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They tried to crucify Gabriel Calzada for pointing out that their wind and solar programs were a big waste of money. But even Spain’s socialist government recognizes economic reality when default comes knocking. You can’t keep spending $750,000 per “green” job created when you’re going broke.

April 30 (Bloomberg) — Spain is lancing an 18 billion-euro ($24 billion) investment bubble in solar energy that has boosted public liabilities, choking off new projects as it works to cut power prices and insulate itself from Greece’s debt crisis.

Industry Minister Miguel Sebastian is negotiating reductions in subsidies for solar plants that would curb energy costs, a ministry spokesman said this week. Grupo T-Solar Global SA, the world’s biggest photovoltaic plant owner, shelved its Spanish stock offering three days ago. Solar Opportunities SL postponed a 130 million-euro deal due to be signed today.

“They’ve put the fear of god into all these investors,” said Paul Turney, chief executive officer of Madrid-based Solar Opportunities. “By the time they’ve finished dithering around, they’ll have hurt their credibility so badly that no one will want to invest.”

Spain is battling on several fronts to revive its economy and convince government bondholders it can avoid getting dragged into a Greek-style debt spiral after Standard & Poor’s cut its credit rating April 28.

The line that follows tells you everything you need to know about what sort of “green” is involved in Spain’s project:

Solar-plant owners including General Electric Co. earn about 12 times what’s paid for power from fossil fuels. Most of that is a subsidy charged to customers. The rest is charged to taxpayers.

The Washington Examiner, 30 April 2010