Wind power is on track to become Spain’s number one energy source this year, overtaking nuclear and gas-fired electricity for the first time.
So far, wind power has generated 23.1% of Spain’s electricity in 2021, above the 21% contribution from nuclear and 16.8% from combined cycle generators running on natural gas.
Unless there is a chance outage of wind farms across the country at the end of December, this will make 2021 the first year in which wind power will overtake all other energy sources in Spain.
It comes after the Spanish government cut coal production over the past two decades, a dramatic drop from 85.6% of the national mix in 2002 to less than 5% in 2019.
“Wind energy is going to continue to dominate the Spanish electricity grid for a long time,” Francisco Valverde, a consultant at energy firm Menta Energia, told NIUS.
Spain currently has 1,267 wind farms with 21,431 wind turbines providing 27 GW of wind power capacity – the second highest capacity in the EU after Germany.
The northern regions dominate wind power generation with Castilla y Leon providing 23% of wind power, Aragon providing 15.2% and Castilla La Mancha providing 14.2%.
It was also in the region of Navarre, to the north, that Acciona installed the first wind farm in Spain in 1994.
Some 27 years later, wind energy has risen to the top of Spain’s energy mix, providing 30,000 jobs and enjoying political support to continue to grow.
Spain’s National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan (PNIEC) hopes the industry will double in size to meet the goal of making Spain 74% renewable energy by 2030.
In 2021, total renewables are expected to produce 47% of Spain’s national energy mix – another national record.
Scientists now hope that 2022 will be the year when Spain joins Norway, Iceland and Sweden as the only European countries where more than 50% of energy is produced by renewables.