Spain Sets Worldwide Example with Wind Energy
On April 16, 2012, Spain recorded more than 60% of total energy demand across the country generated by wind energy. An earlier record dated November 2011 set a 53% coverage. This was an equivalent of 11 standard nuclear power plants.
Spain is currently one of the biggest powers in renewable energy, especially solar and wind, and has the numbers to prove it. Wind energy provided more than half of Spain’s total electricity needs over the weekend as the country set this new national record for wind-generated power.
High winds gusting across much of the country, Spain’s huge network of wind farms jointly poured the equivalent of 13 nuclear power stations’ worth of electricity into the national grid. The new record boasts the country that holds the world’s third largest array of wind turbines, after the United States and Germany.
The massive output of wind turbines meant the Spanish grid had more electricity than was needed over the weekend. In previous years similar weather has forced wind farms to turn turbines off. However, now the spare electricity is exported or used by hydroelectric plants to pump water back into their dams — effectively storing the electricity for future use.
José Donoso, head of the Spanish Wind Energy Association, recalled that just five years ago critics had claimed the grid could never cope with more than 14% of its supply from wind. “We think that we can keep growing and go from the present 17GW megawatts to reach 40GW in 2020.” he told El País newspaper.
Wind farms have this month outperformed other forms of electricity generation in Spain, beating gas into second place and producing 80% more than the country’s nuclear plants.
Experts estimate that by the end of this year, Spain will have provided a quarter of its energy needs with renewables, with wind leading the way, followed by hydroelectric power and solar energy.
What is unfortunate, is that the National Energy Commission (NEC) in Spain, published this week on its website that they do not expect any growth in renewable energy over the next three years. The economic situation of Spain is blocking any investments at the moment. However, opportunities will increase after 2013 ……