Spain loses internat’l arbitration in legacy solar dispute

Spain to pay out 112mn euros after arbitration court rules against Rajoy gov't solar energy policies. Photo: Cuatro.com

The World Bank’s arbitration court has ruled against Spain in a dispute over the renewable energy policies of the previous administration of former-President Mariano Rajoy, ordering the government to pay 112 million euros to French infrastructure fund Antin for losses suffered after the Rajoy government abruptly changed its policies on the purchase of electricity from renewable sources in 2013.

Spain’s new Socialist administration has pledged a reversal of the Rajoy policies, with newly appointed Environmental Transition Minister Teresa Ribera saying the government will encourage the production and use of renewable energy going forward and will overturn the so-called “solar tax” imposed by the Rajoy administration on the consumption of solar energy by homeowners and businesses.

But, the change in the government’s position on renewables comes too late for the Antin case, in which the World Bank’s ICSID (International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes) has found Spain liable for damages plus 60 percent of court costs over losses incurred by Antin at two thermosolar power plants in Granada.

The ICSID ruling said that Spain’s regulatory change was so abrupt that it violated Article 10 of the global Energy Charter, an international treaty to which Spain is a signatory that guarantees international investments in the energy sector worldwide.

The ruling is the third by the ICSID against Spain and the fourth abitration case the country has lost in the past two years over the country’s renewable energy policies during the Rajoy years.

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