Renewables Produce Record 50.7% of Energy in May in Spain

The Red Eléctrica de España (REE), a partly state-owned and public limited corporation which operates the national electricity grid in Spain, recently reported that renewable energy reached an important milestone last month when, for the first time, more than half of the energy produced in the country was of renewable origin.

The data supplied by the REE shows that renewable energy, including wind, solar photovoltaic, solar thermal and hydro, accounted for 50.7% of the monthly generation, the figure being up to 73.3% when also including energy produced from technologies that do not emit CO2 equivalent. The increase in the participation of renewable energy in Spain’s energy mix has grown by 10% compared to last year.

Wind energy, which produced 23.4% of the electricity in May, has been the leading technology of this month, while solar photovoltaic has set a new monthly record high production. Generation from wind power in May reached 4,794 GWh, a figure 20.9% higher than that registered in the same month last year, being the most important technology in the generation mix, ahead of nuclear (21.4%) and the combined cycle that represented 12%.

Solar photovoltaic generated 2,331 GWh, 42.4% more than that in May 2020, with a participation rate of 11.4% in the energy mix. According to available data, on May 29, the maximum daily solar photovoltaic generation (89 GWh) was recorded and the highest share of this technology, which reached 14.7% of the total for the day. For its part, solar thermal generation, responsible for 3.4% of the monthly total, grew by 25.4% to 693 GWh.

Among many new projects aimed at decarbonising Spain, RE startup Greenland announced in April this year that it was partnering with Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) and Bosch Rexroth to set up a 5GW vertically integrated solar module factory in the country, which would be built and operated in the free trade zone of the port of Seville in Andalusia.

Also part of the good news coming from REE is the relentless fall in coal. This energy source has barely occupied 1.6% of production, and its annual quota fell to 1.5% between January and May. These figures are increasingly becoming irrelevant and that would anticipate its soon-arriving disappearance from the energy mix of Spain.

The participation figures for wind power will most likely gain for the next few years, thanks to the start of the expansion of offshore wind facilities, such as the one recently announced by Iberdrola which will involve the installation of a 1,000 MW wind farm on the Galician coast and an investment of 1 billion euros in an initiative that hopes to reach 3,000 MW including projects in other parts of the country.

A new policy review released by the International Energy Agency last month said that Spain had made considerable progress towards its goal of reaching net zero emissions by 2050, but future gains needed to be supported by stable policies, adequate public financing and incentives for private investment.

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Soumya Duggal

Soumya is a master's degree holder in English, with a passion for writing. It's an interest she has directed towards environmental writing recently, with a special emphasis on the progress being made in renewable energy.

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