Wind Energy Yearbook 2021: an analysis of the current situation of wind power in Spain

The Spanish Wind Energy Association (AEE) presents the Wind Energy Yearbook 2021: a new edition of the reference publication of the Spanish wind power sector that contains an analysis of the current moment of wind energy in Spain and in the world.

The Wind Energy Yearbook 2021, prepared by AEE, contains a summary of the figures for wind power and generation in Spain with the highlights of 2020. It also includes information on R & D & I in the wind power sector and the REOLTEC wind technology platform, as well as the evolution of terrestrial and marine wind turbines in the world.

• In 2020 wind energy has been repeated as the second technology of the energy mix in Spain, very close to reaching the first position and with a coverage of 21.9% of the demand.
• Spanish wind power is the fifth power in the world in the ranking of countries with the highest installed wind power and the second in Europe
• In 2020, 1,720 MW of wind power were installed. This figure, being a good indicator for the sector, is below the 2.2 GW per year that will need to be installed over the next decade to ensure the achievement of the objectives set by the PNIEC.
• Aragon has been in 2020 the autonomous community that has stood out for its increase in wind power, followed by Navarra and Castilla-León.
• Wind power contributes around 4,000 million euros to the Spanish economy, 0.35% of GDP, with exports valued at 2,000 million euros and almost 600 million euros paid in taxes and fees.
• The wind sector employs 30,000 people, who are part of the sector’s activity.
• From an environmental point of view, 29 million tons of CO2 are avoided per year thanks to wind power.

In 2020, 1,720 MW of wind power were installed in Spain. As of December 31, 2020, the total wind power installed in Spain was 27,446 MW.

In Spain there are 1,265 wind farms present in 1,037 municipalities, with 21,419 installed wind turbines. Likewise, there are 237 manufacturing centers in sixteen of the seventeen autonomous communities. In 2020, 53,645 GWh of wind power were generated, 1.2% more than in 2019. In addition, wind power operated an average of 2,042 equivalent hours per year and has covered 21.9% of the total generation nationwide in 2020.

The autonomous communities with the highest installed wind power are Castilla y León (6,300 MW), Aragón (4,159 MW) and Castilla La Mancha (3,886 MW). In 2020, the autonomous community of Castilla y León was the one that generated the most electricity with the wind, followed by Galicia and Aragón.

Regarding the wind generation ranking by provinces, Zaragoza has reached the first position in 2020 thanks to the commitment of the Government of Aragon to wind power, and it has been the first province in history to exceed 5 TWh of wind power generation.

There are 47 Spanish provinces with wind power generation, of which 20 produce more than 1 TWh (this amount covers the consumption of 285,000 households).

The reducing effect of wind power in the Spanish electricity market in 2020 was slightly lower than in 2019, due to lower electricity demand caused by COVID-19 and the reduction in gas prices. Wind generation has been a benefit for Spanish consumers, especially for industrial consumers.

For an average consumer with Tariff AT1 and a consumption of 1,500 MWh per year, the savings throughout 2020 have been € 7,886 (discounting the incentives for wind power included in their electricity bill). In other words, if the existing 27,446 MW of wind power had not been put into operation, electricity would have cost € 7,886 more per year. In total, wind power generated a net saving (once incentives were discounted) for electricity consumers of 71 million euros.

In 2020, the world’s installed wind power reached 743 GW, with an increase in global wind power of 93 GW in the year.

China, the USA, Brazil, Germany, and Norway have been the countries that stand out for installed power in 2020. Spain is in 4th place in the ranking of countries for installed power in 2020.

It should be noted that the prices achieved for wind energy in auctions around the world continue to surprise. In places as diverse as India, Brazil or Saudi Arabia, the kWh is around $ 0.03. In the Netherlands, non-incentive offshore wind auctions have been held, with bids for more than 1 GW of new capacity that will receive no more than the wholesale price of electricity.

In Europe, in 2020 the total installed power was 14.7 GW. The new power has been led by the Netherlands, Germany, Norway and Spain. For its part, Spain continues to be the second European country and the fifth in the world with the most accumulated installed power. Of those 14.7 GW of new power in 2020, 2.9 GW have been offshore installation in European waters. With this new power, the total installed offshore wind capacity on the continent amounts to 25 GW.

In total, the European Union has 220 GW of wind power (onshore and offshore). With the 458 TWh generated with all this power, the demand of 74 million households in the EU (or the consumption of 170 million Europeans) would have been covered. In addition, the emission of 271 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere has been avoided, and the import of fossil fuels worth more than 16,000 million euros.