of the sector, includes a fixed yield for the lifetime of the facility, and has clear rules, among other things.

If the domestic market remains paralyzed (in 2014 only 27 MW were installed in Spain), the powerful Spanish wind energy industry will eventually leave the country.

Export activity continues to rise (Spanish wind energy sector’s exports accounted for 418 million euro in the first quarter, representing an increase of 15.7% over the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Economy), but measures are needed to boost the domestic market and export capacity and increase the international presence of companies, as well as instruments that promote R&D and encourage industrial development.

If no action is taken to encourage the renewal of the 20,266 wind turbines installed in Spain, in 2020 50% will be more than fifteen years old and 20%, more than twenty years, which will mean a reduction of generated megawatts that will push the country further away from European objectives.
Asociación Empresarial Eólica


Spain’s wind industry – finally gets put to the sword …

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.


  1. Terry Conn says:

    Spain’s clean energy council has only one more lesson to learn before it is forever silent and that is ‘death is permanent’. Now for the rest of the world.

  2. No Turbines says:

    These subsidy suckers are the same the world over. When will everyone see the emperor has no clothes?

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