ANDALUCIA’S Andasol power plant is at the centre of a legal battle worth ‘hundreds of millions of euros’.
Nine investors in the Granada-based solar power plant – the largest in Europe at two square kilometres – are suing Spain, after cuts to solar energy subsidies caused massive falls in profit.
The lawsuit claims that Spain’s decision to reduce subsidies paid for electricity produced by solar power amounts to wrongful government appropriation.
Spanish and German investors are suing Spain under the Energy Charter Treaty, which 54 states – including Spain – have signed.
The charter gives investors of those countries the right to sue signatories if their investments are not protected or are illegally damaged through state legislation.
A 2007 government campaign, telling Spaniards that ‘the sun could be yours’, encouraged investment in solar power in return for high subsidies.
But the government’s enthusiasm for renewable energy was slashed by the financial crisis, along with the promised subsidies in January 2014.
This is the 10th case pending against Spain at the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), and will be the first of 2015.
All the court cases against Spain following the cuts amount to billions of euros worth of claims against the state.