Spain: Renewable Energy Powerhouse

In its recent Spain survey, The Financial Times (subscription needed) elaborates at length on the spectacular growth and development of the country's renewable energy industry, a rapid rise that has allowed it to become the world's second largest producer of wind energy after Germany and a front-runner in solar and biofuel technologies (peep some of our earlier posts listed at the end for some examples of its sustainable prowess). Indeed, March 20 marked the first time that thousands of whirring wind turbines provided a whopping 27% of the country's total electricity supply, a historic high reached by pumping energy from 72% of its total installed wind capacity (which we reported on earlier here).

This is in great part due to the big investments made by Spanish energy companies and the government's early adoption of favorable tariff incentives that provide a guarantee to producers that all their energy will be purchased. "Spain has created a cluster of knowledge in clean energy that sets it apart from most other countries," said Miguel Salis, a private equity manager. "This has enabled Spanish groups to invest successfully in other markets where there is huge potential for growth." Firms like Gamesa, a manufacturer and installer of wind turbines, Iberdrola, a power group, and Acciona Energia, a wind park developer, have all become world-beating businesses (in some cases, world leaders) with some of the largest global market shares in their respective industries by making crucial, early investments in their core technologies.

Spain's environment and climate are also widely credited for its huge gains in renewable energy. As Europe's second most mountainous region (after Switzerland) and one of its least densely-populated states, Spain was the ideal location to mass-produce and install wind turbines and photovoltaic panels without causing too much public outcry. It all just comes to show what can be accomplished with the right government policies and a business climate willing to embrace change and risk.

Image courtesy of Technology Review

Via ::Renewable energy: Revolutions turn nation into green leader (newspaper)

See also: ::Seville Solar Station, Southern Spain, ::Wind Power Is Spain's Top Energy Source This Week, ::Wave Energy For Spain Keeps Moving Forward, ::Solar Spain

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