Spain Fast-Tracking Renewables To Offset Costly Oil Imports

Country Overview

The Kingdom of Spain in western Europe is bordered by Gibraltar, Mediterranean Sea, France, Andorra, Bay of Biscay, Portugal, and the Atlantic Ocean. The population of Spain is approximately 47.97 million people.

In 2022, Spain’s economy was ranked 15th in the world in gross domestic product (GDP). The country’s economy is dependent on the export of cars, refined petroleum, packaged medicaments, motor vehicle parts, vaccines, blood, antisera, toxins, cultures, pork, citrus, and pure olive oil.

Environmental 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. 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.

Power Generation Capabilities

In 2021, 100% of the people in Spain had access to electricity. In 2022, state-owned electric utility, Red Eléctrica de España used renewable energy (42.2%), natural gas (30.6%), nuclear power (20.5%), oil (4.0%), and coal (2.7 %) to generate electricity in Spain. Wind, solar, and hydropower are the dominant types of renewable energy used to generate electricity in Spain.

Recent renewable energy projects in Spain include:

  • 626 MW Solar Project – In December 2021, Spanish solar company, Solaria Energía commissioned the Trillo solar project, which is located at a site approximately 50 miles southwest of the nation’s capital, Madrid.
  • 500 MW Agrivoltaic Project – In May 2021, Spanish company Iberdrola completed an apiary with 105 beehives with over five million bees at the at the Núñez de Balboa solar project which is located approximately 150 miles southwest of Madrid.
  • 216 Solar Projects – Spanish power company Opdenergy is continuing work on five utility scale solar projects across the nation, which have a total capacity of 216 MW. All solar projects are scheduled to be commissioned by year-end 2024.
  • 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 by year-end 2024.
  • 125 MW Solar Project – In January 2023, Spanish renewable energy company Acciona commissioned the Extremadura I, II and III solar project at a site approximately 175 miles southwest of Madrid.
  • 100 MW Solar + 20 MWh Energy Storage + 20 MW Hydrogen Production Project – In May 2022, Iberdrola commissioned a facility with solar power, energy storage, and green hydrogen production capabilities. The facility is in Puertollano, approximately 75 miles south of Madrid.
  • 74 MW Solar + 69 MW Wind Project – In September 2023, Iberdrola commissioned a hybrid solar and wind project in the central Spanish province of Castilla y León.
  • 63 MW Wind Project – In August 2021, Iberdrola commissioned the Herrera Wind Complex, which is located approximately 160 miles north of Madrid.
  • 1.6 MW Floating Solar Project – In September 2022, Spanish floating solar company Isigenere commissioned a floating photovoltaic array to power water pumps for irrigation for the municipality of Cartaya in southwestern Spain.

Conclusions

Spain imports crude oil and natural gas for power generation, heating, and transportation. In 2021, the Spain imported  U.S. $26.7 Billion of crude oil.

On 24 February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine, prompting the European Union, United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand to place economic sanctions on Russian imports and exports. As a result, the crude oil and natural gas prices increased by over 50% from May 2021 to May 2022.

Spain has significant undeveloped renewable energy resources, including onshore wind, solar, offshore wind, biomass, and hydropower. Spain is now fast-tracking renewable energy project development to ensure energy security and curtail costly fossil fuel imports.

Jack Kerfoot

Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”

www.jackkerfoot.com

 

Jack Kerfoot is a scientist, energy expert, and author of the book FUELING AMERICA, An Insider’s Journey and articles for The Hill, one of the largest independent political news sites in the United States. He has been interviewed on over 100 radio, podcast, and television stations from New York City to Los Angeles on a diverse range of energy issues.

 

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