Published on February 29th, 2012 | by Zachary Shahan5
Wind Energy Output Hit Record High in Spain (Kept Electricity Prices Lower than Neighbors’)
In the month of February, wind energy supplied Spain with a record 21.7% of its electricity needs, 4.890 GWh of electricity. This helped keep the country’s price of electricity lower and was a huge benefit for the country’s economy (see more details at the end of this post).
As noted by wind energy company Gamesa, the electricity produced by wind power in Spain would have been enough to power the entire country of Portugal, its neighbor to the West.
And, actually, production in the first half of February was much higher than in the second. Wind accounted for a very significant 28.9% of average electricity demand in the first half of February.
“What’s more, wind energy enabled Spain to avoid around 260 million euros in income transfers abroad by reducing the bill for importing fossil fuels and by preventing CO2emissions,” Gamesa wrote. ”Wind energy prevented emissions totalling 1.8 million tonnes of CO2 in February, the equivalent of planting 900,000 trees.”
Of course, the large amount of wind power, which reduces the price of electricity, kept Spain’s electricity bills much lower than those of its European counterparts in the midst of some very cold February weather.
“While in the first two weeks of the month the average Spanish electricity market price stood at €51/MWh, in France it was more than double at €105/MWh.”
Red Eléctrica de España (REE) reports that this record output from wind power made it the third largest contributor to the country’s electricity production in February, only behind coal and nuclear power.
Some more fun facts on wind energy industry in Spain:
- It provides Spaniards with ~30,000 jobs.
- It “exports technology valued at more than 2 billion euros annually and eliminates the need for importing 2 billion euros’ worth of fossil fuels, helping to offset Spain’s current account deficit.” (Hear people tell you Spain is in financial trouble because of its clean energy investments? Correct them by explaining that clean energy helps to keep them from being in an even tighter situation.)
- The big one (especially for discussion the matter mentioned above): “for every euro wind energy receives in government incentives, the industry returns three euros to the larger economy.“