Large Andasol 3 Parabolic Solar Plant Losing Tens Of Millions After Broke Spain Eliminates Green Energy Subsidies

Germany’s leading financial daily Handelsblatt here writes that the Spanish Andasol 3 parabolic solar power generation plant in Spain “is producing foremost one thing: losses“.

The Andasol 3 solar power station is owned by a consortium of German power companies RWE, Rheinenergie and Stadtwerke Munich and is located in the Spanish province of Granada. When the first of its kind (Andasol 1) was built in 2009, the technology was hailed as a model to the world on how solar energy could successfully replace fossil fuels. US president Barack Obama said Spain was the way to go in terms of energy policy.

And when Andasol 3 went online in 2011, Stadtwerke München director Kurt Mühlhäuser boasted:

Andasol 3 is the the best example that we have to achieve the transition to renewable energies at the European level.”

According to Wikipedia, Andasol 3 was completed at a cost of 315 million euros and generates approximately 165 GW-hr each per year. The plant uses tanks of molten salt to store solar energy so that it can generate electricity even when the sun isn’t shining. The site has an annual direct insolation of 2200 kWh/m² per year.

But today the Handelsblatt writes the plant is losing money and cannot operate profitably. Stadtwerke München has had to write off 64 million euros, Rheinenergie 17 million, and RWE has admitted that the write-offs will be “considerable”.

Corporate lawyers to the rescue

The losses stem from the Spanish goverment rolling back subsidies to green energies as the country reels from its debt crisis. The Handelsblatt writes that the three German companies have sent over their lawyers “who are suing against the changed subsidy rules in Spain“. Now that the guaranteed feed-in tariffs are no longer guaranteed and in fact will no longer be paid, green energies are no longer able to operate profitably.

Solar energy was always only possible with generous subsidies from the state. During the boom years more than 13 billion euros flowed into renewable energies in Spain thanks to generous subsisidies by the state, the Handelsblatt writes. But now the solar gold rush days are over. The collapse is unstoppable.

All three German investor companies involved in Andasol 3 blame the scale back in Spanish subsidies for the losses. The Handelsblatt writes that the legal wrangling will persist for years as green energy investors sue the Spanish government.

7 responses to “Large Andasol 3 Parabolic Solar Plant Losing Tens Of Millions After Broke Spain Eliminates Green Energy Subsidies”

  1. Loodt Pretorius

    Here in the UK the Greenies keep on talking about the example of Spain and Germany in the surge for installing renewables in the fight against carbon.

    Given that the father-in-law of our Prime Minister is a serious beneficiary of the wind farm feed in tariffs, it is a given that he, Cast-iron Dave, will not be in such a hurry to follow this example, though, with a change of government, investors should not rule it out.

    If this move by the Spanish government make investors think twice about putting money in these subsidy laden green schemes , and if this means that less of these wind follies are going to blight the landscape, Viva Espania!

  2. A C Osborn

    Let them sue, then the Spanish government can declare themselves bankrupt and not pay them a penny and screw the EU at the same time.

  3. Curious George

    “Green” energy is a ploy to put taxpayer’s money into pockets of green energy investors. When they get a slap on the hand, they sue, and undoubtedly they will complain of an interference of the Big Oil.

  4. Ed Caryl

    What a government gives, a government can take away.

  5. Robin Pittwood

    The Government gives nothing. It simply transfers wealth from one section of its community to another, clipping the ticket and wasting some along the way.

    1. Ed Caryl

      I didn’t state the time scale.
      I’m saying that any investor counting on a government program is stupid.

      1. DirkH

        Except the insiders.