Renewable energy in Spain

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Renewable energy in Spain represented 42.8% of total electricity generation in 2014. Overall 27.4% of Spain's electricity was generated from wind and solar in 2014.[1] Spain has set the target of generating 45% of its energy needs from renewable energy sources. Spain has a very large wind power capability built up over many years, solar power produced less than a third of that of wind power in 2015.

In the first half of 2013 the renewable energy sector in Spain underwent a major restructuring that will make the official targets very hard to meet.[2] [3] Following the 2008 financial crisis Spain cut back drastically on its investment in renewable energy sources and new installations of wind and solar power sources all but stagnated between 2012 and 2015.

Then in 2015 solar power suddenly demonstrated a possible way through the impasse. The continued fall in prices for solar systems and Spain's abundant sunshine lead to prices for solar power to reach grid price parity. Suddenly there was the potential for sustained and spontaneous growth in solar installations in Spain as households and producers could produce power more economically. However the Spanish government introduced what has been dubbed the worlds first "sun tax" on solar installations making them economically less viable as well as draconian fines (up to 60 million Euros) for anyone not complying with the tax.

The tax has proved highly controversial. On the one hand the government has argued that those generating their own power still rely on the national grid for power backup and so should be liable for contributing to the cost. On the other hand, the solar industry has argued that the government is simply trying to protect the centralised established power producers who's revenues would be threatened by this competiitve solar threat. Environmentalists have criticised the tax for artificially blocking Spain from continuing its long standing movement to renewable energy production.

Whatever the merits of both arguments, the controversy can only become more heightened as the price of solar energy continues to fall and if PV solar power installed capacity in Spain were to continue sliding down the EU league from 12th position in 2014 (102.9 kW per 1000 inhabitants). In the same year in terms of wind energy production Spain was much stronger in 3rd position (495 kW per1000 inhabitants).

Percentage of total National Electricity Demand Coverage by component renewable sources, Spain 2015[4]

Wind power 19.1%
Hydroelectric 11.1%
Solar PV 3.1%
Solar Thermal 2.1%
Renewable Thermal 2.0%
TOTAL RENEWABLE 37.4%

Wind power provided the largest share at 19.1% followed by hydroelectric power at 11.1%. Solar power provided 5.2% and renewable thermal a further 2%. The total electicity supplied (demand coverage) from renewables was 37.4% of Spain's requirements in 2015.

Components of renewable electricity coverage in Spain 2015.[4]

Contribution of Renewable Energy to total electricity generation in Spain[4][5][6][7]

Year 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
% tot 18.4% 20.2% 20.4% 26.4% 35.3% 32.5% 31.9% 42.4% 42.8% 37.4%

Percentage electricity generation by renewables:

Sharp variation from one year to the next is largely due to the substantial differences in hydroelectric production from one year to the next. Excluding hydroelectric production electricity generation from renewable energy sources grew from around 10 percent[8] in 2006 to 26.3 percent of demand coverage in 2015. Most of the growth occured in the years leading up to 2012 with little change in baseline capacity between 2012 and 2015. Renewable energy generated electricity had a record year in 2014 when it supplied 42.8% of Spain's national demand.

Wind power[edit]

Main article: Wind power in Spain

Installed windpower capacity MW[4][9]

1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
834 1,812 2,235 3,337 4,825 6,203 8,264 10,028 11,623 15,131 16,689 19,149 20,676 21,674 22,796 22,959 22,986 23,003

Installed capacity MW:

In 2014 Spain was the world's fourth biggest producer of wind power. In that year, the year-end installed capacity was 23 GW and the annual production was 51,439 GWh, a share of total electricity consumption of 21.1%.[10] Installed capacity grew from around 0.8GW in 1998 to approximately 23 GW by 2012.

Hydroelectric Power[edit]

Annual generation in GW/h[4][11]

2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Hydro 38,653 27,571 19,455 33,970 35,860 25,733
Other Hydro<5MW 6,824 5,294 4,645 7,099 7,067 5,663
Wind Hydro 9
Total 45,477 32,865 24,100 41,069 42,927 31,405

GW/h annual production:

Annual electricity generation from hydroelectric sources varies considerably from year to year. A rough calculation shows that the contribution to total net generation varied approximately between 9-17 percent annually. This variation helps explain the fluctuating annual figures for total renewable energy in Spain. Production in 2012 was a little over half that of 2010 at just 24,100 gW/h.

Solar power[edit]

Main article: Solar power in Spain

Installed capacity:[12]

2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Solar PV MW 125 637 3,353 3,398 3,838 4,259 4,560 4,649 4,646 4,667
Solar Thermal MW 11 11 61 232 532 999 1,950 2,300 2,300 2,300
Total MW 136 648 3,414 3,630 4,370 5,258 6,510 6,949 6,946 6,967

Growth in installed capacity:

In 2005 Spain became the first country in Europe to require the installation of photovoltaic electricity generation in new buildings, and the second in the world (after Israel) to require the installation of solar hot water systems.[13] With the construction of the PS10, located near Seville, Spain became the first country to ever have a commercial solar energy power tower.[14] In recent years there has been much controversy over a tax on PV power generation as the cost of PV solar installations has reached grid parity in Spain according to several sources. Solar power first began to be installed significantly in 2006 with 136 MW installed capacity before rising rapidly to 6,949 MW by 2013. Little change has occurred in installed capacity between 2013 and 2015.

Panoramic view of the photovoltaic power station of Cariñena, Zaragoza. The panels are mounted on dual axis trackers in order to maximise the intensity of incoming direct radiation. This solution enables the arrays to track the sun as the earth turns.

Renewable Thermal[edit]

Growth in installed capacity:[12]

2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
MW 574 588 635 782 821 887 975 952 989 989

Renewable thermal installed capacity grew from 574 MW in 2006 to 989 MW by 2014.

Production[edit]

Production by source and Autonomous Community:

Renewable Electricity in Spain (GWh, 2006 data)[15]
Autonomous Community Hydroelectric power Wind power Solar power Biomass power Solid waste power Total Renewable Generation Total Electricity Demand  % Renewable of Total Electricity Demand
Castile and León 6960 3840 14 274 87 11175 15793 70.8%
Galicia 7561 5970 1 242 317 14091 20279 69.5%
La Rioja 124 897 1 3 2 1027 1860 55.2%
Aragón 3073 3342 1 63 8 6487 11885 54.6%
Navarre 379 2248 28 269 0 2924 5401 54.1%
Extremadura 2244 0 1 0 0 2245 5076 44.2%
Castile-La Mancha 710 3935 8 99 34 4786 12686 37.7%
Asturias 1680 357 0 221 400 2658 12391 21.5%
Cantabria 875 0 0 11 41 927 5693 16.3%
Catalonia 3223 301 7 77 241 3849 48498 7.9%
Andalusia 946 1042 5 728 0 2721 40737 6.7%
Basque Country 336 339 3 55 326 1059 20934 5.1%
Valencia 1041 266 13 55 0 1375 27668 5.0%
Canary Islands 0 288 0 0 0 288 9372 3.1%
Balearic Islands 0 5 0 0 133 138 6235 2.2%
Murcia 65 93 6 12 0 176 8334 2.1%
Madrid 83 0 8 58 330 479 30598 1.6%
Ceuta & Melilla 0 0 0 0 2 2 391 0.5%
SPAIN 29301 22924 97 2167 1921 56410 283829 19.9%

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Spanish Electric Report 2014 (ES)
  2. ^ economist.com
  3. ^ "Further Spanish Energy Reform Could Mean". renewableenergyworld.com. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Preliminary Report 2015, Red Electrica Espana Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name ":12" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  5. ^ Corporate Responsibility Report 2009, p91, Red Eléctrica Corporación
  6. ^ Preliminary Report 2013, p12, Red Eléctrica de España
  7. ^ Corporate Responsibility Report 2014, p61, Red Eléctrica de España
  8. ^ Annual Report 2007, Red Electrica de Espana, figure for wind power only, excudes very small contribution from other sources.
  9. ^ Based on sources listed in the page: Wind power in the European Union
  10. ^ The Spanish Electricity System Preliminary Report 2014 (PDF), Red Eléctrica de España (REE), 2014 
  11. ^ The Spanish electricity system 2014,p33, Red Electric de Espana
  12. ^ a b Red Electrica de Espana, Publications, National indicators, Installed power capacity http://www.ree.es/en/publications/statistical-data-of-spanish-electrical-system/national-indicators/national-indicators
  13. ^ REN21: Renewables Global Status Report - Update 2006
  14. ^ "beyondfossilfuel.com". beyondfossilfuel.com. 
  15. ^ Red Eléctrica de España Annual Report 2006

External links[edit]