Spanish Companies Lead the Race in Renewable Energy

Spanish Companies lead the race in renewable energy

Spanish Companies lead the race in renewable energy

The elegant white wind turbines populating Spain’s skyline have become as familiar a sight as the iron silhouettes of cardboard bulls advertising sherry which have loomed over the country’s motorways for fifty years. In the last few years, Spain has leapt to the forefront of the European renewable energy industry, ranking second in overall installed wind capacity.

 

 

KEY FACTS

  • In 2012, renewable energy sources supplied 32 percent of Spain’s power demand, one of the highest in the European Union.
  • The EU has set a target of deriving at least 20 percent of its energy consumption from renewables by 2020.
  • Spain’s concentrated solar power sector – one of the renewable technologies with the most growth potential – is still the world’s number one market.
  • Renewable energy in terms of GDP grew 55 percent in 2005-2009, bolstered by government incentives such as a favourable tariff framework and subsidies.

WHO ARE THE LEADING PLAYERS?

IBERDROLA: Spain’s largest utility is the world leader in wind energy thanks to its expansion drive from Brazil to Scotland over the last decade.

GAMESA: The company is a global technological leader in the wind industry. It has production centres in Spain and China, as global production and supply hubs, while maintaining local production capacity in India, the US and Brazil.

ACCIONA ENERGY: The company is a renewable energy operator on a global scale. It is a major player in five sectors, including wind, concentrated solar power and biomass.

FROM TOWER BLOCKS TO WIND TOWERS: A TRANSFORMATION

Less than a decade ago, Acciona was one of Spain’s top building companies riding the crest of the property boom wave at home and overseas. In 2004-2005 it underwent a transformation, realising that its incipient wind power business was a faster growing industry than construction.

The defining moment for Acciona’s transformation was its acquisition of wind and hydraulic assets from Spanish utility Endesa in 2009. The 3.6 billion euros deal catapulted Spain to the top of the league table for mergers and acquisitions in the European renewables industry. Today Acciona Energy holds major renewable assets in thirteen countries on four continents.

WINDS OF CHANGE

Spain still has plenty of sun and wind to guarantee the viability of its renewables industry, but the sector has not escaped the government’s austerity measures to combat the economic crisis. Since 2011, wind power subsidies and solar photovoltaic (PV) tariffs have been slashed.

However, the changes in the sector´s regulatory framework have fuelled an upswing in M&A activity, particularly among smaller PV operators, while global players like Acciona and Iberdrola are reaping the benefits of their internationalisation to keep their balance sheets buoyant.

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