Even if the wind stops blowing in the next three weeks, wind power will end the year as the main source of electricity in Spain. This will mean that wind will overtake nuclear in the national energy matrix for the first time since 2013, the only year since the start of the records where wind turbines were the main source of energy. This year was particularly good in terms of wind resources, while nuclear was affected by the closure of the GaroÃ±a plant in Burgos. Since then, however, wind power has continued to grow as a percentage of total power produced in both absolute and relative terms, a trend that is expected to continue for the near future.
The stage, put forward by the Spanish news site Nius, is only a foretaste of things to come. âWind energy will dominate the Spanish electricity grid for a long time,â says Francisco Valverde, consultant for energy company Menta EnergÃa.
According to the National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan (PNIEC), published by the Spanish government last year, the installed capacity of wind turbines will almost double by 2030. During this period, the growth rate of solar photovoltaic will be even greater . as the installed capacity has more than quadrupled, making it the second most important source of electricity, although it will lag far behind wind power even when solar thermal is factored in. During this time, installed nuclear power will fall to less than half of its current level. And both combined cycle power plants, which use natural gas, and hydroelectricity will maintain their weight in a mix where coal will no longer be included.
As natural gas prices skyrocket to four times more than last January and the cost of releasing carbon dioxide (CO2) under the country’s emissions trading system He European Union is soaring, 2021 has become the most expensive year in energy history. This has made wind power more relevant than ever. The equation is clear: the more wind turbines and solar panels contribute to the grid, the lower the cost to consumers and businesses buying their electricity from the regulated market, also known as PVPC, is. This happened last summer when, to make up for the shortage of wind power, combined cycle power plants had to increase their activity, pushing prices up. In the current system, the price of electricity is set by the last megawatt hour that enters the market on a given day and which, in the past year, has been produced for long periods of time by combined cycle power plants.
The increase in wind and solar PV generation so far in 2021 will bring the total contribution of all renewables to almost half of total generation: together they will contribute around 47%, according to the latest update. of the national electricity grid, Red ElÃ©ctrica de EspaÃ±a (REE), consulted by EL PAÃS. This despite the fact that hydropower production has been reduced by the reduced availability of water in a number of dams. To put the data into perspective, ten years ago renewables contributed less than a third of the electricity consumed in Spain.
Given recent developments and the avalanche of investment in green energy, experts believe that renewable energies should supplant other sources within a few years. How much exactly? “It will depend, to a large extent, on what goes into the new energy auctions. [for wind and solar] and the hydraulic supply, which changes everything, âexplains Pedro Linares, professor at the Pontificia Comillas University, specializing in energy issues.
According to Valverde, “right now it’s renewables that are making the money.” Despite the recent resurgence of nuclear power in the public debate, nuclear power is only viable if it is accompanied by “significant subsidies”, he says. “Sometimes it seems people are confused, but Spain has it all – we have more wind and more sun than virtually any other European country.”
Natalia Fabra, professor at Carlos III University in Madrid, adds: âOne thing is clear: renewable technologies will develop, others will not. Her impression, in fact, is that the green energy targets set by the PNIEC will be achieved well before 2030. will accelerate the process, âshe said.
According to Fabra, the main threat to achieving the goals lies in the social acceptance of these technologies, with growing protests in parts of Spain against the installation of wind turbines and photovoltaic panels. She explains: âIt will depend a lot on the policies put in place and on the fact that the projects contribute more to the local public funds and that the citizens notice a positive change.