The electricity grid operator in Spain, Red Eléctrica de España (REE), announced that renewable electricity generation provided 45.8 percent of the electricity demand of the mainland for the first six months of 2018.
The record-breaking renewables production was accomplished thanks to favorable weather that allowed the country to produce a record 22.6% of its electricity needs from wind power. That is a 10.4% increase over the same period last year and can be attributed to more favorable weather for wind generation. Hydroelectric production was similarly bolstered by the weather, increasing 74% versus the same span in 2017.
The extreme variability of hydro and wind demonstrate how macro weather trends effect renewables and demand that more storage be added to the grid, in one form or another, to provide stable power to consumers.
On the solar front, the 4.6GW of installed solar PV and 2.3GW of CSP capacity on the Spanish mainland and outlying islands was much more stable. Solar produced 4.6% of the country’s electricity needs, of which 3% was generated from photovoltaic solar, while solar thermal produced 1.6%.
Taking into account the contribution of nuclear energy, which supplied 20.6% to the Spanish mainland’s electricity demand, and the second highest electricity contribution after this, wind, REE says that “technologies that do not emit CO2 into the atmosphere represented 67.5% of the generation of the first half of the year.” While nuclear comes with its own set of very serious problems and challenges it does help nations to decarbonize on the road to more sustainable forms of electricity generation.
Spain made an early push into renewables in 2008, in parallel to the heavily marketed German Energiewende and much like in Germany, solar installations tapered off in the years following the heavy initial investment in solar. In recent years however, solar panel prices have fallen, prompting a renewed interest in the country in solar that has sparked a wave of new installations across the country.
These new installations are critical as the country looks to push beyond its current 48.5% renewables penetration and move farther along on the journey to 100% renewable electricity generation.
Source: PV Magazine
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