Spain’s power grid operator, Red Eléctrica de España (REE), has revealed that during 2013, for the first time ever, wind power contributed most to the country’s annual electricity usage.
Furthermore, greenhouse gas emissions from Spain’s electricity sector are likely to have fallen 23.1% in 2013, as electricity generation from wind power and hydroelectric projects rose, the Guardian has reported.
According to the REE report (PDF), wind farms met 21.1% of overall electricity demand, only just in front of Spain’s nuclear reactors, which met 21% of power. Higher than average rainfall also meant that Spain’s hydropower projects provided 16% higher than their average output. In fact, by the end of 2013 renewables accounted for 49.1% of total installed power capacity in Spain.
Early on in 2013, on a windy 6 February, wind power production reached an all-time high for Spain, recording a new maximum of instantaneous power of 17,056MW at 3.49pm. This was 2.5% above the previous record set in April of the previous year. The record for hourly electricity generation was also exceeded on the same day.
This rising renewable energy production, and a fall in overall power demand of 2.1%, means that the Spain’s reliance on coal and gas-fired power plants, as well as on nuclear power plants, is dwindling. Power output from combined cycle gas plants fell 34.2% year-on-year, nuclear power output fell 8.3%. and generation from coal-fired power plants fell 27.3%.
This is all good news for the future of future of renewable energy production, carbon emissions reductions, and perhaps for the long-term future of Spain’s economy. After all, once installed, the fuel for renewable energy generation is free.