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I'd have to double check, but I do believe that Combined Cycle gets a feed in tariff.  Spain has history of bubbles and busts in electricity production based on massive price increases.  

At the start of the 20th century, the country faced a serious problem in that domestic coal was expensive, and of low quality.  With high tariff walls, that meant that electricity was costly.  So as the start of the 20th century, there was massive investment in hydroelectric.  This basically covered demand until the 1960s, when the economic miracle took hold.

At that time, Spain turned to petroleum fired plants to cover new demand. At the time petroleum was a cheap alternative to coal. Understandably, they got shellacked come the oil crisis. There had been a a number of nuclear facilities planned at the start of the 1980s, but there was local opposition.  ETA got the idea that this was an issue that they could latch on to.  And....  they killed some of the workers at the planned Lemoniz plant. The government abandoned the expansion shortly thereafter.  At this time, there was a movement towards combined cycle gas plants during the  80s and 90s.  Again, gas was a cheap alternative.  That began to come to an end.  Finally, Spain moved to develop windpower in the late 1990s. The drive to build up renewables has a lot to do with the relative energy poverty of the Iberian Peninsula.  

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Fri Mar 28th, 2014 at 08:58:03 PM EST
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...and after all that, austerity came and Rahoy killed the renewables boom.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Mar 29th, 2014 at 05:29:51 AM EST
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Spanish coal mining ceased to be profitable in the 1960s. Apart from the low quality of the coal, the problem was the low capital investment (the emphasis on labour over machinery). The coal mining oligarchs were bailed out and Spain has been subsidizing its coal for 50 years. This became a problem when the European Coal and Steel Community treaty lapsed in 2002, making coal subsidies illegal under EU law.

Investment in hydroelectric continued into the 1960s because dams are big civil engineering projects which the Spanish oligarchy likes. Franco liked to have himself filmed for propaganda inaugurating dams. His speeches about "pertinacious drought" became a running joke.

Spain built some nuclear around 1970 but all the nuclear plants now in operation were built in the 1980s. It now has seven 1Gw complexes due to be phased out in the 2020s to 2030s. There is a nuclear moratorium since 1984 meaning no new plants.

A number of combined-cycle gas plants were completed after 2000, with extremely optimistic projections on future demand growth. The Spanish government liberalised the electricity market and instituted a baroque pricing system which includes massive subsidies to producers, which have become larger and larger as demand has lagged projections and combined-cycle plants have become money losers.

The need to protect the electric utility oligarchy and rescue them for their overinvestment in gas plants is behind Rajoy's killing of renewable energy in Spain.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Mar 30th, 2014 at 06:01:42 AM EST
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