2010 has been a difficult year for the wind energy sector, as the slowdown in its growth shows. In total, 1,515.95 MW were installed in Spain, an increase of 8% over the previous year, the slowest growth since 2003 in absolute terms. The installed capacity in Spain by December 31st stood at 20.676,04 MW, slightly above the target set in the 2005-2010 Renewable Energies Plan of 20,155 MW.
The Spanish Wind Energy Association (AEE), who keeps track of all the sector´s companies in Spain and takes the final operational act as the reference to calculate the installed capacity, had already warned of this situation because of the impact of the new Pre-Allocation Register, which started functioning in mid-2009. In addition, the uncertainty generated by the lack of a new regulatory framework that will establish the rules of the game from 2013 onwards, and the economic crisis have caused the suspension of orders and job losses, mainly in the industrial sector.
There are under 3,000 MW in the Pre-Allocation Register for 2011 and 2012. Thereafter, it is unknown the remuneration that the facilities will receive or the system that will be used, a situation that slows down the installation of future wind farms. This is important as Spain, like all European Union countries, must comply with the objective of reaching final energy consumption from renewable sources of 20% by 2020, a goal for which wind energy is essential. According to forecasts in the National Renewable Energy Action Plan (NREAP) sent by the Government to Brussels, Spain is expected to have by 2020 35,000 MW of onshore wind and 3,000 MW of offshore wind. It is necessary, without further delay, to clarify the sector´s future regulatory framework to meet these objectives.
Castile and Leon was in 2010 for second year in a row, the region that installed more wind power, with 917 MW, 60.4% of the new installed capacity in Spain, followed by Catalonia with new 326.87 MW, and Andalusia with 139.41 MW. Thus, Castile and Leon continues to lead the ranking of total installed capacity by regions, followed by Castile-La Mancha (with 6 MW installed in 2010) and Galicia (54.80 MW).
Many regions (Andalusia, Aragon, Canary Islands, Cantabria, Catalonia, Extremadura and Galicia) held tenders in 2010 and awarded wind power capacity above 7,000 MW. However, in the absence of the new regulatory framework, when or how this power could be installed is unknown.
Regarding wind farm developers, Iberdrola Renovables continues to lead the Spanish ranking, with a total of 5,168.50 MW. It was the company that installed more MW in 2010, with the addition of 289.22 MW. Also, over 200 MW were installed during the year by EDPR (249.78 MW) and Govade (232.52 MW). In the ranking of total installed power, Acciona continues in second place with 4,036.82 MW, followed by EDPR with 1,862.92 MW.
Among wind turbines manufacturers, Gamesa´s wind turbines amounted to 760.7 MW in 2010. The company holds the top spot on the ranking with a total of 11,108.07 MW. Vestas remains in second place with new installed capacity of 500.4 MW and a total of 3,528.72 MW. Alstom Wind moves into third place with a total of 1,559.85 MW after installing 141.78 MW in 2010.
Wind power covered 16.6% of the electricity demand in Spain in 2010 (according to Red Eléctrica de España, the Spanish system operator) and continues as the third technology in the system, after nuclear power and combined cycles. Wind energy’s installed capacity could meet the electricity needs of two thirds of Spanish households. In 2010, the electricity sector reduced its CO2 emissions by 26% thanks to wind energy.