Wind generation beats a new record in Spain to reach 54.1% of electricity production

The wind energy production early this morning broke a new record, and covered 54.1% of total electricity demand at 3.50 hours, which forced to reduce production of wind turbines in 600 megawatts between 4 and 7 hours and in 1000 about 13.00 pm today.

According to Spain’s Red Electrica (REE), high wind power production, coupled with high hydraulic power generation produced by heavy rains and low demand in those hours, forcing the operator to lower the production to the technical minimum.

However, the generation was still higher than demand, and to ensure system security, the Control Center for Renewable Energy (CEFR) had to reduce wind generation.

The CEFR has only been forced to reduce wind production four times, on 4 March 2008, on 15 November 2009 and twice today, one between 4 and 7 am, at 600 megawatts (MW ), and another about 1300 hours at 1000 MW.

In December, wind energy has grown by 23.9 percent over the same month in 2008 and has made 19.2 percent of total generation.

Renewable energy production in December has covered 34 per cent of production and 26 percent of the total for the whole year.

Moreover, REE today reported that the peninsular electricity demand in the month of December was 22,402 gigawatt hours (GWh), 2.1 percent lower than the same month last year.

Once corrected for working days and the temperature, electricity demand has increased 0.6 percent over December 2008, which is the first year’s growth. Electricity demand for the whole of 2009 was of 251,524 GWh, or 4.6 percent lower than in 2008.

For the first time, wind energy has produced more than coal in 2009. New wind farms contribute 2,576 MW to the installed power, reaching 8,119 MW by the end of 2009, according to REE. 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%.

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%.