After some time, Spain returned to the world top ten in terms of renewable energy capacity. But looking at the numbers in detail, its position in the ranking improves if each particular renewable technology is analysed individually.
Renewable energy capacity in Spain
The numbers alone are already quite spectacular. According to data from Red Eléctrica de España (REE) at the end of December 2020, the peninsular territory had 26 811 MW of wind energy capacity and 11 277 MW of photovoltaic energy capacity. Adding the rest of renewable energy technologies, the total peninsular renewable energy capacity amounted to 61 994 MW.
Looking at the national total, which includes the non‑peninsular territories, the installed wind energy capacity reaches 27 259 MW and the photovoltaic, 11 547 MW. The total national renewable energy capacity is 62 768 MW.
Comparison with the European countries
At the European Union level, with data from Eurostat for 2019, Spain is at least among the first four places in the entire European Union in terms of installed renewable energy capacity, both of hydroelectric and of wind and solar.
It is the third country in installed hydroelectric energy capacity behind France and Italy. It is the second in installed wind energy capacity behind, and far behind, Germany and behind, in third place, the United Kingdom is on its heels. In terms of solar energy capacity, including both photovoltaic and solar thermal, it is in the fourth position in the European ranking.
In the world ranking of renewable energy capacity, Spain is in the top ten, right in the tenth position, according to data from IRENA for 2019. But looking at technology by technology, the situation is much better in some cases.
According to data from REN21 for 2019, Spain is the tenth world power in installed photovoltaic energy capacity. A ranking that will surely improve significantly in the coming years as progress is made to the NECP targets for 2030. The ranking of the wind energy capacity worldwide improves to the fifth place for Spain. And looking at the solar thermal energy capacity, Spain is in the place number one as a world power of this technology.
Spain, world laboratory of the renewable energy
As was seen, Spain is already in a good position to achieve the ambitious objectives of the NECP. This good starting position and the good pace that the new renewable energy capacity installed in 2020 began to set is turning Spain into the world laboratory of the renewable energy and put it in the spotlight of the international investors.
The results of the renewable energy auction held at the end of January contributed to focus the global attention. The results of the auction are very good for the investors. Even though they are low prices, they are not ridiculously low prices, they are reasonably low prices. These are prices that make the investments in new renewable energy facilities profitable in the long term, taking into account that after being subject to the Renewable Energy Economic Regime (REER), the plants will continue to operate.
In addition, with the necessary investments, Spain has the opportunity to become the main green hydrogen production and export hub in the south of the continent thanks to the renewable resource, mainly solar, at its disposal.
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