Spain awards just 866MW of solar in renewables auction as prices jump

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An operational PV plant in Spain from Naturgy, which was awarded 221MW of solar in the auction. Image: Naturgy.

Spain’s latest renewables auction closed with solar PV bidders being awarded just 866MW of capacity, with players such as Naturgy and Bruc among the winning participants.

Taking place yesterday (19 October), the auction awarded 3,123MW – 95% of the total 3.3GW available – of capacity, the majority of which was for wind, and closed with average winning bids for all technologies of €0.03056/kWh (US$0.03558/kWh), representing a 25% increase on the average solar bids in the country’s auction earlier this year.

Teresa Ribera, Spain’s minister for ecological transition, said the price increase is “reasonable” considering the current inflationary pressure in materials needed for solar and wind projects.

She said that despite there being minimal participation from large energy companies, the auction secured interest from new players, adding: “The country continues to generate enormous appeal for developers of renewable plants.”

Among the companies that didn’t participate was utility Iberdrola, which secured 243MW of solar in January’s auction and recently halted investments in some renewables projects in Spain following new government measures aimed at limiting the windfall profits of non-emitting power plants.

“Iberdrola has not gone into the auction due to the regulatory uncertainty, which has made us reconsider our investments in renewables in the country,” an Iberdrola spokesperson said.

With wholesale power prices continuing to reach new highs, the government last month introduced measures aimed at limiting the profits of renewables projects with a capacity of greater than 10MW that sell output on the merchant market – a policy in place until March 2022 that industry observers have warned could spook investors.

Among the companies that were successful in yesterday’s auction were Spanish utility Naturgy, which told PV Tech it was awarded 221MW of solar PV capacity, while fund manager Bruc won 100MW of solar from several lots.

“The prices reached in the auction show that renewable energies are the most structurally efficient mechanism to reduce the cost of energy and, of course, contribute to the decarbonisation of the energy system,” said Bruc president Juan Béjar.

Reserving at least 1.5GW for wind generation, the auction saw wind bidders awarded a total of 2,258MW. According to media reports in Spain, Madrid-based Capital Energy was the major winner, picking up 1,540MW of wind and 8MW of solar capacity.

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