Wind generated 21.1% of Spain’s energy in 2013, while coal-fired power plants declined by 4.7%
By Sophie Yeo
Spain generated the largest chunk of its energy from wind in 2013 – the first country to hit this renewables milestone – according to figures from the country’s national wind association.
Asociación Empresarial Eólica (AEE) is set to confirm that wind produced 21.1% of a total 246,166 gigawatt hours of electricity consumed in Spain last year, just edging ahead of nuclear’s 21.0% of the total. This is a 12% increase on the 2012 figure, when wind produced 18.1% of the country’s power.
“Throughout 2013, the all-time highs of wind power production were exceeded,” says the report.
“On February 6, wind power recorded a new maximum of instantaneous power with 17,056 MW at 3:49 pm (2.5% up on the previous record registered in April 2012), and that same day the all-time maximum for hourly energy was also exceeded reaching 16,918 MWh.”
Hydroelectricity also doubled its contribution, adding 14.4% of the total energy in the grid in 213, compared to 7.7% in 2012.
In total, renewable energy sources provided 42.4% of the country’s electricity, up from 10.5% the previous year. According to the report, the large size of the contribution was favoured by the high volume of rainfall that fell in Spain this year.
The added renewable energy in the mix in 2013 is predicted to have reduced the greenhouse gas emissions of Spain’s energy sector by 23.1% on 2012 levels.
Meanwhile the coal industry will have to register another hit to an already turbulent year: the coal-fired power plant share of the energy mix was down to 14.6% in 2013 from 19.3% in 2012, and down to 9.6% from 14.1% for combined cycle power stations.
2013 also marked a strong year for wind power in the UK, which, like Spain, achieved new milestones in renewable power generation. December broke the record for the most energy delivered by wind power in month, when the sector delivered 10% of Britain’s total energy demand.
This is yet one more chapter in the story of the industry’s growth over the last few years. Trade association RenewableUK reports that installed wind capacity increased by 40% between July 2012 and June 2013.
Today, China WindPower Group received the financial support to expand into the solar sector, securing US$ 924million to fund its ‘PV pipeline’. Its forays into the world of solar power is expected to become a “major profit contributor to the group”, according to Yan Zhifeng, the company’s executive director.