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Spain beats Germany at wind generation for 2010

SPAIN: For the first time, annual Spanish wind generation, at nearly 43,000 GWh, beat that of Germany, at 36,500 GWh, according to recently consolidated figures from the European Union’s (EU) renewable energy monitoring body Eurobserv’ER Barometer.

Spain's Sierra de Mira wind farm, Cuenca, Castile-La Mancha wind farm contributed to the country's 43,000GW/h production
Spain's Sierra de Mira wind farm, Cuenca, Castile-La Mancha wind farm contributed to the country's 43,000GW/h production

The Spanish achievement was despite the country having 7GW less installed wind capacity than Germany; Spain had 20.6GW of online capacity by end-2010 against Germany’s 27.2GW.

Slightly higher than average winds in Spain, and lower than average winds in Germany where partly responsible, admits Spanish wind industry association, Asociación Empresarial Eólica (AEE). Nevertheless, "Spain has more modern turbines than Germany, because its market developed later", it said.

The association has been keen to use the Eurobserv’ER data to defend Spain’s existing pay mechanism for wind generation, which expires end-2012. The industry ministry is currently studying the new model that will take its place.  

Under the current model, "Spain, together with Portugal, has the lowest price for wind," claims AEE.  Spanish producers receive €77/MWh on average, against €92/MWh in Germany.

AEE points out electricity prices are dominated by fossil fuel prices. Increasing amounts of wind power push fuel prices out of the wholesale market, pressuring prices downwards.

Spain’s current pay mechanism for wind has helped that process along, says AEE. Currently electricity distributors are required to buy all wind power connected to their networks. The distributor must also pay a production incentive in addition to the electricity market price.

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