First step towards offshore wind energy development in Spain

by Lorraine Williamson
wind energy

Spain’s Ministry of Ecological Transition is preparing to give the green light to offshore wind energy in Spain. The Council of Ministers is expected to approve on Tuesday the Royal Decree on the regulation of maritime space management plans (POEM). 

This will delineate the areas and determine where the relevant installations will be located. The measure thus becomes the first step towards the development of this technology in Spain. Next, the government has to approve the sector scheme and is expected to launch the auction for the installations in the second half of the year. 

25 January permits expire 

The approval of the measure coincides with the expiry of access and connection licences on 25 January. This means a large number of renewable energy projects in Catalonia, Valencia and Galicia will be rejected due to the lack of national or regional permits. 

Legal trick 

The ministry and several regions have accelerated the granting of administrative permits in recent months and also hope to continue granting permits through a legal trick until 25 February, when Red Eléctrica will have to decide which projects can continue to access and be connected to the grid. 

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First step in implementation of Energy and Climate Plan 

The Ministry of Ecological Transition’s move to approve the POEMs is also a first step in the implementation of the Energy and Climate Plan. The government is due to send a progress report to Brussels on 15 March and, for now, wind energy targets appear to be far from being met. The government has launched a roadmap for offshore wind power until 2030 with the aim of installing 3 GW of wind power. Portugal has set 9 GW as its target.  

During June 2021, the draft Royal Decree was opened for public hearing and information. On 8 July 2021 and until 8 September 2021, the same text, along with the strategic environmental study, was also presented during the consultation with relevant government departments and stakeholders. A strategic environmental study was launched last December. 

Four proposed sites scrapped 

As reported, the new plans reduce the original proposal by scrapping four offshore wind sites. The aim is to minimise the impact on bottom fishing, biodiversity and tourism. These are the area closest to the Strait of Gibraltar off the coast of Malaga, the area off the Cabo de Gata-Níjar nature park in Almeria, the delimitation off the town of Sa Mesquida in Menorca and the southern part of Gran Canaria. 

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