Huge growth but still minor resource

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Spanish wind production continues to grow in enormous leaps, but national growth in the contribution of renewables to the grid remains static. This is the result of a long awaited report from the national energy regulatory body, the Comisión Nacional de Energía (CNE), on power plant operation within Spain's special energy regime, which includes renewables, small hydro and co-generation. These regular reports were previously produced by the Comisión Nacional del Sistema Electrico, which has now been absorbed into CNE.

Spain's wind production in 1999 was up 97% on the previous year, according to CNE. Wind contributed 2676 GWh to the grid, compared with 1358 GWh in 1998. This means that wind furnished nearly 40% of last year's total renewables production, or 1.59% of national electricity demand. Sales of green power have risen by 31% in the same time frame, compared with a 6.5% growth in the use of fossil fuel, nuclear and large hydropower, says CNE.

Meanwhile, CNE finds the contribution of all renewables to the national mix unmoving at 4%, or 16% if large hydro is included, the same total as in 1998. Electricity demand has increased, underlining the need for more stimulation of renewables if Spain is to meet its clean energy commitment for 2010 of 29.4% of its power needs sourced from renewable energy and all forms of hydro.

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