A combination of good meteorological conditions in the first half of 2018 has led Spain to cover 45.8% of the electricity demand on its grid via renewable energy sources (the figure excludes the Balearic and Canary Islands).
Wind energy systems were the peninsula’s primary source of electricity, covering 22.6% of its electricity demand, the highest penetration of any type of energy, renewable or not. “Compared with the first six months of 2017, wind production has increased by 10.4%,” added the REE.
Hydro power also grew by a staggering 74% in the first half of 2018, compared to the same period in 2017, which was a particularly dry year. From January to June 2018, hydro energy systems generated 20,821 GWh, which corresponds to 16.9% of the total demand.
Solar energy contributed an additional 4.6% in the same period, comprising 3% oPV power and 1.6% of electricity generated by solar thermal systems.
Taking into account the contribution of nuclear energy, which supplied 20.6% to the Spanish mainland’s electricity demand, and the second highest electricity contribution after this, wind, REE says that “technologies that do not emit CO2 into the atmosphere represented 67.5% of the generation of the first half of the year.”
Solar power generation
According to a separate report published by REE, Spain’s solar output, contrary to wind and hydro power, has varied little in the last six years, with the highest amount of solar electricity generated most often in the month of July.
In 2017 specifically, solar PV and solar thermal systems provided 3.2% and 2% of the country’s total electricity generation (these figures also include Spain’s islands), respectively.
According to the same REE report, Spain – including the island networks – installed a total 4,687 MW of solar PV capacity, and 2,304 MW of solar thermal systems by the end of 2017.
The regions of Castilla La Mancha and Andalusia installed the highest amounts of solar PV capacity at 925 MW and 878 MW, respectively.
Most of Spain’s installed solar PV capacity was added in 2008, however after 2013, the country’s PV sector remained almost dormant. Recently, the sector has shown signs of recovery with new PV installations announced and tenders planned. The flagship project is a 300 MW subsidy-free solar PV farm under development in the region of Extremadura.