SPANISH RENEWABLE ENERGY

Renewable energy in Spain has traditionally had a small weight in relation to the demand for primary energy and electric power generation, and has been mainly represented by the hydraulic energy. However, since the end of the twentieth century, it has been heavily promoted by several Governments.

The contribution of the renewable sector has given employment to between 120,000 and 200,000 people in 2008, still characterized by a large investment in research and development and with a high level of productivity. Spain is among the top five nations investing in renewable energy and its market.

 

According to reports from Greenpeace, solar energy could supply seven times the electricity demand that Spain will need in 2050. In addition, all projections suggest that by the middle of the decade of 2010 it will be cheaper than electricity produced in the solar panels located in Spain and will overrun the amount of electricity from fossil fuels.

The share of renewable energy sources in the last years of the 90 and early 2000 still depend strongly on the hydraulic energy but progressively will increase their participation in the development of other renewable technologies.

Economic Importance of the sector

In 2008 exports associated with the renewable energy increased to more than 1,227 million euros. In addition, renewable energies replaced the electricity production from fossil fuels, which represents 13.4 % of the total electricity generated in Spain. The sector of renewable energies avoided the import of more than 10 million tons of oil.

In 2009 the Spanish companies were leading the installation of wind power plants abroad.

Cost of renewable energy sources.

Renewable energies are subsidized through premiums because in their early stage of development the cost of generation is superior to the traditional energy sources. The goal is that by improving the renewable technologies its cost is lowered in the coming years.

Types of renewable energies

Hydraulic Energy

Spain is in line with other OECD countries with respect to the production of electrical energy, being 18.5 % of this energy from hydroelectricity. The evolution of the hydroelectric power in Spain in the last decades, has always been growing while the participation of this in the total electricity production has been declining. This is due to the increase in the production of nuclear energy and thermal of the last 50 and 30 years respectively.

The central hydraulic production with the greatest power are: Aldeadávila in the Duero River (Salamanca), followed by the dam Jose Maria de Oriol on the River Tagus (Cáceres) .Other reservoirs are the Cortes-La Muela in the Jucar (Valencia), Villarino in Tormes (Salamanca) or Saucelle in the Duero (Salamanca)

Wind energy

Spain is the third country in the world in terms of installed power, behind Germany and the USA and the first in terms of market development. In addition, since 2009 this is the third source of energy to overcome after the one generated by coal.

The expansion of wind energy in the coverage of the electricity demand has increased steadily in recent years. In the year 2009 the generation of energy from wind power was higher than that of coal thus becoming the third source of energy.

 

Biofuels

Biofuels are regulated by the Order ITC/ 2877/2008, of October 9, by establishing a mechanism for promotion of the use of biofuels and other renewable fuels for transportation purposes.

The Minister for Science and Innovation, Cristina Garmendia, within the extraordinary budget of EUR 490 million, will invest this money in a plan (Spanish Plan to stimulate the economy and employment). 23 million will target the construction of two research centers, one in non-food energy crops and another of algae for capturing CO2 and the production of biofuels.

 

Biocombustibles

Consumption 2005 (GWh)

Consumption 2006 (GWh)

Consumption 2007 (GWh)

Country Total Total Biodiesel Bioetanol Total Biodiesel Bioetanol
Spain

1,583

1,961

629

1,332

4,341

3,031

1,310

EU

34,796

65,148

47,380

10,138

89,482

67,154

13,563

 

Geothermal Energy

 

Spain has a great potential for the development of systems of high temperature in the Canary Islands, associated with the phenomenon of active volcanism; Spain can count on vast resources of low temperature, which can be used as direct heat that feed heating and cooling systems and industrial processes to achieve a very efficient energy.

 

EUROPEAN CONTEXT

The Treaty of Amsterdam incorporated the principle of sustainable development in the objectives of the European Union. Since 1997, it works to achieve the 12% share of renewable energies compared to a total energy consumption in 2010.

Proportion of renewable energy in the production of electrical energy from the countries of the EU and other candidate countries in the year 2007.

Carmen Caridad García Díaz 3º ESO A.