Published: 15 September 2005 15 September 2005
The Spanish wind power industry is doing well. From just over 200MW in 1997, the Spanish market has been steadily growing at annual rates of more than 30%. Last year Spain reached a record level of 2,065MW installed, a 33% increase on 2003, taking the total to 8,263MW. As a result of its continued success, the previous government target of 13,000MW installed wind capacity in 2010 has been updated to 20,000MW in 2011. The government’s new target would see wind energy supplying 15% of national electricity consumption, up from 6.5% today. Wind energy in Spain has now entered a dynamic phase where the serious challenges that arise when wind energy becomes one of the main energy supply technologies need to be met. Current policy direction signals how an intermittent power source can be integrated into the electricity market in significant quantities. Predictability is the key to address intermittency at large penetration levels. To move towards 15% of the country’s power from wind energy will require a strategic grid framework. This is currently being developed in partnership with the transmission operators, utilities, wind players and regional governments. More than 500 companies are now involved in the Spanish wind energy sector, with about 150 factories manufacturing turbines and their components across the Spanish regions. Including those indirectly employed in supplying components and services, the total number of jobs supported by Spain’s wind industry has reached more than 30,000. This is estimated to double to 60,000 by 2010 on reaching the new target.