Spain Sanctions Semiconductor Investment Plan

The Spanish Government has approved the €12.25 billion investment plan to bolster its semiconductor industry.

FREMONT, CA: The budget for the PERTE Chip Strategic Project for the Recovery and Economic Transformation of Microelectronics and Semiconductors, which was originally €11 billion, has been increased to €12.25 billion by 2027. Nadia Calvino, the First Vice-President of the Spanish government and minister for the Economy and Digital Transformation, stated on the La Moncloa website that it is probably the most ambitious project of the recovery plan due to its size, transformative impact on the industry, and contribution to Spain's and the European Union's technological autonomy. The main objective of the PERTE Chip investment plan is to increase the design and production capabilities of the Spanish microelectronics and semiconductor industry, covering the entire value chain from design to chip manufacturing, and to create a multiplier effect not only in the technology sectors but also in the industry and economy as a whole.

The strategy will be built around four pillars:

• R&D on cutting-edge microprocessors, alternative architectures, integrated photonics, and quantum circuits should be prioritised.

• Fabless companies, test pilot lines, and semiconductor training networks should all be encouraged.

• Install manufacturing factories in Spain with capacities greater than and less than 5 nanometers.

• Encourage the creation of a chip pool to help the European IT manufacturing industry.

• This long-term project is likely to be based on public-private partnerships and will be part of a larger European initiative to assist the semiconductor ecosystem.

The European Commission unveiled the European Chips Act on February 8, 2022, to catch up with other areas in semiconductor manufacturing and improve supply chain resilience. It aims to raise €43 billion in public and private investment for the semiconductor industry by 2030, to double the EU's existing chip production share to 20 per cent. When the European Chips Act was launched, Calvino remarked on the experience of previous years that highlighted the necessity to mitigate the strategic dependence, be it on masks, vaccinations or chips. The Spanish government has addressed companies in the industry and given a substantial proposal for an innovative project at the European level so that enterprises participate in the design and production of the future European microchip.

US semiconductor giant Intel announced a partnership with Spain to boost zettascale computing in Europe as part of its €80 billion pan-European investment plan. Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez praised Intel's choice of Spain for the RISC-V processor lab at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center in a tweet. It is highly anticipated that the authorised PERTE chip would help to build a stable ecosystem for the future of computing in Europe and attract huge investments in the semiconductor industry. Intel and the BSC established a cooperative R&D facility in 2011 to calculate speeds on the exaFLOP scale. Intel aimed to achieve Exascale performance by 2021. Intel and BSC are currently developing zettascale architecture over the coming decade.