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Wind power in Spain

Aerial view of a wind farm in Spain
File:Windpark Galicia.jpg
A wind farm in a mountainous area in Galicia, Spain

Spain is the world's fourth biggest producer of wind power. In 2014, the year-end installed capacity was 23 GW and the annual production was 51,439 GWh, a share of total electricity consumption of 21.1%.[1]

In 2009, for the first time in the annual calculation, wind overtook coal that produced 33,844 GWh. In 2010, 43,692 GWh of wind electricity was produced in Spain, with an end of year installed capacity of over 20 GW, representing 20% of capacity, and 16% of production.[2] Wind was the third biggest energy source in the country, exceeded by thermal gas combined cycle at 68,828 GWh and nuclear, that reached 61,944 GWh. In 2010, wind energy covered 16% of the demand, compared to 11.5% in 2008 and 13.8% in 2009.

In 2009, the largest producer of wind power in Spain was Iberdrola, with 25.5% of capacity, followed by Acciona with 20.9% and NEO Energia (EDP Renewables) with 8.3%.[3] On windy days, wind power generation has surpassed all other electricity sources in Spain; in November 2009, a wind storm caused wind farms to produce a peak of 53% of total electricity demand (11.546 GW).[4][5] Power peaks of 14.960 GW were reached in November 2010,[6] and in November 2011 a new capacity peak of 59% of power demand being generated by wind power was reached.[7] On 6 February 2013, wind power achieved again a new record in electricity production, reaching an instantaneous peak of 17,056 MW and an hourly production of 16,918 MWh.[8]

Regional trends

Installed windpower capacity (MW)
Rank Autonomous Region 2008[9] 2009[10] 2010[11]
1 Castile and León 3,334.04 3,882.72 4,803.82
2 Castile-La Mancha 3,415.61 3,669.61 3,709.19
3 Galicia 3,145.24 3,231.81 3,289.33
4 Andalusia 1,794.99 2,840.07 2,979.33
5 Aragon 1,749.31 1,753.81 1,764.01
6 Valencian Community 710.34 986.99 986.99
7 Navarre 958.77 961.77 968.37
8 Catalonia 420.44 524.54 851.41
9 La Rioja 446.62 446.62 446.62
10 Asturias 304.30 355.95 355.95
11 Basque Country 152.77 152.77 153.25
12 Murcia 152.31 152.31 189.91
13 Canary Islands 134.09 138.34 138.92
14 Cantabria 17.85 17.85 35.30
15 Balearic Islands 3.65 3.65 3.65
Spain total (MW) 16 740.32 19 148.80 20 676.05

The intended wind energy capacity to be installed in the autonomous regions by 2010-2011 is 20,000 MW.[12]


The US rating agency Standard & Poors, in a current investigation of standard of living in Europe, ranked Navarre, whose primary source of renewable energy is wind power, uppermost among the 17 autonomous regions of Spain.[13] Navarre, Europe’s sixth largest producer of wind power, currently sustains approximately 70 percent of its electricity needs from renewable energy sources, wind farms being used most extensively, and has a 900-megawatt capacity of installed wind power.

Navarre lacks thermal, nuclear, coal, oil, gas fields, or hefty hydro-electric power stations, but does possess considerable wind renewable resources, which the Government of Navarre pursued to drop its external energy dependence.[14] Navarre was entirely reliant on imported energy until wind-power development and utilization began progress in 1996.[13]


Galicia currently leads in wind power development in the autonomous regions for the third consecutive year with an increase in wind power of 264 MW, succeeding Castilla La Mancha, which exceeded the development goal of 1000 MW, and followed by Aragon, Navarre, and Castile-León, and the remaining autonomous regions.[12] Castilla Leon and La Rioja have initiated wind energy production, and the north-eastern area of Soria also holds the capacity to be an efficient producer; the possession of workable resources for wind power development is also represented in the Cantabrian, eastern and south-eastern coasts.[12]


Largely concerned with advancing energy efficiency use in Spain, the Institute for Energy Saving and Diversification (IDAE) also seeks to expand renewable energy sources and energies.[12]

Research concerning the production of hydrogen from the use of water by a wind farm is occurring at a newly installed laboratory in the Universidad Pública de Navarra under an agreement between Energía Hidroeléctrica de Navarra, Stuart Energy Systems of Canada, and Statkraft of Norway.[15] The lab will replicate the power generation environment of a wind farm and examine the effects of an electrolyzer.[15]

Concentrated research is occurring concerning wind measurement in the Albacete region at Higueruela.[12]

Wind power industry

The Spanish wind energy sector now hosts the involvement of over 500 companies, with approximately 150 wind turbine production plants and their machinery across the Spanish regions.[16] The assets of the Spanish industry are being noticed and acted upon by financial analysts, as United States Ernst and Young in 2005 ranked the wind market in Spain among the uppermost in its index of “long-term country attractiveness”.[17] 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, and is estimated to double to 60 000 by 2010” (2005).[16]

Gamesa Eólica

Gamesa, based in the Basque Country is a large global wind turbine manufacturer with 13% share by installed power in 2005.[18] The company values the distinctive geographical setting of Spain as a benefit to Spanish companies competing in the global arena.[17] Gamesa Eólica currently operates plants in Spain, The US and China. It has projects in many other parts of the world including Egypt, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, and Portugal.[17] Gamesa opened a manufacturing plant for wind turbine generator blades in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 2005, creating 500 part-time building and operations jobs and 236 permanent manufacturing jobs; the building, operation, and upkeep of Gamesa’s wind farms, in conjunction with its two Philadelphia offices and production plant, formed about 1,000 jobs in the state over a five-year period.[19] The company seeks expansion into Greece, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom.[17]

Ecotècnia / Alstom Wind

Main article: Alstom Ecotècnia

Ecotècnia, established 1981, and by 2005 had 2.1% world market share by installed capacity,[18] with wind turbines in production of up to 1.6MW.[20] In 2009 the company was acquired by Alstom for €350million.[21] The company continued to develop wind turbines; a 3MW machine was installed in a commercial windfarm in 2009.[22] In 2010 the company was renamed Alstom Wind.[23] In 2011/2 the company developed a prototype 6MW permanent magnet gearless generator for offshore applications, in association with LM Wind Power and Converteam.[24]

Acciona Energy

Main article: Acciona Energy

Acciona Energy (Acciona Energía), the biggest global wind-park developer, currently operates in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Morocco, Spain, and the United States.[17] The company credits its success to its initial stages in Navarre during 1994. Its line of work involves wind-farm operation, turbine manufacture, and the development of wind-power plants, and the company intends to expand into China, Ireland, and the United Kingdom.[17]


Main article: Iberdrola

Iberdrola currently holds functioning facilities in Brazil, France, Greece, Italy, Mexico, Portugal, Spain, the United States and the United Kingdom, and is continuing to develop wind farms in Europe and Latin America[17][2].

As of 2008, Iberdrola plans to develop six offshore wind farm projects with a combined generation capacity of 3000 MW at locations off the coasts of the Spanish Atlantic provinces of Cadiz, Huelva and the Mediterranean province of Castellon.[25]


MTorres initiated their activities in the Wing Energy field in 1998, with the launch of their newly developed Wind Turbine TWT-1.5/70, a 1500 KW variable-speed direct-drive multipole Wind Turbine with a full-power converter and a 70 meters rotor diameter.


The national Spanish wind energy industry has begun to export its wind generators by forming contracts for the erection of wind farms in China, India, and Mexico, as well as Cuba, where work began in 1998 (2007). They also have contracts at a highly developed stage with Portugal, Turkey, Tunisia, Egypt, Brazil, and Argentina.[12]

The wind energy capacity for major companies in Spain was the following as of 2007: Gamesa Eólica, 3281 MW; Made, 803 MW; Neg Micon, 715 MW; Ecotècnia, 446 MW; G. Electric, 343 MW; Izar-Bonus, 317 MW; Desa & AWP, 121 MW; Enercon, 58 MW; Lagerwey, 38 MW; and Others, 113 MW (2007).[12]

Future development

Three factors will control the further progress of wind power development in Spain: the capability of the wind farms network to hold all the electricity harnessed by wind power, predominantly in off-peak times, the cost of energy, and the environmental effect that the abundance of wind farm development in Spain could turn out.[14] The Spanish wind power industry will be confronted with the following issues in the immediate future:[14]

  • formulating its development to be congruent with required supply agreements by the national electricity supply operator
  • guaranteeing that the installation of wind farms occurs with recognition of the environment
  • synchronizing wind power development of the 17 autonomous regions
  • trimming down the investment costs to acquire sufficient returns with declining energy prices in the upcoming years.

It is also noteworthy that the supportive Spanish policies for wind power development have resulted in severe competition for construction sites among major companies.[14] Political leaders in the autonomous communities have been frazzled by the numerous applications for wind farm construction.[14] Local possession of wind power is not present in Spain, but does not appear to take away from further development of wind power in Spain since a much smaller and weaker quantity of local anti-wind farm grid population inhabits the country.[26]

However, a further obstacle concerning wind power development needs to be tackled before Spain can achieve these ambitious objectives: construction of a central control center for all the Spanish wind farms, analogous to the control center used for traditional power plants.[17]


With some exceptions, there has been little opposition to the installation of inland wind parks. However, the projects to build offshore parks have been more controversial. According to Cohn et al.,[27]

The proposal of building the biggest offshore wind power production facility in the world in southwestern Spain on the spot of the 1805 Battle of Trafalgar.[28] has been met with strong oppostition from the towns in the coast of Cádiz, who fear for tourism and fisheries in the area.[29] There have also been complaints by the British, who claim that the area is a war grave and that any development of the area could destroy archaeological evidence of the historic battle.[28]

See also

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  1. ^ The Spanish Electricity System Preliminary Report 2014 (PDF), Red Eléctrica de España (REE), 2014 
  2. ^ Sources:"2010 El sistema elétrico español" (PDF), (in Spanish) (RED ELÉCTRICA DE ESPAÑA), "Balance de potencia a 31.12.2010. Sistema eléctrico nacional, Balance de energía eléctrica nacional", p.9; "Cobertura de la demanda", p.10 
  3. ^ "La eólica instaló en España 2.459 MW en 2009 pero este año se reducirán a cerca de 1.000 MW" (PDF), (in Spanish), archived from the original (PDF) on 29 March 2010 
  4. ^ "IEA Wind Energy: Annual Report 2008" (PDF), (International Energy Agency), July 2009, Chapter 27. Spain, pp.239-251, ISBN 0-9786383-3-6, archived from the original (PDF) on 20 July 2011 
  5. ^ "La energía eólica supera por primera vez la mitad de la producción eléctrica", (in Spanish), 9 November 2009 
  6. ^ "La generación eólica alcanza casi los 15.000 MW en las horas centrales del día de ayer", (in Spanish), 10 November 2010 
  7. ^ "La aportación de la energía eólica a la red marca un nuevo récord", (in Spanish), 7 November 2011 
  8. ^ "Spain was in 2013 the first country where wind energy was the first source of electricity for an entire year". Spanish Wind Energy Association (AEE). Retrieved 9 March 2015. 
  9. ^ "Spanish Wind Energy Association (aae) statistics" (PDF). 
  10. ^ "La eólica instaló en España 2.459 MW en 2009 pero este año se reducirán a cerca de 1.000 MW" (PDF). Spanish Wind Energy Association (AEE). 
  11. ^ "Spanish Wind Energy Association (AAE) Map". 
  12. ^ a b c d e f g Montes, G; Germán Martínez; Prados Martín, Enrique; Ordóñez García, Javier (2007). "The current situation of wind energy in Spain.". Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews (Elsevier) 11 (3): 467–481. doi:10.1016/j.rser.2005.03.002. 
  13. ^ a b Stewart, Jules (2006). "Windmills of the Green Mind.". Geographical. 78 (3): 56–58. 
  14. ^ a b c d e Alberto, Miguel Ichaso (2000-8). "Wind power development in Spain, the model of Navarra" (PDF). DEWI Magazine. Retrieved 2007-01-28.  Check date values in: |date= (help)[dead link]
  15. ^ a b "Spanish utility to produce H2 from wind power.". Fuel Cells Bulletin.: 5. October 2004. 
  16. ^ a b "Spain’s wind power industry on a roll". Renewable Energy Access. 2005-08-24. Retrieved 2007-01-28. 
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h Graber, Cynthia (2005-12-14). "Wind Power in Spain" (PDF). MIT Technology Review. Retrieved 2007-01-16. 
  18. ^ a b M. Ragheb (28 February 2010), "Modern Wind Generators" (PDF),, Table 1. "Wind turbine manufacturers share of installed capacity as of 2005" 
  19. ^ Curry, Jennifer (2005-02-18). "Spanish wind company to build plant in region". Pittsburgh Business Times. Retrieved 2007-01-28. 
  20. ^ "List of principal installations carried out by Ecotècnia" (PDF),, 2007, archived from the original (PDF) on 29 November 2007 
  21. ^ Sources:
  22. ^ "OnSite: The Ecotecnia 100 Launch",, November–December 2009 
  23. ^ "Company Overview of ALSTOM Wind, S.L.", (Bloomberg LP) 
  24. ^ Haliade 150–6MW Offshore Wind Turbine (PDF), Alstom 
  25. ^ Iberdrola Plans Six Offshore Wind Projects
  26. ^ Toke, D et al. (2007). "Wind power development outcomes: How can we account for the differences?". Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews. (Elsevier) 11 (3): 467–481. doi:10.1016/j.rser.2006.10.021. 
  27. ^ Cohn, Laura; Vitzhum, Carlta; Ewing, Jack (2005-07-11). "Wind power has a head of steam.". European Business. 
  28. ^ a b "Grave developments for battle site.". The Engineer.: 6. 2003-06-13. 
  29. ^ <Las eólicas preparan su inmersión [1]>

External links

fr:Électricité en Espagne#Énergie éolienne