Spain has received a new award to the contrary in the battle it faces with dozens of investors, Spanish and foreign, for the cut in premiums for renewable energy in 2013. The latest resolution of the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) , the body dependent on the World Bank where most of the disputes are being dealt with, has agreed with the German Steag GmbH, which presented an arbitration in 2015 invoking the Energy Charter Treaty.

The firm claimed 96.6 million euros and the recent award condemns Spain to compensate the German firm with 27,675,000 million euros plus interest -the total currently exceeds 30.5 million euros- and more the 70% of the plaintiff’s representation costs -and 100% of their own-, as well as 50% of the arbitrators’ emoluments.

Steag filed an arbitration claim against Spain with ICSID on January 21, 2015
Steag, which is represented in this process by the law firm Clifford Chance, filed an arbitration claim against Spain with the ICSID on January 21, 2015 for the hacking of renewable premiums. The German company owns part of the Arenales Solar thermosolar plant, with 50 megawatts (MW) of installed power and located in Morón de la Frontera (Seville).

In any case, the German firm maintains its commitment to Spain and this same year it has announced, in collaboration with the manager KGAL, two new photovoltaic parks in locations near the cities of Granada and Almería.

With this new defeat at ICSID, the balance is tipped a little more in favor of demanding investors. The awards that admit, at least partially, their claims already far exceed ten, with a recognized amount exceeding 1,000 million euros, although the Spanish Government has in many cases presented annulment appeals. Although this year Spain has scored important victories over investors such as Blackrock, Eurus Energy or Freif Eurowind, the defeats for the moment are more.

Spain faces dozens of lawsuits in different international arbitration tribunals in which investors claim around 10 billion euros, according to a report from the Independent Authority for Fiscal Responsibility (AIReF) this year.

State aid
Spain has also just obtained a contrary result in its appeal for annulment against the award that ordered it to pay 101 million euros to the Luxembourg fund Antin, which presented an arbitration claim before the ICSID for the cut of the premiums to renewables on 22 November 2013. The World Bank organism has rejected the appeal of the Spanish State and has condemned it, in a recent resolution, to also pay 2.3 million to Antin for legal costs.

The ICSID is not the only avenue open, in any case, to try to avoid paying compensation to Antin
The ICSID is not the only avenue open, in any case, to try to avoid paying compensation to Antin. Thus, as this newspaper published last July, the European Commission (EC) has initiated an investigation into this arbitration award because the Luxembourg fund had a series of plants in Spain under a regime that had not been previously authorized by Brussels. and whose payment could now be considered state aid.

By Rak Esh

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