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Spain to adjust renewable energy auctions to incorporate non-price criteria

Spain’s ministry for ecological transition has opened a public consultation on incorporating non-price socio-economic and environmental criteria into renewable energy auctions, aiming to ensure that projects bring benefits to host communities and protect biodiversity, minister Teresa Ribera announced on Friday.

The feedback will be used to revamp the auction formula and have up to 30% of the criteria address environmental sustainability, resilience, and local socio-economic development, Ribera said as she closed workshop sessions with the civil society, municipal and industry stakeholders.

Since 2020, Spain’s renewable energy auctions have followed a pay-as-bid model, awarding projects to the lowest bidders until capacity quotas are met.

The shift from a purely price-based model comes after the workshops with members of environmental and agricultural organisations, developers, municipalities and industry identified key areas for integrating renewables better with host communities. These included establishing fair benefit-sharing structures, enhancing biodiversity protection, and streamlining permits for sustainable projects, according to the ministry.

The ministry said that its teams are also developing methodological guides for evaluating onshore and onshore projects and improving zoning criteria.

The proposal arrives amid increased opposition to large-scale solar and wind farms in some regions, where the rural population has decried changes in the landscape and potential harm to the natural environment.

Just this weekend, protests against wind and solar mega-projects were held in Zaragoza, while fishermen took to the streets in Lugo to object anticipated offshore wind projects in the Atlantic, Spanish media reported.

After a one-year break, Spain’s annual renewable energy auctions will resume “shortly”, Ribera announced last week.


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