Emissions plummet in Spain's wind power surge

Alex Dunham
Alex Dunham - [email protected]
Emissions plummet in Spain's wind power surge
Blown away: Spanish wind farms have contributed enornously to the 23.1 percent drop in greenhouse gas emissions in 2013. Photo: Desiree Martin/AFP

It's been a controversial year for Spain's energy sector, but new figures reveal the country's greenhouse gas emissions have dropped by a staggering 23 percent thanks to its new number one power source: wind.


Spain's grid operator Red Electrica de España (REE) released a preliminary report in December which illustrated the 23.1 percent drop in emissions.

According to the study, the remarkable figures are due to the fact that for "the first time ever, wind power contributed most to (Spain's) annual electricity demand coverage".

Spanish wind farms are estimated to have generated 53,926 gigawatt hours of electricity, a 12 percent rise compared to 2012, the UK's Guardian newspaper reported on Sunday.

That equates to 21.1 percent of mainland Spain's electricity demand, 0.1 percent more than the country’s nuclear plants.

High rainfall in 2013 also meant hydroelectric power plants were able to produce 32,205GWh, 16 percent more than Spain’s historical average.

The positive news comes just months after the Spanish government introduced a stringent law which forces private solar energy producers to pay a levy or face fines of up to €60 million.

They then amended the country's Energy Law to allow inspectors to enter private properties without a court order.

International publications of the likes of Forbes and The Wall Street Journal labelled the law as “stupid” and “ludicrous”.

Spain's power policies also made the headlines late in 2013 when electricity suppliers announced prices would rise 25.6 percent in 2014, with consumers having to pay an extra 11 percent from January.

The news led to a political storm which spurred Energy Minister José Manuel Soria to declare that energy prices would “under no circumstances” experience such a drastic hike.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy announced during his end of year speech in Parliament that the price rise would be a more modest 2.3 percent. 

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