Almost half of Spain’s electricity in March was generated by renewable sources — mostly wind and hydroelectric. About 22.5% was from wind and 17.5% from hydro, with the rest produced by solar PV, solar thermal, and thermal renewables.
Spain is a nation with 47 million people, so its recent renewable electricity achievement is nothing to dismiss. A state in Germany was close to 100% renewables (for electricity) last year, but it obviously is much, much smaller. In other words, critics will not be able to dismiss a whole nation achieving nearly 50% renewable electricity.
Another key point is that we will see more such achievements as renewable energy continues to grow. How long will it take for Spain to get to 70%? Solar power has dropped in cost dramatically, perhaps so much that most people are still unaware of it. Currently, Spain only gets about 3–5% of its electricity from solar, so with these lower costs, it could expand fairly easily to 10%. Then, 50% renewable electricity might become repeatable, month after month.
Spain has already exceeded the 50% threshold, but doing it consistently has not been possible. Portugal has achieved 70%, but this country has a population of 10,000,000. It still is a great success, but critics could dismiss it as a small country, and therefore not relevant on the world stage. Spain, however, is a major player in the European Union and has a similar population size to France and Italy. Hopefully, these two countries will see Spain’s example and also try to get to 50% renewables.
When you throw in Germany, which is already a solar and wind power leader globally, you have 4 countries with a total population of about 200 million. Imagine Spain, Italy, France, and Germany all together running on 50% renewables, and all the press that would be generated by such a feat. It should be on a level as the greatest human feats, such as sending humans into space. Renewable energy is that important.
Image Credit: Oscar San Jose
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