Renewable energies will provide 68% of electricity generation in Spain in 2030 and almost 90% in 2050 (from 40% today), according to a report by Bloomberg NEF (BNEF) and Acciona, presented at the Climate Summit in Madrid.
According to the report, wind and solar energy will provide 51% of electricity generation in Spain (33% and 18% respectively) in 2030, compared to 25% in 2018. By 2050, these two technologies will generate 75% of the country’s electricity.
The report is presented within the framework of the COP25 in Madrid, which will host representatives from 200 countries. During the summit, participants will heed the urgent call for global emissions reductions to keep the global temperature rise well below 2 degrees Celsius.
Spain has very ambitious decarbonisation targets for its electricity system, but in order to achieve them it will be necessary to implement technologies that help balance supply and demand as more renewable energies are added to the grid.
Spain, a large market with abundant wind and solar resources and relatively little interconnection with neighbouring countries, will have to build an electricity system with sufficient flexibility to meet the future needs of a low-carbon system. The BNEF-Acciona report analysed different technologies that could provide this flexibility, such as storage batteries, intelligent chargers for electric vehicles that work when other consumers’ demand is low, interconnectors to other countries or gas. The report examines the optimal combination of these elements as the Spanish grid adopts increasing volumes of solar and wind energy.
The study concludes that new forms of flexibility are essential for an affordable system led by renewable energy. Without energy storage and intelligent charging systems for electric vehicles, among other technologies, Spain’s energy transition risks going in a lower direction than expected, with a system that will depend on fossil reserves. This scenario will occur at a higher cost and with a high level of emissions.
New flexibility technologies have the dual advantage of integrating larger volumes of renewable generation and displacing fossil backup capacity, thus reducing Spain’s energy import bill and causing a reduction in emissions. Without these new sources of flexibility, the system will be more costly. Greater reliance on gas for flexibility, for example, would lead to increased system cost, more emissions and a higher level of backup capacity.
Flexible charging of electric vehicles will also contribute to transport electrification at a lower cost. The additional cost of electric road transport, in terms of electricity generation and production capacity, could be halved, the report says, if vehicles were charged more flexibly. Emission reductions from gasoline and diesel savings more than offset, according to the report, those additional costs, which would be lower with greater loading flexibility.
Developments in battery storage could also lead to a cheaper and cleaner system, but some fossil capacity will still be needed. If storage costs fall more dynamically than in the baseline scenario, the system could see 13% less gas reserve capacity, generating 12% less emissions by 2050.
Diego Marquina, BNEF energy analyst and lead author of the report, said: “We have modeled several scenarios on how the generation mix could evolve over the next three decades. This is important for investors in renewable energy and also for emissions, because the more these countries have to rely on peak gas plants, the more CO2 they will emit in 2050.