Spanish grid operator Redeia (formerly Red Eléctrica) said Thursday that renewable energy sources could account for half of the country's annual electricity generation this year, up from 42% in 2022. The estimate was announced during the presentation of Red Eléctrica's annual reports by the group's president, former Housing Minister Beatriz Corredor, who also warned that the data is still subject to a high degree of uncertainty.
"2023 will be a great year for the ecological transition in Spain and a transcendental exercise for us to consolidate our position as the renewable engine of the European Union," said Corredor, while highlighting the "critical role" played by the electricity grid in this process. "We have to get to 2026 with 67% renewable energy and we are in 2023 with 50%, we don't have much time" said Corredor, who added that "we are going to do it by developing the transmission grid and aligning the structures technologically, efficiently, with measures that allow us to integrate renewables".
In its report on renewables, the company, in which the State has a 20% stake, points out that Spain added 5.9 gigawatts of new renewable capacity last year, which represented records in wind and solar production. However, the nearly 40% drop in hydroelectric production due to widespread droughts skewed the share of renewables in the mix, which by 2021 had reached 46.7% of the total.
In 2022, solar PV grew by almost 33%, reaching almost 28,000 GWh and becoming the fourth technology in the mix with 10% of total generation, surpassing hydro technology which marked its historic low last year caused by the drought. Wind power exceeded 61,000 GWh, growing by more than 1% year-on-year and surpassing nuclear as the second technology in the mix.
For its part, demand fell in Spain by 2.4% compared to 2021, reaching 250,421 gigawatt hours (GWh), according to the report on the Spanish electricity system in 2022 presented this Thursday. While the maximum annual demand was recorded in summer, something that had not happened since 2016 and which represented an increase of 2.9% compared to the summer peak of 2021.
In comparison with Europe, Spain is second in renewable installed capacity, only behind Germany, with 59%. It is also second in generation produced by wind and solar technology, while it would be third if all renewable technology is added.
For her part, the Secretary of State for Energy, Sara Aagesen, assured that, for the first time in modern history, Spain "is perfectly prepared to lead this energy transition and this new industrial revolution that advances towards the decarbonization and digitalization of the economy".
Aagesen stressed that Spain is the fourth country in hydrogen projects, which will be "essential" in the energy transition and in which they are already seeing "a lot of progress". In addition, both hydrogen and biogas provide "energy autonomy" and make it possible to decarbonize the economy, especially in heavy transport or for industry.
Aagesen confirmed that there are many projects aimed at hydrogen, "20% of the projects announced worldwide are taking place in Spain, we are the fourth in the Greenfield in hydrogen projects". In this sense, he assured that there is a planning in this regard and a regulatory framework, with targets of 4 GW in 2030 and in an expression of interest about 2021 where there were "more than 500 projects".