Spanish wind power industry have installed a total of 8,000 MW in 17 countries

According to findings published in the Spanish Wind Energy Association’s “Eólica 09" annual report, on 1 January 2009 wind power capacity in other countries installed and operated by Spanish companies amounted to almost 8,000 MW. Among the 17 countries in which Spanish companies operate, the greatest amount of installed capacity is in the United States with a total of 3,460 MW, followed by Portugal with 1,161 MW. This degree of internationalisation – which also applies to Spanish wind turbine and component manufacturers, engineering firms and service providers operating in around 30 countries – underlines the Spanish wind industry’s leadership position.

Spain is a net exporter of equipment, services and technology associated with the industry and progress in Spain has attracted a noteworthy number of foreign investors. In fact, according to the latest data collated by the AEE, exports of the wind turbine manufacturing sub-sector in Spain alone reached €2,234 million in 2008. If exports of components and services are also considered, total wind-energy associated exports from Spain stood at €2,950 million at 2008 year end, up 15% on the €2,550 million achieved in 2007.

According to "Eólica 09", in addition to the 16,740 MW of wind power installed in Spain at 1 January 2009, a further 7,940 MW has been installed by Spanish developers in 17 countries around the globe. At 1 January, almost half of this capacity (3,460 MW) was installed in the US, although this amount has already been increased considerably during the first quarter of 2009 with the opening of a number of major wind farms such as Acciona’s 123 MW wind farm in Oklahoma; opened by the company in June and employing its own wind turbines. Iberdrola Renovables is also in the process of constructing a further 500 MW of wind farms, which will consolidate its position as the leading wind farm developer in the world with 9,300 MW installed, and the second largest operator in North America – currently the most important market in the world.

In his introduction to this year’s annual report, AEE President, José Donoso, stated that “the sector has continued to consolidate itself as a means for the Spanish economy to achieve success. We will not grow tired of repeating that it has been the best investment the Spanish economy has made in recent years. Since last year, this declaration can now be backed up by irrefutable data thanks to the completion of the “Macroeconomic Study on the Impact of the Spanish Wind Sector in Spain” report, which represents a before and after in terms of being able to evaluate returns on incentives received per kilowatt hour of wind energy.” Indeed, the first part of “Eólica 09” summarises and breaks down this study under a section entitled “Expensive wind power? The myth broken”.

Donoso underlines that although the Spanish wind industry has so far been successful, it is “now practically at a new starting point from which it will face new challenges in all areas in what is an especially difficult environment caused by the international financial crisis.” Aside from the global recession – which he does not underestimate in the slightest – Donoso’s attention is particularly focused on “the structural crisis of the global energy model (environmental problems, fossil fuel price volatility, resource scarcity, etc.) which will become more pronounced once the financial markets return to normal.” He believes that this situation will “exacerbate the need to invest in renewables in general, especially wind power, which is the most efficient renewable energy technology”.

As in previous years, the AEE report presents statistics on installed capacity and electricity generation, data on wind power around the world, and analysis of legislative frameworks, advances in electricity grid integration, and future developments in offshore wind. “Today more than ever, we are aware that we will only be able to consolidate our leadership position worldwide if we make the greatest effort in R&D to enable us to become increasingly competitive, on the one hand, compared with other technologies and, on the other, in a market which is becoming more and more globalised”.

The annual report highlights that in just four years, wind power has almost doubled its contribution to covering Spain’s electricity demand, while capacity installed worldwide has increased by more than 60% from 47,620 MW in 2004 to 120,798 MW at 2008 year end. In other words, 73,178 MW has been installed during the last four years alone.

Of the 27,051 MW installed worldwide during 2008, 87.8% was in just 10 countries; above all the US. The 8,358 MW of new capacity installed in the US last year breaks all records and means that the US now has 22.8% of total capacity installed around the world. China is placed second with 6,300 MW, after doubling its capacity for the fourth consecutive year. In doing so, the Asian giant had a total of 12.2 GW at the end of 2008. Furthermore, China’s dominance in Asia is expected to increase in the near future because the Chinese authorities see wind power as key to economic growth. Consequently, it is forecast that installed capacity will double once more during 2009.

Spain continues to occupy second place in Europe and third place worldwide, with 16,740 MW installed at 2008 year end, which the AEE estimates could rise by a further 500 MW during the first quarter of 2009 to 17.200 MW.

The AEE report also includes data published by the European Wind Energy Association, which indicates that wind power has experienced the greatest growth among energy sources in the European Union, with installed capacity increasing by 8,484 MW during 2008. It has been followed by gas with 6,932 MW of new capacity.

Wind energy is an important energy source in Spain because the Spanish government has sanctioned a green energy approach to guarantee an increase in the country’s wind generation capacity, with aspirations to install a total of 20.1 GW of wind power by 2010. The approaches of energy deregulation that have been initiated in Spain recently are generating noteworthy developments within the energy sector. Multilateral cooperation for involvement in wind power production throughout Europe has created investment prospects for the industry and lower energy costs due to the efficiency of the renewable energy source and its domestic availability.

Rank Autonomous Region 2009
1 Castile- La Mancha-3.415,61 MW
2 Galicia- 3.145,24 MW
3 Castile and León- 3.334,04 MW
4 Aragon- 1.749,31 MW
5 Andalusia- 1.794,99 MW
6 Navarre- 958,77 MW
7 Valencian Community- 710,34 MW
8 La Rioja- 446,62 MW
9 Catalonia- 420,44 MW
10 Asturias- 304,30 Mw
11 Basque Country- 152,77 MW
12 Murcia- 152,31 MW
13 Canary Islands- 134,09 MW
14 Cantabria- 17,85 MW
15 Balearic Islands- 3,65 MW
Spain total- 16.740,32 MW

The intended wind energy capacity to be installed in the autonomous regions by 2010-2011 consists of 20,000 MW.


“Spain is currently undergoing a renewable-energy revolution, with the Navarre region set to be the first in Europe to be self-sufficient in renewable energy”. The US rating agency Standard & Poors, in a current investigation of standard of living in Europe, ranked Navarre, whose primary source of renewable energy is wind power, uppermost among the 17 autonomous regions of Spain. Navarre, Europe’s sixth largest producer of wind power, currently sustains approximately 70 percent of its electricity needs from renewable energy sources, wind farms being used most extensively, and has a 900-megawatt capacity of installed wind power, ranking it ahead of the UK, Sweden, and France.

Navarre lacks thermal, nuclear, coal, oil, gas fields, or hefty hydro-electric power stations, but does possess considerable renewable resources, which the Government of Navarre pursued to drop its foreign energy dependence. “Navarre’s economic success is a function of its small population (only 500,000 people), low unemployment, rich agricultural traditions, and most recently, a boom in rural tourism”.

Navarre was entirely reliant on imported energy until wind-power development and utilization began progress in 1996. Now, with its own renewable energy companies, such as Navarre Hydroelectric, projects are underway including the proposal of building the biggest offshore wind power production facility in the world in southwestern Spain on the spot of the 1805 Battle of Trafalgar.


Galicia currently leads wind power development in the autonomous regions for the third consecutive year with an increase in wind power of 264 MW, succeeding Castilla La Mancha, which exceeded the development goal of 1000 MW, and followed by Aragon, Navarre, and Castile-Leon, and the remaining autonomous regions. Castilla Leon and La Rioja have initiated wind energy production, and the north-eastern area of Soria also holds the capacity to be an efficient producer; the possession of workable resources for wind power development is also represented in the Cantabrian, eastern and south-eastern coasts.


Thanks to its geographic location and climate, Andalucia is an ideal area for generating renewable energy from windmills, photovoltaic panels and solar panels, thermoelectric and hydraulic plants.

According to information provided by the regional government’s “Andalusian Energy Agency” (Agencia Andaluza de la Energía), this 31.8 percent of this region’s energy will come from renewable energy in 2013. That is equivalent to 90% of home energy consumption in the south of Spain.

This is the main objective of the Andalucian Sustainable Energy Plan (Plan Andaluz de Sostenibilidad Energética, Pasener 2007-2013) and it will also translate into more than 100,000 jobs in the renewable energy sector. To make this a reality, the plan calls for numerous programs and measures to aid citizens, companies, government agencies and basic infrastructure organisations to install renewable energy. This includes acquisition of hybrid vehicles and the substitution of home appliances and energy efficient machinery.

As of May 2009, Andalucia is leading the growth of the wind energy sector in Spain for the second year in a row with 2,115 megawatts working thanks to different wind farms distributed throughout the south of Spain:

Cádiz: 58 wind farms
Málaga: 14 wind farms
Almería: 13 wind farms
Granada: 10 wind farms
Huelva: 3 wind farms
Sevilla: 2 wind farms
Jaén: 1 wind farm

The development of this source of renewable energy has given rise to a strong renewable energy sector throughout Andalucia, and this includes manufacturers who produce aero generator towers in Linares (Jaén) and related manufacturing in Marquesado de Zenete (Granada).

In fact, the two renewable energy sectors that have experienced the greatest growth in the south of Spain during recent years are wind and photovoltaic energy.

According to an organisation called APREAN (Association of Promotors and Producers of Renewable Energies in Andalucia – in Spanish: Asociación de Promotores y Productores de Energías Renovables de Andalucía), Andalucia is one European regions with more potential growth in the renewable energy sector. At this time therefore, renewable energy is one of the pillars of Andalucia’s model for economic change. This is a new model based on innovative, sustainable, high tech industry that can compete at the international level.

Comunitat Valenciana

By means of the approval of the Wind Energy Plan the Regional Government has taken a decisive step in favour of an organised and sustainable development using renewable energy sources to generate electricity.

On one hand the wind is a natural and inexhaustible resource and, on the other, the wind energy is the most mature technology in the renewable energy field and the one that obtains better results considering the installed power.

For these reasons the Regional Government has identified the wind energy as a fundamental element in increasing electricity production in the Region and to achieve the execution of the environmental commitments. The Wind Energy Plan is made up of 15 areas distributed in the three Valencian provinces and it will have 67 wind farms.

When drawing up the Plan in the first place the areas with appropriate wind speed were determined. Following that, some of these areas were excluded due to them being protected natural parks, bird nesting areas, humid areas, national reservations for hunt, forest with interesting tree species, biological corridors of community interest, areas with cultural and landscape values, and other environmental considerations.

In February 2003 the administrative procedure began. Starting the first of the programmed wind farms in February 2006 was the first step. It is forecasted that in 2008 the foreseen 67 wind parks will be up and running. The foreseen wind farms will generate yearly around 5500 giga watts hour of electricity energy. That is equal approximately to 80% of the electricity consumption of the household sector of the Region (Comunitat Valenciana).

Also, when the Plan is completed, the emission to the atmosphere of 2,1 million tons of CO2 will be avoided. This is equivalent to that produced by 140 million trees. Besides energy and environmental benefits, the Plan will allow the creation of an industrial infrastructure and local economic activity will be boosted through energy plans elaborated by the promoter companies.

The total investment generated by the Wind Energy Plan will be around 2000 million Euros. Around 1875 million Euros of that will be investment in the wind farms.

Spain OKs Offshore Areas For Wind Power Installations

Spain’s government approved a map setting out the areas for potential offshore wind power developments after months of delay. Wind power companies, among them Iberdrola Renovables SA (IBR.MC) and Acciona SA (ANA.MC), can now hand over bids to reserve areas along Spain’s coastline to build wind parks, the Industry Ministry said in a press release.

Once selected, the companies will have a maximum of two years to formulate a definitive proposal for final government approval. Spain already has the world’s No. 3 onshore wind power generating capacity, but hasn’t exploited offshore wind energy. The country has more than 8,000 kilometers of coastline.

Spanish wind power operators have already presented offshore projects with an installed capacity of at least 6,000 megawatts. Iberdrola Renovables has six offshore projects near Cadiz and Huelva in Southern Spain, as well as in Eastern Spain, near Castellon. Both projects have an installed capacity of 3,000 megawatts.

A company spokesman declined to comment before studying in depth the environmental regulations of the plan. The wind power map is based on environmental aspects such as wind speeds, the characteristics and depth of the sea floor, marine life as well as fishing and shipping activity in the area.

Acciona has earmarked EUR2.4 billion for a 1,000 megawatt single project near Cadiz, between 10 and 18 kilometers from the coast. Endesa SA’s (ELE.MC) renewables unit has formed a consortium with Grupo Elecnor SA (ENO.MC) for a 420 megawatt project, also in Cadiz.

AEE, the Spanish wind power association, estimates the first offshore wind parks won’t come online until 2015. AEE expects Spain will have an installed offshore capacity of 4,000 megawatts by 2020. Offshore wind power is still in its early stages of development because of the high cost of marine foundations and installation, and as offshore turbines are more expensive than onshore ones owing to different technological requirements.

Europe has around 1,471 megawatts of offshore wind capacity, according to the European Wind Energy Association. Of that, 591 megawatts are from the U.K., the world leader.


Largely concerned with advancing energy efficiency use in Spain, the Institute for Energy Saving and Diversification (IDAE) also seeks to expand renewable energy sources and energies. “If Spain meets its goal of generating 30 percent of its electricity needs from renewable power by 2010, with half of that amount coming from wind power, it will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 77 million tons”.

Research concerning the production of hydrogen from the use of water by a wind farm is occurring at a newly installed laboratory in the Universidad Pública de Navarra under an agreement between Energía Hidroeléctrica de Navarra, Stuart Energy Systems of Canada, and Statkraft of Norway. The lab will replicate the power generation environment of a wind farm and examine the effects of an electrolyzer. Concentrated research is occurring concerning wind measurement in the Albacete region at Higueruela.

Wind power industry

“The business framework for the installed capacity of wind power in the Autonomous Regions was made up of more than 170 companies that included manufacturers (wind turbines, blades, towers, generators, multipliers, electrical equipment, etc.), suppliers (hydraulic and electrical equipment and equipment for controlling and regulating), mechanical construction and public works companies, installation companies and maintenance, exploitation, and engineering companies in 2003”.

“Spanish companies are leading the way in turbine innovation by increasing the size of turbines while reducing turbine weight, and are also developing new technologies to take advantage of wind changes and split-second power outages”.

The Spanish wind energy sector now hosts the involvement of over 500 companies, with approximately 150 wind turbine production plants and their machinery across the Spanish regions. The assets of the Spanish industry are being noticed and acted upon by financial analysts, as United States Ernst and Young in 2005 ranked the wind market in Spain among the uppermost in its index of “long-term country attractiveness”. Including those indirectly employed in supplying components and services, the total number of jobs supported by Spain’s wind industry has reached more than 30,000, and is estimated to double to 60,000 by 2010”.

Gamesa Eólica

“Navarra’s engineering group, Gamesa Corporación Tecnológica, the second-largest global wind turbine manufacturer, currently manufactures and exports nearly 20 percent of the world’s wind turbines, and is aiming to become a market leader in Britain’s renewable energy sector through its local subsidiary, Gamesa Energy UK”. The company values the distinctive geographical setting of Spain as a benefit to Spanish companies competing in the global arena. Gamesa Eólica currently operates plants in Spain, The US and China. It has projects in many other parts of the world including Egypt, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, and Portugal. Gamesa opened a manufacturing plant for wind turbine generator blades in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 2005, creating 500 part-time building and operations jobs and 236 permanent manufacturing jobs; the building, operation, and upkeep of Gamesa’s wind farms, in conjunction with its two Philadelphia offices and production plant, formed about 1,000 jobs in the state over a five-year period. The company seeks expansion into Greece, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom.

Acciona Energy

Acciona Energy (Acciona Energía), the biggest global wind-park developer, currently operates in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Morocco, Spain, and the United States. The company credits its success to its initial stages in Navarre during 1994. Its line of work involves wind-farm operation, turbine manufacture, and the development of wind-power plants, and the company intends to expand into China, Ireland, and the United Kingdom.


According to Cohn et al., “Iberdrola, Spain’s No. 2 utility, set up its first wind farm in 2000 and overtook FPL Energy of Florida in 2004 as the world’s largest wind farm operator” (2005). Iberdrola currently holds functioning facilities in Brazil, France, Greece, Italy, Mexico, Portugal, Spain, the United States and the United Kingdom, and is continuing to develop wind farms in Europe and Latin America.

As of 2008, Iberdrola plans to develop six offshore wind farm projects with a combined generation capacity of 3000 MW at locations off the coasts of the Spanish Atlantic provinces of Cadiz, Huelva and the Mediterranean province of Castellon.


The national Spanish wind energy industry has begun to export its wind generators by forming contracts for the erection of wind farms in China, India, and Mexico, as well as Cuba, where work began in 1998 (2007). They also have contracts at a highly developed stage with Portugal, Turkey, Tunisia, Egypt, Brazil, and Argentina.

Ecotecnia, the second largest Spanish manufacturer focused on decreasing the weight of its wind turbines, currently manages wind production facilities in Cuba, France, India, Japan, Portugal, and Spain. The company plans on expanding operations into China and Italy, and was one of the original companies to put in a wind-power generator in Spain. The existing wind energy capacity for major companies in Spain is the following: Gamesa Eólica, 3281 MW; Made, 803 MW; Neg Micon, 715 MW; Ecotècnia, 446 MW; G. Electric, 343 MW; Izar-Bonus, 317 MW; Desa & AWP, 121 MW; Enercon, 58 MW; Lagerwey, 38 MW; and Others, 113 MW (2007).

Future development

Three factors will control the further progress of wind power development in Spain: the capability of the wind farms network to hold all the electricity harnessed by wind power, predominantly in off-peak times, the cost of energy, and the environmental effect that the abundance of wind farm development in Spain could turn out. The Spanish wind power industry will be confronted with the following issues in the immediate future:

* formulating its development to be congruent with required supply agreements by the national electricity supply operator
* guaranteeing that the installation of wind farms occurs with recognition of the environment
* synchronizing wind power development of the 17 autonomous regions
* trimming down the investment costs to acquire sufficient returns with declining energy prices in the upcoming years.

It is also noteworthy that the supportive Spanish policies for wind power development have resulted in severe competition for construction sites among major companies. Political leaders in the autonomous communities have been frazzled by the numerous applications for wind farm construction.