The Government suspends the processing of offline renewable projects to curb “speculative movements” |  Economy

The Government suspends the processing of offline renewable projects to curb “speculative movements” | Economy

A photovoltaic plant, in a file image.
A photovoltaic plant, in a file image.

The Government tries to put a stop to “speculative movements” in the renewable energy sector. The last great decree of the year prohibits the promoters of green energy projects from starting the processing of these until they have the go-ahead for the evacuation of electricity to the electricity grid. With this measure, the Ministry for Ecological Transition seeks a double objective: to avoid overloading the Administration, which is already facing a huge bottleneck when it comes to giving environmental approval to projects that do have access to the network. , and the “blocking of locations to agents who are really interested” in developing them.

Until two years ago, the right of access to the network was granted in order of arrival of the requests: the first promoter to reach the queue enjoyed a great advantage over the rest, practically guaranteeing the requested point or another tens of kilometers away of the plant. At the end of 2020, however, the ministry changed this system to a tender system in the areas where Red Eléctrica de España (REE) identifies nodes with the capacity to support the transfer of new facilities to the network. If before the order of arrival was decisive, now —despite the fact that no process has yet been called— other criteria are taken into account, such as the speed of development of the project or the benefits it offers to the area in which it is installed .

“The expectations generated by said order mean that speculative movements are being observed by certain agents who are beginning the first steps in the procedures without continuing them,” reads the text published this Wednesday in the State official newsletter (BOE). “These actions have caused the presentation of guarantees and requests to start the procedures for administrative authorizations to multiply in recent months. These previous movements are detrimental for the agents really interested in building renewable generation facilities for the population where the facilities are located and for the administrations”, he emphasizes.

The damage of this dynamic is threefold: “For the agents because sites with high renewable resources are blocked by agents who are not interested in building the projects. For the society where the project is located, because procedures are being initiated for a number of projects that neither the network nor the area, from a social and environmental point of view, can absorb. And for the administrations, because, at a time when they are stressed by the high volume of projects in the pipeline, it means an inefficient use of resources in projects that may not be viable”, the text explains. This, he concludes, makes it “necessary to suspend the processing of those projects that, intending to evacuate in tender nodes, do not yet have access and connection permits.”

Greater range for self-consumption

The Government has also included in this Wednesday’s decree an extension of the maximum distance between the generation point and the supply point so that a photovoltaic installation can be considered self-consumption. After being set at 500 meters in April 2019, in October of this year it became one kilometer and now two.

“Although it is considered important to be prudent in increasing this distance in order to avoid excessive losses, in order to continue promoting self-consumption (…) and maximize the use of surfaces, (…) the distance is increased in photovoltaic generating plants located on roofs, industrial land and artificial structures intended for other uses, such as those intended to cover parking spaces or others”, reads the text.

Rise of the TUR

Consumers in the regulated natural gas market will suffer an average increase of 8.67% in their rates as of January 1. The review, limited for months to a maximum of 15% of the rise in raw materials, will be in force for the first three months of the year and will vary depending on the type of domestic or SME customer; those with the lowest consumption —less than 5,000 kilowatt hours (KWh) per year— will see their rate increased by 7.54%, up to 7.04 euro cents per KWh; those of average consumption —between 5,000 and 15,000 KWh per year— will pay 6.75 cents per KWh, 8.94% more; and those with high consumption —between 15,000 and 50,000 KWh— will pay 6.54 cents, 9.21% more. These amounts are, however, much lower than those of the free market, in which the energy companies have been applying strong upward revisions for months.

The TUR, as the regulated gas tariff is colloquially known, is reviewed on January 1, April 1, July 1 and October 1 of each year whenever the raw material rises or falls by more than 2%. By limiting this upward revision to 15%, the Government claims to have saved an average of 117 euros per year in a low-consumption household, 272 euros in a medium-consumption household, and 885 euros in a high-consumption household.

In the case of the communities of owners, who can take advantage of the TUR from October, far from going up, the low rate, depending on the annual consumption of the block, between 1.77% and 2.06% from 1 from January. This decrease has to do with the different weighting of the raw material.

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