If the bill registered on Friday by the Popular Parliamentary Group (PPG) in the Congress of Deputies is fully approved, the definitive or temporary closure of facilities generating electrical energy in general, not only nuclear power plants, and with power higher than 50 MW, would require three mandatory opinions -of the CNMC, the IDAE and the Office of Climate Change- within a period of three months.
The purpose of the bill, as explained in the explanatory memorandum, is “to ensure that decisions on plant closures are duly consistent with energy planning instruments and with the goals of security of supply, climate change and the price of energy. ” To this end, it amends article 53 of Law 24/2013 of December 26 on the Electricity Sector. Specifically, it adds a subordinate to its section seven and incorporates a section 8.bis.
While section 7 of article 53 of the text passed in 2013 says that the competent Public Authority may only refuse authorization to modify an existing production facility when the requirements stipulated in the applicable regulations are not met or when it has a negative impact on the operation of the system, the Popular Parliamentary Group proposes to add: “without prejudice to the cases foreseen in section 8.bis of this article for closure authorizations“.
The text passed in 2013 says that the competent Public Authority may only refuse authorization to modify an existing production facility when the requirements stipulated in the applicable regulations are not met or when it has a negative impact on the operation of the system.
And, consequently, its Bill includes the addition of a section 8.bis that says that the definitive or temporary closure of peninsular electric power production facilities with power higher than 50 MW will require three mandatory opinions within a period of three months: of the National Commission of the Markets and the Competition; of the Office of Climate Change and the Institute for the Diversification of Energy Saving.
The first would seek to identify adverse effects on prices or competition in the electricity market. The second would report on the impact of the closure in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. Finally, the third would yield data on the effects in the accomplishment of the renewable energies and energy efficiency targets.
The PPG also proposes that the authorization be denied if only one of them is unfavorable. Furthermore – in line with what was published in previous months – the text submitted provides for the possibility of regulating measures for the plant to continue its operation, for example, a competitive concurrence procedure in which the ownership of the installation is transferred. All of this may be done whilst respecting section 5, which they do not amend, and which provides for the closure denial when the system operator considers that there is a risk to the security of supply.
Nuclear power plants
In the text of the Bill the PPG states that the provisions of section 8.bis will also apply to nuclear power plants. “Both the express notice of the owner of a nuclear power plant to the Ministry of Energy, Tourism and Digital Agenda of its intention to cease the exploitation of the same, as the expiration of the deadline established by this Ministry without the said holder having submitted the request for renewal of the exploitation authorization, will be considered a request for closure authorization “, the Bill submitted says, although it foresees that a new term may be established by means of a ministerial order.
In this case, “the issuance of the aforementioned opinions must be taken into consideration, without prejudice to the reports that have to be requested from the Nuclear Safety Council as established by regulation,” they add.