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6.4GW of new wind and solar capacity added in Spain in 2019

The big increase in capacity in 2019 came after a modest 330MW of additions in 2018, a jump that could be attributed to the election of the centre left government, replacing a centre right regime that had little interest in renewables

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Renewable energy

New figures released late last week show that Spain commissioned a total of 6,456MW of new renewable energy generation in 2019, bringing the country’s cumulative total up to 55,247MW, and lifting its total share of electricity generation to more than one third in 2019.

According to the country’s transmission system operator Red Electrica de Espana (REE), which published the 2019 generation data last week, renewable energy produced 97,826 GWh, accounting for 37.5% of the country’s generated electricity last year, a rise of 5.6 per cent over the previous year.

The big increase in capacity in 2019 came after a modest 330MW of additions in 2018, a jump that could be attributed to the election of the centre left government, replacing a centre right regime that had little interest in renewables.

Wind and solar accounted for the majority of Spain’s new capacity additions in 2019, with 5,689 MW being awarded in auctions held in 2017, and the remaining 767 MW outside of the auction allocations.

New solar capacity additions led the way with 93 projects amounting to 3,975 MW, followed by 86 new wind projects amounting to 2,319 MW. Only 162MW of other renewable energy technologies was installed in 2019.

Nuclear power with 21.4% and natural gas with 21.2%.

2019 was also host to several historical generation records, with wind energy covering 75.97% of demand in the Spanish Peninsula (as compared to its minor territories) on November 3, and a wind power maximum output of 18,879MW on December 12. A day later, wind energy also beat its daily maximum generation record, reaching 396,898MWh on December 13.

Meanwhile, solar PV increased production by 18.8%, registering its highest annual generation value to date. Solar PV also had its own record-breaking days, with maximum daily Peninsula production of 34,758 MWh on August 23 and a monthly maximum for August of 972,519 MWh.

Red Electrica de Espana also published figures for the decade just finished, which showed that wind energy was only narrowly beaten out in annual production in 2019 by nuclear (21.4 per cent) and combined cycle natural gas (21.2 per cent), while coal production accounted for barely  2% of Spain’s monthly generated power.

In fact, according to REE: “The last few days of the decade saw the beginning of the end for coal-fired generation,” with the 14th, 21st, 22nd, 24th, and 25th of December 2019 showing no signs of coal generation whatsoever, a historical first for the country.

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