Spain wind power hit a new peak: 12,880 MW

The new peak occurred at 14.38 on 5 December, surpassing the previous peak of 11,693 MW, which occurred on 14 January. In January 39% of electricity produced came from renewable sources. 

The production of wind power energy during the last month represented 16.3% of the total production which meant that there was a 21.5% growth with respect to January last year. This production, together with hydroelectric and solar production, means that 39% of the total production came from renewable sources, compared to 23% in the same period in 2009.
The demand for electrical energy on the Spanish peninsula was 23,644 GWh in the month of January representing an increase of 0.2% with respect to the same month last year.

This is the first time, since October 2008, that the consumption of electricity grows. Factoring in the effects of seasonal and working patterns, the adjusted demand grew, for a second consecutive month, by 0.7% on this occasion.

Regarding the behaviour of wind power energy, noteworthy are the new historic maximums for production. At 1:33 am on 14 January, an instantaneous power of 11,693 MW was registered, representing 42% of the electricity demand on the Spanish peninsula at that moment, and 11,548 MWh of hourly wind power production between 1:00 am and 2:00 am. 

Spain is already a leader in wind energy and by 2020 the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) predicts that the country’s wind energy capacity will rise from just over 19,000 MW in 2009, to up to 42,500 MW by 2020.

Castilla-La Mancha, Castilla y Leon, Galicia, Andalucia and Aragon are Spain’s top wind energy producing regions, and wind energy is the country’s third biggest energy source after combined cycle gas and nuclear.

Last year 2009 has seen a sharp increase in installed wind power with 2,459 MW (1,609.11 MW installed in 2008), bringing the accumulated power to 19,148.8 MW according to the Wind Power Observatory of the Spanish Wind Energy Association (AEE), which collects data provided by owning companies and manufacturers and checked with the regional administrations. However, AEE warns that the wind industry slowdown, caused by the creation of the Register of Pre-Assignment, which has resulted in the loss of thousands of jobs will be reflected in the development of 2010, which according to sector forecasts will install about 1,000 MW, the lowest figure since 2000.

Like every time the regulatory framework is amended (2004 and 2007), developers made an effort last year to implement ongoing projects whose investments were decided under the RD 661/2007, legislation that was changed in May with the creation of the Register of Pre-Assignment. In addition to that speed to complete the projects to benefit from the regulatory conditions in which they were planned, there are the industry dynamics that over the past five years had been of an average of 2,000 MW and the efforts of the companies to complete projects already under construction by the time the new norm was adopted.

In fact, the 2,459.44 MW installed in 2009 represent the second highest annual growth, a figure shaded by short-term perspective since 60 percent fewer new farms will be installed this year, reaching around 1,000 MW, according to forecasts of AEE´s Wind Power Observatory. The wind energy industry was already affected by the creation of the Register in the second half of 2009 with the lack of orders that resulted in the loss of more than five thousand direct jobs and as many indirect ones, but it will be in the wind farms development of 2010 that the statistics will show the effects of an unnecessary administrative obstacle created by the Ministry of Industry.

Wind projects admitted to the Register in Phase I (years 2009 and 2010) which are yet to become operational add up to 1,003 MW but AEE believes that a good portion of them will use the three years they have for implementation as they have several disadvantages that would make it difficult for them to operate this year.

In any case, AEE wants to draw attention to the fact that out of the installed power of 2009, 800 MW were manufactured in 2007 and over 1,300 MW in 2008, all before the passing of RDL 6 / 2009, and on the other hand, regarding development, 1,967 MW (80% of the total installed) had started the construction of the wind farm before that date.

The increase of 2,459 MW represents an increase of 14.74 percent and this is, as we said earlier, the second largest in absolute terms in the history of wind energy thanks to the strength of the sector until the creation of the Register. This increase is only overtaken by the one registered in 2007 (3,519 MW and 30%), although 2004 was the biggest in percentage terms at 37% (2,291 MW).

Castilla y León, the region in first place By regions, Castilla y Leon with a total of 3,882.72 MW grabs the lead from Castilla-La Mancha with 3,699.61 MW, but the biggest growth happened in Andalusia with 1,077.46 MW making a total of 2,840.07 MW, placing this region in fourth place behind Galicia which is third with 3,231.81 (only 91.05 MW installed in 2009).

In percentage term, the largest increase is also Andalusia with a growth of 61.1%, followed by Valencia with a 41.6% (289.75 MW in 2009) and Catalonia with 25.1% (105.10 MW in 2009). Significantly, four regions account for 70 percent of installed wind power in our country.

Both, in the ranking of wind farm owners and the manufacturers’ one, we see a market opening through the emergence of new agents and further growth of those that up to now only had a small share in it. Iberdrola Renovables maintained its leadership with an accumulated power of 4,882 MW (341.45 MW in 2009), but it was Acciona that installed the most last year reaching 359.7 MW, which together with the 948.78 MW that incorporates through acquired assets and operations in 2008, reinforces its second place in the ranking. Also, EUFER (247.2 MW in 2009) has a very substantial increase in installed capacity compared to 2008 like Neo Energía that installed 291.03 MW.

Among the manufacturers, Gamesa continues to lead the wind turbines market with 34.36% of last year´s installed capacity and 47.34% of the accumulated power at 31 December 2009. Vestas sees an increase in its share up to 15.82% thanks to 23.32% of the market in 2009. It also grows the share of Acciona Wind Power -which places itself in third position in the ranking- as well as Enercon, Suzlon and Siemens, with almost 9% of the installed power in 2009 the first two and 4.68% the third one, manufacturers that so far had a minimal presence in Spain.

The criteria to develop this wind sector census published every year by the Wind Power Observatory of the Spanish Wind Energy Association, which has become a global benchmark, is to consider the final operational act. AEE receives information from the companies regarding the farms that meet this requirement but on some occasions, it may be a partial operational act, i.e. for a "line" or "alignment" (a group of wind turbines within a wind farm), that subsequently will get final act for the entire wind farm.

AEE checks the data provided by the companies with the one provided by the manufacturers and the regional administrations and allocates the power to each company according to their participation in the companies that operate each farm. The variation of these shareholdings justifies that there can be differences beyond the installed power each year in terms of the companies accumulated power.