Could Spain live only on renewable energy?


The privileged geographical location of the Spaniards has opened the ban —for a long time— to consider what this country would be like if it only lived on the energy generated by the sun and the wind and if it would be enough to supply us all.

In recent years, Spain has experienced tremendous growth in the generation of renewable energy. Thanks to its more than privileged geographical location, it has great potential to take advantage of sources such as solar, wind, hydroelectric and biomass energy.

As of 2021, Iceland, Uruguay, Costa Rica and Norway are 4 countries that can already boast of generating all their energy with renewable sources and many others where the percentage exceeds 80%, such as Austria or New Zealand.

Specifically and for some years, Spain wants to generate 74% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030 and is already a leader in Europe in wind energy. It had 1,265 wind farms and a wind power capacity of 28.1 GW in 2021, second only to Germany.

To this we must add that, according to the forecasts of the National Network of Spain, in 2023 it could be the first time that 50% of electricity comes from renewable sources.

Renewable energy

Such is the enthusiasm that it has even been suggested that one of the emptiest regions in Spain, Aragon, could become the Saudi Arabia of Europe: by 2030, 10% of Teruel could be covered by renewable energy facilities —although it seems little. likely given the complaints.

Leaving this aside for the moment it seems that the first signs are positive: In January, the share of renewable energy generation was almost 60%. In February it dropped slightly, to 45%, and in March it was above 50%.

“Spain has shown a strong commitment to renewable energy and has made significant progress in recent years, but the electrification of key sectors, such as transport and industry, will be necessary to reduce dependence on fossil fuels,” explains for Computer Today Andrea Suárez, Development and Social Impact at Fenie Energía.

Percentage distribution of wind energy generated in Spain in 2022, by autonomous community.  Source: Statista.
Percentage distribution of wind energy generated in Spain in 2022, by autonomous community. Source: Statista.

More than a possibility, a necessity to stop climate change

Data shows that 100% renewable generation is possiblebut now it is known that this is also necessary if the destruction of the planet is to be avoided.

Climate change is the greatest challenge facing humanity today and stopping it as much as possible is the only way to guarantee our survival. The commitment to clean energy that does not generate emissions is a key factor in achieving this.

“By 2030 we will have invested 31,000 million euros so that 80% of all our energy production is CO2-free. And by 2040 we will be 100% renewable, this will be ten years ahead of the limit set by the EU to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero”they explain from Endesa.

energy saving efficiency

However, there are also big decisions to make. “Large investments are going to be needed in installing more renewable generation capacity, such as solar farms, wind farms and hydroelectric power plants. In addition, it will be necessary to develop more efficient energy storage technologies to guarantee a constant and stable supply, even at times when there is not enough renewable generation due to weather conditions.” adds Andrea Suarez.

As the expert explains, the first step is really the most complex, especially if governments change their ideas and plans from time to time: the transition requires strong investments in infrastructure and systems that allow energy to be stored.

On the other hand, it will require modernization to efficiently integrate and distribute renewable energy throughout the country and consistent, long-term policies and regulations to encourage investment and ensure an effective transition.

It is clear that despite being possible, it will not be an easy or immediate process and of course it presents great challenges and limitations. Spain must make great strides towards a more sustainable and environmentally friendly energy idea in the future and it seems that this country has the advantage of possessing ideal characteristics that give it great potential.