Wind power energy maximums in Spain in 2009

The Spanish Wind Energy Association (AEE) will give the final figures about wind power in Spain in 2009 in the coming days. In 2009, the demand for electrical energy on the Spanish peninsula was 251,305 GWh, 4.6% less than in 2008. This fall represents the first negative annual rate of electrical energy demand since in 1985 Red Eléctrica first started recording registers regarding the evolution of the demand. Factoring in the effects of seasonal and working patterns, the annual fall was 4.3%.

This fall in demand is the result of accumulative negative rates registered in every month this year, year in which there have been two differentiated periods. A period of sharp decline which culminated in April with the largest fall (11.8%), month after which began a second stage during which more moderate falls were recorded and resulting in a negative rate of 2.3% in December.

Maximum average hourly power demand values and daily power reached 44,440 MW on 13 January and 886 GWh on 3 December respectively. These values surpassed the corresponding values recorded in 2008 by 3.4% and 4.6% respectively and are around 1% below the historic values registered in 2007.

Wind power energy maximums

On several occasions, wind energy exceeded the previous historic highs for instantaneous power, hourly power and daily power. On 8 November, new historic highs in wind power production were recorded: 11,620 MW of instantaneous power, 11,429 MWh of hourly wind power and 251,543 MWh of daily wind power, 44.9% of the electrical demand for that day.

Similarly, in November, a monthly maximum of wind energy was produced which covered 22.7% of the demand for that month, surpassing the contribution of nuclear (19.5%) for the first time ever.

The highly variable nature of wind power led to extreme situations, such as the case of 8 November (at 03.59) when 53.7% of demand was covered by wind power.

Installed power increases by more than 2,600 MW

Installed power in the Spanish peninsular system increased by 2,682 MW during 2009, reaching a total of 93,215 MW, representing an increase of 3% compared to the previous year.

The majority of this new generation came from new wind farms, which contribute 2,576 MW to the installed power, reaching a total of 18,119 MW by the end of 2009, and 568 MW for combined cycle. Regarding decommissioning, two fuel fired generation units were closed with a combined power of 474 MW.

Annual demand coverage

With regard to the coverage of demand, it is important to highlight that for the first time in history wind power energy, with a contribution of 13% (11% in 2008), surpassed that of coal, which has covered just 12% of the demand, reducing its production 25.8%.

Similarly, the increase in the amount of renewable energies is reflected in the fact that these have covered 26% of the overall yearly demand as compared to 24% in 2008. Within renewable energy, solar energy contributed 3%.

The fall in electricity consumption, on one hand, and the increase in renewable energies, as well as a lower production level from coal fired plants, on the other, have contributed to the reduction of 15.5% in CO2 emissions within the electricity sector with respect to 2008, reaching an estimated total of 74.5 million tonnes this year.

Regarding the generation balance, in 2009 this was characterised by a general fall in almost all the technologies that comprise the ordinary regime, whose production has dropped by 12.7% with respect to the previous year, absorbing the total drop in the demand, whereas the special regime increased its production by 18.3%.

Extra-peninsular systems

The demand for electrical energy in the extra-peninsular systems grew to 15,569 GWh, showing a decrease of 1.9% compared to the previous year. In the Canary Islands, the fall was 2.1% and in the Balearic Islands it was 1.9%, whereas Ceuta and Melilla registered a growth of 1.8% and 1.5% respectively.

Export balance from exchange programmes

For the sixth consecutive year, the balance of international exchanges has been as an exporter, with 8,398 GWh, 23.9% lower than 2008. This decrease is the result of not only a reduction in exports by 11%, but also as a result of an increase of 13.2% in the volume of imports.

Balance of international exchanges 2009

France 1.766
Portugal -5.239
Andorra -295
Morocco -4.630
Total -8.398

Note: Negative figures represent export balances, whilst positive figures correspond to import balance.

Spanish peninsula transmission grid

In 2009, the transmission grid increased by 439 km, which meant that at the end of the year the Spanish peninsula transmission grid had circuits totalling 35,073 km. Also, 3,400 MVA of transformer capacity was commissioned during 2009.