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Spain is leading EU drive towards renewable energy

MADRID: Even as Britain, following a detailed review, mulls the need for increased nuclear capacity, Spain has the bit between its teeth as it champions renewable energy.

Spain is in the EU renewables vanguard as the European Union targets a 20% share of overall energy production by 2010, compared with a projected three% for Japan.

Wind farms are a major part of the national strategy and the share of overall wind farm-generated production is set to double to 12% over the next four years – giving some 20,000MW of installed capacity.

While such comparisons are not precise, in the US, 1MW of wind power generates about as much electricity as 240-300 homes use, according to the American Wind Energy Association.

Currently, Spain, where the energy market was deregulated in 1998, is second only to Germany and just ahead of the US in terms of installed wind power capacity, at 8,155MW in December 2004, compared with 14,000 MW for Germany.

Analysts say Chinese capacity could hit 30GW or 30,000 MW by 2020, underscoring Spanish interest in that market.

Solar power is also on the rise, with Spain’s photovoltaic association ASIF forecasting growth of up to 1,100MW by 2010, exceeding government forecasts more than twice over.

Spain’s first polysilicon solar plant came on stream only last month on the... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Spain is in the EU renewables vanguard as the European Union targets a 20% share of overall energy production by 2010, compared with a projected three% for Japan.

Wind farms are a major part of the national strategy and the share of overall wind farm-generated production is set to double to 12% over the next four years – giving some 20,000MW of installed capacity.

While such comparisons are not precise, in the US, 1MW of wind power generates about as much electricity as 240-300 homes use, according to the American Wind Energy Association.

Currently, Spain, where the energy market was deregulated in 1998, is second only to Germany and just ahead of the US in terms of installed wind power capacity, at 8,155MW in December 2004, compared with 14,000 MW for Germany.

Analysts say Chinese capacity could hit 30GW or 30,000 MW by 2020, underscoring Spanish interest in that market.

Solar power is also on the rise, with Spain’s photovoltaic association ASIF forecasting growth of up to 1,100MW by 2010, exceeding government forecasts more than twice over.

Spain’s first polysilicon solar plant came on stream only last month on the outskirts of the southern city of Cadiz.

Iberdrola, Spain’s second-biggest Spanish electricity producer, said on Thursday that a surge in its renewable energy business had helped lift first-half net profit by 25% to 817.8mn euros ($1bn), well above forecasts.

Earlier, the firm announced it had raised its stake in the Spanish wind farm specialist Gamesa to 17% as part of a move to focus its interests on renewable sources.

According to financial director Jose Sainz Armada, Iberdrola expects production at its renewable energy division to grow “by 10%-12% in the second half of this year.”

The wind generated portion of the firm’s energy output is barely 14% of the 27,993MW total at present, but Iberdrola says the target is to lift that to nearer 33% for a total 10,000MW by 2011.

The link up with Gamesa “is seen as an important plank in a renewables strategy whose growing importance cannot be underestimated,” an energy analyst at a leading European bank said Friday.

Gamesa has become a trailblazer in recent years, exporting its wind technology to China, the US and France.

The company is the second-biggest producer of wind turbines in the world behind Danish rival Vestas Wind Systems and won orders last year to install 520 wind turbines worth 234mn euros.

More than half of those were from China, where Gamesa already covers 36% of the renewable energy market.

Iberdrola itself recently bought out US operator Community Energy (CEI) and agreed to take a 29% stake in China’s Guanxi Guidong Electric.

The Spanish group is also tackling renewables projects from Britain to Brazil and has 16,000MW worth of projects in China, the US and France alone.

“That makes us the biggest wind energy producer in the world,” the firm claims.

Regarding nuclear power, Spain has nine plants in operation that account for 23% of all energy production, a level comparable with the US and Britain but far behind France’s 78%. Increasing that level however is a political hot potato, as elsewhere.

Britain’s energy review has flagged the need to develop renewable sources although Prime Minister Tony Blair said in May that nuclear energy was “back on the agenda with a vengeance” amid the need to slash greenhouse gas emissions by 20% of their 1990 levels between now and 2010.

Spain, which depends heavily on imported supplies of oil and gas, last year unveiled a Renewable Energy Plan.

The plan offers tax incentives for firms that employ clean emission technologies, and sees 97% of a total 23.6bn euro investment coming from the private sector with the likes of Iberdrola and Gamesa at their head, according to the Institute for the Diversification and Saving of Energy (IDAE).

While not all environmentalists are convinced, wildlife officials at a bird sanctuary in the Ebro Delta were appalled to hear of a wind farm project for the area, a 2003 Greenpeace (France) report favourably compared the wind route with the prospect of greater reliance on nuclear power.

That report quoted the European Wind Energy Association as saying that by 2010, installed wind capacity could equal the output of 14 nuclear reactors.


Source: http://www.gulf-times.com/s...

JUL 24 2006
http://www.windaction.org/posts/3623-spain-is-leading-eu-drive-towards-renewable-energy
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