Wind energy in Spain in 2009

This installed capacity growth represents an increase of 14.7% over 2008, and Spain is now the world’s fourth largest wind energy market, with 19,149 MW of wind power installed at the end of 2009.

Wind power installations in Spain are concentrated in four regions, which account for 70% of the country’s total installed wind capacity. Castilla y Leon (3,883 MW) overtook Castilla-La Mancha (3,700 MW) as the region with the most wind power, followed by Galicia (3,232 MW).

However, the biggest growth happened in Andalusia, which added 1,077 MW of wind capacity, bringing its total up to 2,840 MW, and putting it in fourth place.

Wind energy now represents Spain’s third largest power generation source with a production of 36,188 GWh in 2009, covering 14.5% of the country’s electricity demand, compared to 11.5% in 2008, according to the Spanish Electric System Operator (REE).

Only combined cycle gas and nuclear power produced more power over the year. The Spanish wind industrySpain is home to the world’s largest wind farm owner, Iberdrola, as well as some of the most important turbine manufacturers and developers, including Gamesa Eólica, Acciona Energy and Alstom Wind.

Spanish companies are now involved in wind energy operations around the globe. The four companies that led the development of wind farms in 2009 were Iberdrola Renovables, Acciona Energía, Neo Energía and EUFER.

Iberdrola Renovables maintained its leadership with a cumulative installed capacity of 4,882 MW (out of which 341 MW were installed in 2009), but it was Acciona that installed the most new capacity (360 MW), which reinforces its second place in the ranking.

Other developers also contributed to the 2009 total, including EUFER (247 MW in 2009) and Neo Energía (291 MW).In terms of manufacturers, Gamesa continues to lead the market, and accounted for 34% of the new, and 47% of the cumulative capacity at the end of 2009. Gamesa is followed by Vestas in second place and Acciona Wind Power in third. Other manufacturers in the Spanish market include Enercon, Suzlon and Siemens.

Wind energy: A key driver for Spain’s

In November 2009, the Spanish Wind Energy Association (AEE) presented an update of its 2008 study on “The Macroeconomic Impact of the Wind Energy Sector in Spain”, carried out by the consultancy Deloitte. The study shows that the Spanish wind energy sector continues to contribute more to the country’s GDP than some other key industry such as fisheries or wine.

In 2008, the Spanish wind industry exported equipment worth 2.9 billion Euros (up from 2.5 billion in 2007), invested close to 200 million Euros in research and development activities and created more than 41,000 jobs, including indirect employment and employment created by a large Spanish export industry producing components for the global wind market. Overall, the Spanish wind sector contributed € 3.8 bn to the country’s GDP in 2008 (12.7% more than in 2007).

Wind power targets and the Spanish feed-in tariff

In 1999, the Spanish government set a target of achieving 12% of total energy consumption and 29% of electricity from RES by the year 2010. The EU RES Directive of 2001 stipulates that by 2010, at least 29.4% of final electricity consumption should be met by renewable sources.

In 2005, the Spanish government set a goal for the country’s installed wind power capacity to reach 20,155 MW by 2010. In order to boost the uptake of renewable energy, a feed-in tariff system was first introduced in 1997 and then amended in 2004, 2006 and 2007.

According to the latest modification, there are now two alternative remuneration options for wind power:a. a regulated tariff, which is a fixed amount paid for each kWh of wind generated electricity; b. a premium added to the market price.

The power producer can choose between these two options for the duration of one year, after which they can keep to the chosen formula or change to the other option.The electricity distributor has an obligation to buy electricity produced by renewable sources at the defined price and the National Commission of Energy (CNE) performs the settlement of costs incurred by distributors.

The costs of RE electricity generation are taken into account for the annual calculation of the electricity price, thereby ensuring that the additional cost to consumers is proportional to their electricity consumption.

New 2009 legislation puts the pact of future development in doubt

In May 2009, a new law was published without prior consultation with the industry, which stipulated that every renewable energy developer had to register its projects in a newly created Pre-Assignment Register and await the decision of the Industry Ministry as to whether the projects were accepted.

This provision has added a new level of complexity to the approval process for wind farms, and also lead to considerable delays as companies had to wait for up to seven months before being informed if the projects they submitted had been included in the Register.

These delays resulted in the loss of thousands of jobs and the closure of some component and wind turbine manufacturing facilities.

Wind industry participants and AEE have warned that as a result of these regulations, wind installations could drop considerably in the coming years, putting the government’s short- and medium-term targets in danger.

Outlook for 2010 – only 1,000 MW expectedAs a result of the introduction of the Register, the Spanish Wind Energy Association (AEE) estimates that no more than 1,000 MW will be installed in 2010, a 60% drop compared to 2009.

This would mean that the government’s objective of reaching 20,155 MW of wind power capacity by the end of 2010 might not be met. AEE highlights that the wind power industry has been affected by the creation of the Register of Pre-Allocation in the second half of 2009, which resulted in a sharp decrease of orders, and the loss of 5,000 direct jobs and additional indirect ones. However, the association estimates that the real effect of the administrative obstacle created by this law will only fully be felt in 2010.