Energy Law in Spain (2): The Interlocutor Único de Nudo (IUN)

Royal Decree 1183/2020’, dated 29th December 2020, contains important innovations that could simplify future project development in the renewable energy sector in Spain. A relevant aspect of the new regulation concerns the procedure for granting grid connection and feed-in permits in Spain.

According to the previous regulation, grid connection and feed-in permits in Spain were granted in two separate procedures, subject to different rules depending on whether the future project was to be connected to the transport network (Red de Transporte) or the distribution network (Red de Distribución). Article 5.2 a) of the Royal Decree 1183/2020 provides a uniform procedure to simplify future applications.

Unification of the procedure for awarding grid connection and feed-in permits – the grid operator as a single point of contact

An important modification establishes that all project promoters shall be in direct contact with the respective grid operator regarding procedures for the awarding of grid connection and feed-in permits in Spain.

Until now, communication was frequently only possible via a third-party project promoter, the so-called Interlocutor Único de Nudo (IUN).

The grid operator, as a central point of contact, will handle future applications and communications directly; the previously controversial figure of the Interlocutor Único de Nudo (IUN) shall disappear.

The Problem with the figure of the Interlocutor Único de Nudo (IUN)

Essentially, the problem of the IUN revolves around cases in which several positions for grid connection exist or are possible at the same connection point when separate developers apply for grid connection and feed-in permits at such connection points.

In such cases, the previous regulation established the appointment of one of the project promoters as the so-called Interlocutor Único de Nudo (IUN). The IUN served as the sole point of contact between third-party project developers and the grid operator regarding all issues concerning the respective connection point. The IUN was usually a private company, often a direct competitor of the other project developers.

The conflicts associated with the old regulation are evident. Often, the correct handling of third-party communications and/or requests regarding certain grid connections and feed-in permits was in direct conflict with the IUN’s interests. Besides, the IUN’s services were free and there was no clear regulation on how, or according to which criteria, the IUN had to fulfil its obligations. The new law intention is to change this permanently.

The future of the IUN

The new regulation provides for a transitional solution regarding already appointed IUNs. The Disposición transitoria primera of Royal Decree 1183/2020 stipulates that all procedures ongoing as of 31st December 2020 regarding grid connection and feed-in permits shall be completed as usual with the intervention of the previously appointed IUN. However, the new procedure –without an IUN- shall apply after 31st December 2020.

The new regulation intends to lead to a more efficient allocation of grid connection and feed-in permits in Spain, avoiding the obstacles experienced in project development under the old regulation.

Pia V. Kohrs

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This article is not considered legal advice

Mariscal & Abogados has extensive experience providing legal advice to renewable energy projects in Spain, whether in the field of wind energy, solar energy or biomass energy, or in the field of geothermal or hydroelectric energy. If you have a query, do not hesitate to Contact us.