Spain Privatizes The Sun: Multi Millon Dollar Penalties For Collecting Sunlight
If you get caught collecting photons of sunlight for your own use you can get a fine not exceeding 30 million euros What the hell is going on in Spain?This is one of 100’s of crazy, often neo-fascist measures by a govt with a total majority (by default) yet drowning in corruption scandals and huge popular resistance.They’ve already decimated the promising renewable energy sector by taxes and cutting out promised subsidies, while keeping them on coal, oil and fracking.What the hell? Why? For one thing the fossil fuel sector has huge scandals, its a honey pot, eg. they’re raising prices to pay billions for estimated losses due to modernisation; for 40 years electric meters grossly overcharged the public; gas purchase prices are totally secret and pegged to projected oil levels…Billions go missing, the PP (ruling party) treasurer was found to have 40m euros, just in his swiss accounts. Rampant pay offs have continued unabated from the fascist era. Indicted politicians ( there are over 1000) stood again and got re-elected.So if you were thinking that the best option in this false crisis is just to have some solar panels that are down 80% in cost and have the opportunity to disconnect from the mains and your atrificially inflated bill, you can forget it. Those in power fear “destabilizing” power consumption something totally illogical, and have proposed burying the photovoltaic industry (which is more necessary now than ever) in a bottomless pit,. Sometime in 2010 someone has decided to privatize the sun …. yes yes you read right, in Spain totally unlike Europe, to levy a toll on electricity generated and injected into the line … instead of receiving profits. But that’s not all, if you get caught collecting photons of sunlight for your own use you cancop a fine of 30 million euros. Worse than if it were a mortal drug. Commit the sacrilege of being energy independent can be very expensive, the sun now is only for the privileged few and the power companies in which the directors are former presidents and former ‘pp/psoe’ the dualistic party ministers. The ”Spanish Photovoltaic Union (UNEF ), which brings together some 300 companies representing 85% of the industry, assres us that, these changes when implemented, will make solar home consumption much more expensive than conventional supply. ”It prevents any savings to consumers and paralyzes the entry of new competition in the electricity market.”
Exactly the idea. So if you were thinking that the best option in this false crisis (a great excuse for more mega-scams) is just to have some solar panels that are down 80% in cost and have the opportunity to disconnect from the mains and your atrificially inflated bill, you can forget it. Spain has “privatized” the sun without consulting its citizens, without consulting the solar system without consulting the universe etc. … The possibility of producing your own electricity using renewable resources solar panels or small wind turbines installed on private property-is very attractive for Spanish homes. ”Out of every 50 incoming calls per month, 35 are of particular interest in the subsistence” says Francesc Mateu, manager of Sun Gironés, a company specializing in renewable energy and pioneers in this sector. “At the moment we say they have to wait until September or October until things are clearer,” he adds. The trend towards implementing a flat rate on electricity bills, by which increasingly we have to pay a higher amount on fixed and less on energy expenditure is being imposed by the decree of consumption, which has not yet been approved. The Government has proposed that the new energy consumption taxes be implemented gradually, while reserving the right to put up and down those specific charges or tolls, and called “backup”, depending on how the sector evolves. ”We will pay a special toll for the energy received from the sun” sums up Mario Sorinas, of Huesca Electrobin company, with over 20 years experience in solar energy.
Energy autonomy is more than consolidated in countries like the U.S. or Japan. Many European countries have encouraged it with different formulas.
”It’s the future,” energy experts agree. Generate your own electricity with renewable energy and give a break to the environment and the pocket. There is also the possibility of transferring the excess energy to utilities and retrieve it when needed or directly sell it, which is known as Net-balanced consumption. With runaway Climate Change imminent and CO2 emissions rocketing, nothing could make more sense.
The Government of Spain in the draft decree of consumption makes it clear that it will not remunerate any excess energy poured into the network, on the contrary. And, incredibly, it is already illegal in Spain to store the solar energy you produce. Now, in Spain you can privately produce energy and consume it, but only as it’s produced, a mode called instant consumption. This makes the technology useless at night, or without wind, etc. In the pas Solar was not cost effective. Photovoltaic has become cheaper by up to 80% in the last five years and the increase in the electricity bills has made it a very interesting saving option in times of crisis. It was starting to be taken up massively, from dairy farms to supermarkets, nursing homes, restaurants and a particular consumer. But the excess energy can not be stored in batteries because it is forbidden. When there is no sun or wind, you have to switch the network and pay the normal bill. There is no official record of consumption. It seems obvious the crazy Spanish law comes from pressure or direct bribes from the fossil fuel companies. Of course the solar industry is largely owned by the same capitalist mafia but profits are lower, (because of course none of the collateral costs of fossil fuels, health, pollutioin, climate change… are taken into account) Their falsely high prices were smashed by Chinese competition, though this will soon be changed with huge EU ‘punitive taxes’. Alimarket economic magazine has posted 43 cases….
”It’s working well, especially with companies like meat or hospitality, which rely heavily on cold storage, and in which the electricity bill takes at least 15% of their annual fixed costs,” says his manager. With these systems reduce consumption costs between 20% and 30%, although one case has been achieved a drop of 44%. So far they didnt have to pay taxes for this type of power generation.
The sun was free. That’s why the govt needs to stamp out use of solar. Estartit The Yacht Club, located in Pals (Girona), is one of its customers.They had drawn up a five-year plan for the 20% of its consumption comes from renewable energy. Currently solar panels generate 7%.”We are very close to a natural park and want to have a high impact on the environment,” says Eugeni Figa, its director. Its plans also to include windmills. In Galicia, the Dominguez brothers have been installing renewables since 1998. ”We were four ragamuffins” says Manuel. In 2007 they supply their own offices Sanxenxo (Pontevedra) with a solar plant. Although theyb have projects in Spain, most of the market is outside the country in large parks in Chile, Mexico, Romania and England. Energy reform has increased tremendously the attraction of renewables, but not in Spain. “Of all the possible scenarios, this is the worst,” José Donoso, president of the Spanish Photovoltaic Union (UNEF), which represents 85% of the sector’s activity.
”But still nothing specific has been finally approved, ” he adds. Donoso refers to the increase in the fixed portion of the electric bill, and will represent a 77% increase in this section for the domestic fee -something that domestic producers can not refuse -and a fall of 23% in the consumption charge, which reduces self-production. “Until now, the expense could deliver a 30% fixed and 70% variable part. You will now have 50% -50% so any initiative to generate your own power is discouraged “, provides Ignacio Cruz, researcher Renewable Energy division of the Center for Energy, Environment and Technology (CIEMAT). ”This is a death blow to our business and will decimate energy savings, “says Javier García Breva, renewable energy consultant and former director of the Institute for Diversification and Saving of Energy (IDEA). This specialist maintains that these are purely revenue raising measures. The Ministry of Industry has not responded to requests for information from El Pais newspaper.
The payback time of photovoltaic will grow considerably. If before the reform 12 years was needed to recover the investment in a residential installation of 2.4 kilowatts power, now 23 years will be needed, according to estimates by UNEF. What is needed in Spain is a spring cleaning of the entire political class, indeed there is a huge voluntary citizens movement , 15M, which works on a non hierarchical open basis. Until now theey have resisted entering party politics, knowing its a bottomless pit of corruption and manipulation.. adapted and translated from El Pais article. with thanks!
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