Friday, November 08, 2013

The Lunatics Now Have Permission To Enter The Asylum

Over two months ago, I wrote an article ("The Sun Never Shines On Solar Energy") which, for anyone who has solar panels at their residence in Mallorca or any part of Spain, should have set serious alarm bells ringing. They should have been rung and they should be ringing even more loudly now. The Spanish Government is in the process of instituting legislation which renders domestic solar panels and energy all but redundant. It is legislation which means that investment that householders have made in green energy will have been for almost nothing. It is legislation, furthermore, which could end up costing anyone who does not comply with this legislation fines of up to 60 million euros. You have not misread this. 60 million euros.

Why is there not the most almighty outcry about this legislation? Even by the standards of other legislative vandalism and of failures to rectify previous legislative errors, that which is contained in the new law for the electricity sector is the most absurd yet and envisages the levying of fines for non-compliance which are not simply punitive but totally outrageous, so much so that they would of course be impossible to collect, even were they to actually be levied.

To remind you what this legislation entails, all solar panels have to be registered. No longer will it be possible for householders to "sell" excess capacity to the grid, as has been the case and, moreover, panels will have to be connected to the grid, which will enable - wait for it - a tax to be levied on their use. If the panels are not registered and not connected, then the fines can kick in.

The legislation all but signals the end of the hope that householders could be self-sufficient in their energy production and consumption. It is legislation brought about by the government's energy tariff deficit and by the muscle applied by the large electricity suppliers who could see their oligopoly status being undermined. The government has caved in to the industry, has given it what it wants and taken away from the consumer what he or she wants and also taken away from the environment and green energy what it wants. It is an absolute disgrace.

And it gets worse. Included in the bill is a provision whereby inspectors will be able to enter properties to check that connections are as they now must be. They won't need a court order, only if the householder refuses entrance and then has to wait the return of the inspectors along with the police. Already, there are grave doubts being expressed as to the legality of enabling inspectors to act in such a way.

The bedlam that has been created by successive governments' energy policies is now at its most manic. The householder, who could have claimed asylum from invasion by an inspectorate (and not even the police), will find he has no sanctuary. The lunatics in government long took over their own asylum and now they are giving permission for other asylum to be violated. I say again, it is an absolute disgrace.

But why should we be surprised? Why should we think that governments wouldn't bow down to the demands of specific industries. In the Balearics, we have a regional government which has prostrated itself in front of the hotel industry and given it all it wishes, while at the same time having no answer to the question as to how all tourists can be accommodated only in hotels or other permitted accommodation. It has acted without logic, without appreciation of what its legislation will produce. It has acted irrationally, as it has also acted irrationally with its implementation of trilingual teaching.

This is also a regional government which has acted in a discriminatory fashion. Faced with threats from another business sector, the retailers, it found an excuse for not applying its in-any-event idiotic green taxes. It bowed down to the retailers while at the same time failing to scrap the one green tax that has been introduced. The one that has meant, in certain instances, water bills doubling since the start of this year. For households with high water use and with solar panels, life has become that much tougher. And for those households which do have solar panels, they had better get wise as to this new legislation and pretty damn quick. Otherwise, they could find themselves presented with a fine in the several millions.

What will the tax on the solar panels amount to? Good question. But one report has suggested it will be that high that it will be profitable for only a few households to bother with producing their own solar energy.

The sun may have been shining nicely in Mallorca for the past few days, but for all the good it does for green energy, it may as well not bother shining. Ludicrous.


andrew said...

Thanks for your observation, Alan. I have removed the photo. As far as I am aware the new law (which comes under the category of emergency laws, believe it or not) is just for household and other property self-sufficiency in producing electricity, so solar heating panels are presumably excluded. As always though, the devil will be in the detail. As for parliamentary opposition to this law, if there has been any, it has been muted. Thanks again for drawing attention to the potential confusion from the photo.

Son Fe Mick said...

I have just enjoyed a week back in wet blighty staying in my sons small house complete with solar panels on the roof. He has not had to pay for the installation but still benefits from a reduced electricity bill.
Here in Mallorca the temperature of my pool is kept approximately 3degrees higher plus I get free hot water thanks to water solar panels.
I was thinking of getting some electrical solar panels to reduce my bills, help save the planet and give yet more work to the local economy.
Please beat me with a stick if I have any more similar ideas

andrew said...

Won't be me doing the beating, Mick, it'll be the solar stasi when they come up your drive in the middle of the night. Mad law. Really mad.