Permissions to connect to the electrical network in Spain they have become a highly sought-after asset in recent years in the midst of a boom in new manufacturing plants. renewable energy and large industrial projects. These authorizations are so coveted that they have become an object of sale and a breeding ground for speculation by some.

The Government has launched an urgent expansion of its electrical networks with the aim of avoiding saturation in some areas due to the concentration of new renewable plants and the proliferation of large industrial and technological projectsand prepares a completely new comprehensive electrical planning for the coming years to meet new needs.

In recent years, the Ministry for the Ecological Transition has been adopting measures to try to stop speculation in permits to connect new renewable electricity production projects to the grid, demanding increasingly large guarantees and also demanding compliance with milestones. temporary to demonstrate that the energy project was real and not just a piece of paper.

Now the Government is also moving to puncture the bubble generated by projects of large electricity consumers (not by the producers) and avoid speculative movements around access permits to ‘ghost’ plans of industrial and technological groups that retain authorizations and block access to other projects with more prospects of being executed.

Project bubble

The Executive has taken advantage of the ‘omnibus decree’ of urgent economic measures to include legal reforms to establish new requirements for the successful bidders of permits for connection to the electricity transport and distribution networks for light consumption installations, with the aim of making a screening of projects fake linked to the boom in green hydrogen plants, energy storage or the plans to build new digital data centers and, with this, put a stop to the “speculative hoarding” of network access.

“A strong increase in requests for access to networks to connect new consumption is being observed. (…) As already happened with the generation in the period 2018 to 2020, an extraordinarily rapid growth is observed and that in some cases the projects begin to develop quickly, but in others they do not,” explains the Government in the text of the real decree approved last week by the Council of Ministers. “This eventual hoarding of network access permits for large consumption, together with the fact that consumer access permits do not have a clearly defined expiration, it is advisable to take measures to avoid speculative hoarding of them by projects that do not have clear visibility.” For their develpment”.

Requirements to avoid losing the permit

The new regulation promoted by the Ministry for the Ecological Transition, led by Vice President Teresa Ribera, establishes the obligation of large electricity consumption projects to present economic guarantees linked to the application for permission to access networks of high or medium voltage electricity (at a rate of 40,000 euros for each megawatt of power requested in general or 20,000 euros for storage projects).

The projects will lose their permission to connect to the grid and also the financial guarantees presented if, after five years from obtaining it, they do not demonstrate that they have made progress in their development and have an access contract for a contracted power of at least half of the capacity of the project. access authorization they have. They will also lose the permit if that contract is not maintained for at least three years.

In parallel, the Government also introduces a new regulation so that, in cases where there is competition for access to the network by large electricity consumers at a certain infrastructure node, the award is made through a competition in which the maturity of the projects, the associated investments and the contribution to the decarbonization of energy consumption, among other aspects, will be taken into account.