Thirty years ago Spain sought new sources of clean energy to lessen the country’s heavy dependence on foreign oil and realise its goal of energy self sufficiency. Today the country’s goals extend beyond its borders, as it brings solar and wind power technologies and innovations to the USA and the rest of the world.
Spanish companies have already made significant contributions in several countries including the UK. For example, Iberdrola Renewables is the largest producer of wind energy in the UK.
Spain’s solar technology involves almost 800 companies and provides jobs for more than 100,000 professionals. Spanish companies lead the industry in Concentrated Solar Power (CSP), with a pipeline of more than 1,500 megawatts (MW), as well as photovoltaics (PV) and Concentration Photovoltaics (CPV).
With company projects such as Abengoa’s Solucar Platform that will reach a capacity of 300 MW in 2013, through a wide array of technologies including CSP tower plants, solar troughs, PV and dish stirling; and Acciona’s Nevada Solar One, a US$266 million solar project with a capacity of 64 MW, Spain’s solar industry is helping to provide solutions to meet the world’s energy needs.
Spain is internationally recognized as an authentic promoter of wind power development. The industry supplies up to 40% of Spain’s daily electricity demands on certain days of peak production, and employs more than 20,000 people worldwide.
Proactive investments and developments by Spain-based wind power companies have helped make Spain the world’s third largest wind power producer and the first in per capita production, with 16,470 MW of installed capacity at the end of 2008. Spanish companies such as Acciona, Gamesa and Iberdrola Renewables are becoming household names as they build wind farms and manufacturing plants, creating jobs across the USA.
By 2010, Spain plans to have 30% of its electricity coming from renewable energy. To help achieve this goal, Spain will install a total of more than 21 GW of wind generation capacity. Continued support and investment by the Spanish government should help the country achieve these goals and strengthen its position as a leader in renewable energy technologies throughout the US and the world.