In effect, the very businesses that are clearly part of Europe's future, Spain's long-term recovery and a current, real economic success, are being dismantled. The sustainable industry, where Spain has become a world leader, is being restricted - expertise lost, commercial advantage wasted. Green energy is not just put on hold. If the moratorium remains, it will signal a consequence of austerity that will impact Spain's economy into the far distant future.
There is not a lot of good news coming from Spain recently. The economy is at a level of crisis almost unparalleled in Europe. Unemployment is at an all time high for modern Europe. So, the recent announcement that, over the past three months, Spain had record levels of electricity generated by wind farms, should have been a celebration.
It was short-lived. Almost side-by-side with the good news was the statement from Spain's government party that there would be an immediate halt to green energy subsidies. All new power plants not approved by January 27 would not receive subsidies. Citing budget deficits, the new conservative government has decided to limit funds to the very industry that is showing real potential for Spain's longer term security.
"While unemployment grows above any acceptable level in Spain, the government is actively dismantling important green industrial sectors, such as renewable energy, and destroying more jobs," said Juan López de Uralde, leader of Spain's Green party, Equo. "In the country of sun and wind, our government is implementing an energy policy based on nuclear and fossil fuels, marginalizing clean energy through the moratorium on all financial support."
In effect, the very businesses that are clearly part of Europe's future, Spain's long-term recovery and a current, real economic success, are being dismantled. The sustainable industry, where Spain has become a world leader, is being restricted - expertise lost, commercial advantage wasted. Green energy has not just been put on hold. If the moratorium remains, it will signal a consequence of austerity that will impact Spain's economy into the far distant future.
The Spanish Wind Energy Association put a figure on the value renewable energy has brought to the Spanish economy. According to their blog, for every Euro invested in incentives for wind farms, the Spanish economy has gained three Euros.
Halting development is not a simple matter of restarting industry at some future date. At this stage, such ending subsidies completely will likely bring about the closure of key industries that are manufacturing the equipment and advancing essential technologies. Once closed, the impetus to restart the renewable economy will be far harder.
"In 2010, Spain spent 2.6 billion Euros on imports of fossil fuels, and this amount is increasing," said Uralde. "Instead, we should be investing heavily in sun and wind."
But the imbalance of subsidy between renewable energy and fossil fuel based power is a constant across most of Europe. Globally, renewable energy received about 45 billion Euros, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). In contrast, while fossil fuel subsidies continue and renewable energy loses support, the IEA recently urged governments around the world to end their 300 billion Euro annual subsidy figures for fossil fuels.
Spain is becoming an example of where Green energy policy should be embraced, and the Green economic plan of sustainable development a key to escaping this economic crisis. Green development is financially feasible and economically sound. Apart from the simplest issue of jobs and the rippling effects of employment, developing renewable energy is also creating a valuable, highly skilled work force.