New wind power record: 53.7% of Spain?s total electricity demand

Spanish electricity grid, Red Eléctrica, said that today’s record is a first since it was sustained over several hours during last night. Between 03.00 and 08.30 on 8 November wind met over 50% of electricity demand.

The surge in wind power last night triggered water pumping stations which transport water into reservoirs. This store of water will then be released over the day generating electricity via water turbines at times of peak demand.

The Spanish Wind Energy Association said the sustained peak in wind powered electricity production proves that “wind energy is no longer marginal”. By 2020 Spain is expected to double its wind-power producing capacity from the current level of 16 gigawatts to 45 GW. “With this expected growth in capacity we could envisage wind meeting the vast majority of demand during times of peak supply by 2020,” Jacopo Moccia, regulatory affairs adviser for EWEA said.

Spain is the world’s third biggest producer of wind power, after the United States and Germany, with an installed capacity of 16,740 megawatts (MW) at the end of 2008, a rise of 1,609 MW for the year. On particular windy days, wind power generation has surpassed all other electricity sources in Spain, including nuclear.

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 contribution of Wind Energy to GDP (value creation) has grown rapidly in recent years. In the period from 2003 to 2007 it increased from EUR 1,022 million to EUR 1,933 million (amounts in nominal prices, i.e. unadjusted for price changes).

The GDP of the Wind Energy Industry grew in real terms (at factor cost) by 62.7% in the period from 2003 to 2007; giving average annual growth of 15.7% in those years.

As a result of the high level of technological development of the companies in the industry and of growth in world demand, in 2007 the industry’s exports exceeded EUR 2,550 million (EUR 2,100 million in real terms, base 2003). Net exports (exports minus imports) accounted for more than 49% of the gross value added of the Industry.

In addition, the main Spanish players in the Industry have established subsidiaries in the most important markets. Another factor that demonstrates the importance of the Spanish Wind Energy Industry and its position as world leader that is not reflected in the exports figure because the related power is not produced in Spain, is the direct presence of major Spanish companies (mainly wind turbines manufacturers and wind farms promoters) in the leading markets such as China or the United States.

Estimated direct impact on GDP of the Spanish Wind Energy Industry for 2008-2012 Forecasts point towards the contribution to Nominal GDP of the Wind Energy Industry in Spain exceeding EUR 2,655 million in 2010 and EUR 3,230 million in 2012.

In real terms, the increase in the Industry GDP at factor cost for 2008-2012 would lead to an increase in the contribution of:
26% for 2008-2010
46% for 2008-2012

Taking into account the direct and indirect effects, a total of 40,000 persons were employed as a result of the activities of the Wind Energy Industry in Spain in 2008. Wind power production avoided the emission of around 20 million tonnes of greenhouse gases in 2008, 3.5% of total Spanish emissions.