Dust off record books–Spain, Portugal hit new wind highs

2009 closed with a figurative bang in the wind integration field, with Spain setting a new national record December 30–54% of instantaneous electricity supply.

Spain's latest achievement (it had reached 53% during November) underlined the fact that the Iberian peninsula has become a global leader in wind power's use. At a workshop in November, Portugal's national utility system operator, REN, announced that Portugal had reached a peak level of 71% of electricity supply from wind on November 15.

Almost overnight, wind has burst into the energy picture of both countries, demonstrating the speed with which wind farms can be installed and provide a significant energy contribution. Wind stood second only to natural gas in Spain in December, producing 20.1% of total national electricity supply, and ranked third for the year (14.3%)–behind gas (30.4%) and nuclear (20%), but ahead of coal (12.7%). In Portugal, wind was expected to generate 14% of national electricity supply for 2009, up from less than 1% in 2000.

Also worth noting: in 2009, wind accounted for 95% of new generating capacity installed in Spain. And of special interest: Spain has been able to integrate wind generation at levels exceeding 50% of instantaneous supply without adding new energy storage to its utility system.

Comments our in-house electric industry expert, Michael Goggin:

They [Spain] are definitely a success story in terms of successfully integrating centralized wind forecasting into grid operations – they have a state-of-the-art operations center devoted to that. Spain has a single large balancing area with robust energy markets, which greatly facilitates wind integration as well.

Stay informed

Take Action

Subscribe to the American Clean Power blog and receive the latest renewable energy news, policy updates, and opportunities to get involved.