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Spain Increases Zero Carbon Sources on its Grid

image credit: Red Electric logo

As the year 2020 nears a close we can begin to see how various grids around the world changed in the last year. Early indications are that Spain made strong moves toward a cleaner grid. 

A recent release from Red Electric de Espana shows the details.

 

Renewables reached 43.6% of the fuel share in 2020 once nuclear is included the zero carbon total was 66.9%.  Wind and nuclear both increased their shares by almost 1% last year while solar jump almost 3%.

These increases along with lower demand meant that there were big drops in both coal and NG generation in 2020 and CO2 emissions were down 27.3%. Great year.

Looking forward it looks like remaining coal will be phased out of Spain by 2025.

Meanwhile solar is enjoying a boom with a recent doubling of its capacity.

In 2019, annual solar PV additions of 3.97 GW AC made the country the solar champion of Europe, taking its total installed PV capacity to 8.91 GW. With the H1/2020 data in, the country’s cumulative installed solar PV capacity till the end of June 2020 reached 9.693 GW.

With wind also doing well we can expect renewables to pass 50% by 2025 and ZC sources to pass 75% by 2025

Joe Deely's picture

Thank Joe for the Post!

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Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Dec 29, 2020

Again, you're conspicuously ignoring that other fossil fuel: natural gas.

No one else expects renewables to pass 50% by 2025 - or ever. Why? "Renewable" energy is 100% dependent on natural gas, and always will be:

The combined cycle gas turbines and the wind energy in the Spanish electricity mix

"Although there was already a wind energy presence when the electricity market began in 1998 and the arrival of the combined cycle gas turbines did not occur until 2002, both have a parallel history."

Gas and wind are like two peas in a pod, aren't they?

 

Joe Deely's picture
Joe Deely on Dec 29, 2020

Again, you're conspicuously ignoring that other fossil fuel: natural gas.

Directly from my article - "These increases along with lower demand meant that there were big drops in both coal and NG generation in 2020"

From graphic you can see that CC and Cogen were down a total of 4% in 2020.

With coal almost gone - future onshore wind and solar generation eats into what's left of the NG column. Then - offshore wind in second half of decade.  NG will be hurtin.

Plenty more solar/wind coming. Currently 37GW of wind/solar - could easily see that double this decade.

Biggest question is - how long does existing nuclear stick around ?

Nathan Wilson's picture
Nathan Wilson on Dec 29, 2020

The linked article on Spanish nuclear power is interesting.  They are investing a paltry $650M, or $0.32/Watt to keep the 40 year Almaraz 2000MW nuclear plant open, a bargain compared to new-build renewables (which would cost ten times more for the same output). 

BTW, 40 years is young for a nuke; most US plants have had their licenses extended to 60 years, and few have applied for 80 year extensions.

Once Spain finishes the coal-phaseout and pushes solar above 10-15%, the low hanging fruit will be gone.  It will be very hard to keep pushing CO2 emissions down if they start closing nuclear plants.  They could follow the US and UK into 40%+ fossil gas dependency.

Joe Deely's picture
Joe Deely on Dec 29, 2020

BTW, 40 years is young for a nuke; most US plants have had their licenses extended to 60 years, and few have applied for 80 year extensions.

I understand what you are saying - and certainly I think some plants around today will make it to 80.  By the way, I also think that some kids alive today will make it to 140. 

However, most won't.  

The "longest living" reactors are the 5 alive today that have made it to 51.  However, there are also 192 retired reactors WW that never made it past 50. So I don't believe that 40 is young for a nuke.

If we look at the 6 reactors that shutdown this year - see below - none of them made it to 50.  

  • Duane Arnold(US) - 1974
  • Fessenheim1 (FR) - 1977
  • Fessenheim 2(FR) - 1977
  • Indian Point2(US) - 1973
  • Leningrad2(RU) - 1975
  • Ringhals(SE) - 1973

Also, with some work Spain can easily get to 80% renewables.

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Jan 4, 2021

There's no evidence U.S. plants aren't capable of lasting indefinitely - unless, of course, they're shut down by solar and/or gas developers, in league with frightened antinuclear ideologues. Indian Point, for example, was shut down by bribes from Competitive Power Ventures, Inc. so it could be replaced not by solar or wind, but (surprise!) natural gas:

Working for Natural Gas Interests, Former Cuomo Aides Lobbied to Kill Indian Point Nuclear Plant 

"'Based on my review of publicly available documents and my interviews of witnesses,' wrote the US attorney [Preet Bharara], including employees of [Competitive Power Ventures], the importance of the [CPV Valley Energy Center] to the State depended at least in part, on whether [Indian Point] was going to be shut down.'

'The indictment suggests that Competitive Power Ventures and the Cuomo administration both recognized that if Indian Point were taken off line, it would be replaced by natural gas, not imported hydro and wind', an anonymous source told the New York Times."

Shutting U.S. nuclear down requires two ingredients: 1) lobbying by solar/gas developers, and 2) convincing naïve Greens an electricity grid can be powered by windmills and solar panels. The first requires some investment and effort.

Joe Deely's picture
Joe Deely on Jan 5, 2021

There's no evidence U.S. plants aren't capable of lasting indefinitely 

So what ??  There is no evidence that Boeing 747s aren't capable of lasting indefinitely but that doesn't mean that airlines won't be replacing them.

Funny that you ignore the international plants that closed in 2020. Why did the Leningrad2 plant close Bob?

Nuclear WW - still going backwards...

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Jan 6, 2021

"There is no evidence that Boeing 747s aren't capable of lasting indefinitely but that doesn't mean that airlines won't be replacing them."

You compare a free market in airplanes with a free market in electricity, when the second doesn't exist. Ratepayers are obliged to pay for wind and solar farms whether they're the most cost-effective way to generate clean electricity, or not (hint: they're not).

"Why did the Leningrad2 plant close Bob?"

I was hoping you'd bring that up!

"The Leningrad 2 nuclear power unit in in Sosnovy Bor in Western Russia was shut down permanently today. The RBMK, which has been in operation for 45 years, is to be replaced by Leningrad II-2, a VVER-1200, which on 6 November received regulatory approval to start pilot operation.

https://www.world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/Russia-retires-Leningrad-2-RBMK

The reactors at Chernobyl were RBMK designs, too. Though renewables adherents, I'm sure, were hoping for a repeat of the 1986 accident at Leningrad, the rest of the world has moved on. We don't mill wheat with windmills anymore, either. Ah, progress...

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Dec 29, 2020

From graphic you can see that CC and Cogen were down a total of 4% in 2020."

CC and Cogen was down only 4% in the midst of a global pandemic. But cherry-picking and aimless optimism were up 96%.

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Dec 29, 2020

Love to see also the focus on optimized new transmission infrastructure and reduced peak demand

Joe Deely's picture
Joe Deely on Dec 29, 2020

Yeah... I think the expanded interconnector with France is big. 

This underground electrical interconnection is a pioneering project, the first of its class in the world, that will double the electricity exchange capacity between France and Spain, leading to greater security and stability in the two electricity systems.

An infrastructure that will double the commercial exchange capacity with France from 1400 to 2800 megawatts (MW), and that will increase the security, stability and quality of power supply of both countries.

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