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Spain will reach 34% of generation thanks to wind energy by 2030

In Spain, wind energy accounts for nearly 19% of electricity consumption, and state plans aim to reach 34% by 2030, a decade earlier than the world average. If these plans are met, it would become the main source of electricity generation.

Behind these figures lies an important commitment to technological innovation, which has made it possible to increase efficiency and reduce costs. Since 1990, the size of wind turbines and capacity factors have tripled, while generation costs have been reduced by 65%.


“At the moment it is more profitable to build a wind farm than a thermal power station”, says Juan Virgilio Márquez, director general of the Spanish Wind Energy Association (AEE). Far from having reached a ceiling, Virgilio Márquez points out that “there is still a lot to be said for the sector, with even larger and more powerful wind turbines and more efficient generation plants”.

For wind energy to supply 34% of electricity demand, as foreseen in the Spanish government’s plans, it is necessary to “double the generation park from the current 24,000 megawatts installed to 50,000 megawatts by 2030,” says JosĂ© MarĂ­a González Moya, director general of the Renewable Energy Association (Appa). In this sense, González Moya warns that “in the last year 550 megawatts of the 4,600 megawatts of the energy auctions of 2016 and 2017 have been set in motion, which means that for the moment we are far from complying with state plans.

Wind turbine towers are getting taller and more powerful. But this is not the only reason why it is a renewable energy of high flights. Its role in the supply of electricity could be nine times greater in 2040, to supply about 34% of global electricity demand (compared to 4% today), according to a recent study on this energy source conducted by KPMG at the request of the manufacturer Siemens Gamesa.

As for the existing fleet, more than 8,000 megawatts have exceeded 15 years of useful life and about 2,000 megawatts are close to surpassing them, which could say that the sector has reached maturity 20 years after the start of the first wind farms in the country. 20 years is precisely the time of guarantee offered by manufacturers, although its real useful life can be of a decade more, points out the general director of the AEE.

At this point, there are two options, according to the experts consulted: to extend their useful life by investing in maintenance or to opt for repowering, which consists of replacing old wind turbines with new ones with greater power. The head of Appa says that, “in general, Spanish parks are well preserved and there are fewer cases in which repowering is chosen because of its greater complexity and the few existing incentives.

Achieving the objectives in terms of generation would also be a boost for the economy as a whole. González Moya estimates that jobs related to the sector would double to 50,000, while the KPMG study forecasts additional GDP growth of 0.3%.



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