* Spain unveils draft cutbacks to renewable subsidies
* Wind power companies like Acciona hit hard
* Cutbacks look less painful for solar thermal firms
(Adds details and impact for other energy firms)
By Tracy Rucinski
MADRID, Feb. 4 Shares in Spanish renewable
energy firm Acciona dropped on Tuesday, hit by draft
proposals for cutting subsidies to the sector which analysts
said were likely to hit the company's portfolio of mature, wind
Shares in solar firm Abengoa, in contrast, gained
on relief the proposals were not harsher for its business.
The Spanish government is cutting renewable energy subsidies
as part of a drive to reduce a 30 billion euro ($41 billion)
power tariff deficit, built up during years of keeping prices
below regulated costs.
The draft rules, sent to affected companies on Monday, set
the rate of return for existing renewable energy facilities at
7.4 percent and at 7.5 percent for future operations, versus
over 10 percent previously.
But the new rules include variations according to over 1,000
different types of technology - including wind, thermosolar,
photovoltaic and biomass - and the year the assets were
For example, assets installed before 2004 will receive no
subsidy and will only be awarded with the wholesale power price,
while newer assets will receive the wholesale price plus a
"The news is worse than expected, mainly for wind energy,"
Banco Sabadell said in a note to clients, adding that Acciona,
with a large portfolio of mature wind assets, was likely to be
one of the worst hit.
Analysts said the measures, which still need government
approval, looked less painful for solar thermal assets, a
technology in which Abengoa is a major player.
Shares in Acciona lost 5.0 percent to 46.645 euros by 1320
GMT, the biggest fall on Spain's blue chip index, while
Abengoa gained 1.2 percent to 2.51 euros.
Overall, the draft proposals imply a cut in subsidies to the
renewables sector of more than 1.5 billion euros.
The new rates are based on a review by two independent
auditors and used Spain's 10-year government bond plus 300 basis
points as a reference.
Companies have 20 days to give their feedback on the new
rules, which have not yet been approved by the Spanish cabinet.
($1 = 0.7397 euros)
(Editing by Mark Potter)