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The nine hours in which Spain made the 100% renewable dream a reality

Electricity generation through solar, wind and water exceeded total demand in mainland Spain on Tuesday, a pattern that will be repeated more and more in the future

IGNACIO FARIZA 19 May 23 El Pais

The Spanish power grid on Tuesday tasted an appetizer of the renewable energy banquet that is expected to flourish in the coming years. For nine hours, between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m., the generation of green electricity was more than enough to cover 100% of Spanish peninsular demand, a milestone that had already been reached on previous occasions, but not for such a prolonged period. The achievement — which was backed up by figures sent to EL PAÍS by the state electricity provider Red Eléctrica de España (REE) — took place, moreover, on a typical weekday, when the consumption pattern is higher, and not on a holiday or at the weekend, when demand falls sharply.

A huge drive in the installation of renewables — especially photovoltaics — is enabling Europe’s fourth-largest economy to cover an increasing part of its electricity needs with renewable energy, something that not only substantially reduces the country’s carbon footprint but also applies downward pressure on prices during daylight hours. Above all, it increases the incentives — both environmental and economic — to invest in storage and to electrify transport, industry, and heating, which are intensive in oil or natural gas consumption……………………………………………………………….

Xavier Cugat, project manager at a photovoltaic company who is at the origin of the statistic. “The nuclear closure schedule is not only carried out well, but it is also conservative: at the rate at which we are installing renewables, it could even be brought forward. What will provide more flexibility is hydropower and, within hydropower, pumping,” adds the expert.

By 2030, Spain will have three fewer nuclear reactors and it turns out that renewables are solving the problem on their own,” says Pedro Fresco, former director of Energy Transition in the Valencia region. Not only is nuclear power contributing less but Spain’s waterfalls, another of the country’s biggest sources of electricity, are being severely hit by the drought, which is reducing productive capacity in many areas. “It is true that it is a one-off, and at a time of very good solar and wind production, but with very little water and with hydroelectric power at a technical minimum… even so, we are covering 100%.

. Where will we be in three years, when we will have between 10 and 15 gigawatts more of photovoltaic and another five of wind? There is a huge window of opportunity for hydrogen and electric cars, especially in the central hours of the day,” adds Fresco. “But we need strategies to take advantage of it.”


May 22, 2023 - Posted by | renewable, Spain

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