Wind power overturns the distribution of electricity production and manages tobreak half a year of dominance of gas plants as the main source of generation in Spain . Thanks to the strong winds recorded in recent weeks, wind turbine plants have managed to boost their operation and in November became the technology with the highest electricity production for the first time since last May.
Wind power accounted for almost a third of the country's total electricity generation last month, with a 31% share of the total energy produced, with more than 6,700 gigawatt hours (GWh), according to the records of Red Eléctrica de España, the national electricity system manager.
A greater contribution from renewables which, together with lower gas production and the fall in international gas markets in recent weeks, has meant that November has become the month with the lowest price in the Spanish electricity market in the entire energy crisis, since August 2021, with an average of 124 euros per megawatt hour (MWh).
Windmills thus unseat gas-fired power plants , which had remained the main source of generation uninterruptedly since June, at the top of the ranking . In November, power plants produced 22% of the total supply, with almost 4,800 GWh. Nuclear power plants, the traditional source of stable production, have remained with a share of 19.5% and a production of just over 4,200 GWh.
With the wind blowing strongly across the country, wind power has set a new all-time high for electricity generation this month. Last November 21, at 18.40 hours, wind power plants generated 20,594 megawatts (MW), concentrating 56% of the country's entire production. This new record breaks the previous record for instantaneous wind power production, which was set on December 8 last year, with 20,452 MW at 1:35 pm.
Hooked on gas
Throughout the summer and into the autumn,several factors had come together to push the electricity system to rely on combined cycle (gas-fired plants) to cover all the consumption required.
The drought has caused hydroelectric generation to plummet to half of what it was last year, for months the contribution of wind power has been much lower than expected, and electricity exports to France and Portugal have soared to record highs due to the problems of the neighboring countries (the stoppage of half of the French nuclear fleet and the ravages of drought in a market as dependent on hydroelectric power as the Portuguese one).
So far this year, gas-fired plants have almost doubled their production and will end the year as the main electricity generation technology in the country, accounting for a quarter of all the energy produced and beating nuclear and wind power, which are expected to contribute around 20% of electricity generation each by 2022.
The greater contribution of gas (and also coal) has meant that the electricity system has already far exceeded the accumulated CO2 emissions for the whole of 2021. Spain thus breaks the trend of emissions reduction of the last four years, which has led to record lows in the last three years ina row thanks to the progressive decline of coal, the expansion of renewables and the electricity demand contained by the lower economic activity during the pandemic.