Renewable Energy Powering Spain To Carbon Neutrality

National Economy

The population of the Kingdom of Spain is approximately 46.77 million people[1]. In 2019, 100% of the people in this West European country had access to electricity[2].

In 2019, Spain’s economy was ranked 13th in the world in gross domestic product (GDP)[3]. The country’s economy[4] is dependent on the export of automobiles, refined petroleum, pharmaceuticals, trucks, citrus, olive oil, zinc, and iron.

Environment Policies

In 2009, Spain as a member of the European Union (EU) committed to the Renewable Energy Directive,” which requires each country to use renewable energy for 20% of its total energy needs by 2020 and 27% by 2030.

In 2016, Spain as a member of the EU signed the “Paris Climate Agreement”[5]. The EU committed to a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emission by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.

In 2018 Spain enacted an environmental policy to generate 75% of the country’s electricity from renewable energy by 2030 and 100% by 2050.

In 2021, Spain enacted a clean energy bill to enable the country to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. The bill bans the sale of all fossil-fueled vehicles by 2040.

In 2020, Spain’s national electric utility, Red Eléctrica de España used renewable energy (43.6%), natural gas (35.5%), nuclear power (18.9%) and coal (2.0%) to generate electricity in the country[6]. Wind, hydropower, solar, and biomass are the primary sources of renewable energy in Spain.

Recent renewable energy projects in Spain include:

  • 626 MW Solar Project – In May 2021, Spanish solar company, Solaria Energía y Medio Ambiente begun work on the Trillo solar project, which is located at a site approximately 50 miles southwest of the nation’s capital, Madrid. The solar project is scheduled to be commissioned by year-end 2021.
  • 500 MW Agrivoltaic Project – In May 2021, Spanish Iberdrola completed building an apiary with 105 beehives and over 5 million bees at the at the Núñez de Balboa solar project which is located approximately 150 miles southwest of Madrid. The project is designed to demonstrate how the location of pollinators in renewable energy facilities can enhance crop yields in surrounding farm lands.
  • 300 MW Solar ProjectIn January 2021, Israeli renewable energy company, Ellomay Capital commissioned the Talasol solar project at a site approximately 175 miles southwest of Madrid.
  • 200 MW Offshore Floating Wind Project – Norwegian energy company, Equinor is continuing work on a floating wind project off the coast of the Spanish Canary Islands. The project is forecast to be commissioned in 2024.
  • 133 MW Solar Project – In April 2021, French renewable energy company, WElink Group commissioned the Puerto Real 1 solar project at a site in the city of Cádiz.
  • 100 MW Solar + 20 MWh Energy Storage + 20 MW Hydrogen Production Project – Iberdrola is continuing work on a facility with solar power, energy storage, and green hydrogen production capabilities. The facility is in Puertollano, approximately 75 miles south of Madrid and is scheduled to be commissioned by year-end 2021.
  • 90 MW Solar Project – In June 2021, Spanish energy company, Repsol commissioned the Perseo Fotón solar project at a site approximately 100 miles south of Madrid.
  • 63 MW Wind Project – Iberdrola is continuing work on the Herrera Wind Complex, which is located approximately 160 miles north of Madrid. The wind farm is scheduled to be commissioned by year-end 2021.
  • 50 MW Agrivoltaic Project – In May 2021, Iberdrola completed building an apiary with 165 beehives and over 8 million bees at the at the Andévalo solar project which is located in southwestern Spain.

 Conclusions

In 2020, Spain had easily passed the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive which requires each country to use renewable energy for 27% of its total energy needs by 2030.

In 2020, 62.5% of Spain’s electricity was generated from zero greenhouse gas power plants (nuclear and renewable). Spain is on track to generate 75% of the country’s electricity from renewable energy by 2030.

Spain is on track to becoming one of the first carbon neutral countries in the world. Renewables including floating wind and agrivoltaics are powering Spain towards carbon neutrality.

Jack Kerfoot

Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”

www.jackkerfoot.com

 

[1] Spain Population (2021) – World Population Review, July 06, 2021

[2] Spain – The World Bank Group

[3] Gross Domestic Product 2019 – World Bank DataBank

[4] The Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC) – Spain

[5] Carbon Brief – “2015: Tracking Country Climate Pledges”

[6] Red Eléctrica de España – The Spanish Electricity System – 2020.

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