2013 was an excellent year for wind energy in Spain as this renewable energy source became the first electricity source, just in front of nuclear. Wind power indeed accounted for more than 21 percent of the total electricity consumed in the country.
According to Somos Eolicos, a Spanish website, wind power produced almost 50 TWh in 2013, an increase by 16 percent over 2012. This large amount of electricity from wind prevented importing up to 3.7 billion Euros of fossil fuels.
Spain has an installed capacity of over 22 GW, the fourth largest in the world behind Germany, the United States of America and China (with 31 GW, 60GW and 75 GW, respectively). In 2013, the global wind power capacity reached 318 GW.
Furthermore, a local company is extremely well placed in the global competition. Gamesa is indeed the fourth largest company of the sector.
In 1996, there was only 163 MW of wind power capacity in the country. In 2001, already 3,442 MW; in 2005, 9,910 MW; in 2011, 21,673 MW. That’s right, the Spanish wind energy capacity grew 137 times between 1996 and 2012.
As a result of the boom, electricity in Spain got a little bit cheaper, 0.8% percent less in the first half of 2013, compared to a 2.32% increase in the overall Eurozone.
However, in 2013, only 175 MW of capacity were installed as the Spanish central government has decreased its financial aids.
Overall, renewable energy sources such as wind, hydro and solar generated almost a third – 32 percent – of the electricity in the country in 2012. A decade ago, renewables brought only around 15 to 22 percent.
These are fantastic news that show how large countries can rely massively on clean energy sources. Another example of this is neighboring Portugal, which will be the topic of a next article.