For one thing, while the deregulation of Spanish retail markets has driven interest among the nations utilities to differentiate themselves and so win overall share, Iberdrola is already competing quite effectively on its renewable power proposition — it is likely that most Spaniards who want to go green have already done so. Should Endesa require additional renewable capacity to meet demand, it also has the relatively captive resources of its recently announced corporate affiliate Enel Green Power to fall back on, allowing it to keep any value-added green power buying “in the family.”
If Scottish & Southern Energy finds it necessary to enter the fast-growing Spanish market, it may be easier to simply buy a small local utility and compete on the ground. This would give the company direct access to the wind-friendly Spanish subsidy regime; so far tightening budgets have not led Madrid to take a less active role in encouraging wind generation. However, this would also expose S&SE to more intense competition with Iberdrola on its home territory and entrenched operational specialty, and so may not be strategically viable.
Instead, the company might look to re-export Spanish power to Ireland across the Moyle interconnector. The strategic position is similar: prevailing Irish industrial power customers pay roughly ˆ0.015 more per kilowatt-hour than their counterparts in the United Kingdom (Zwanenburg 2009) and Moyle can support about 3,942 gigawatt-hours a year of traffic.
Furthermore, Scottish & Southern Energy already has a significant retail presence in Ireland, having completed its acquisition of Dublin-based wind producer Airticity in 2008. While Airticitys existing customer base is still relatively small, it provides a much more viable (and immediate) toehold in a relatively local foreign market (Moyle exits in Northern Ireland, so is still technically British territory; there are not even any currency exchange issues) compared to an ambitious but relatively risky intrusion into a completely alien — and highly competitive — Spanish business.
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