A Greenpeace report claiming renewables could meet Spain's entire electricity demand by 2050, and at lower cost to the system compared with conventional generation, has been widely applauded by the country's wind lobby -- though more for the effort than its veracity. "Despite all the graphs and figures, it's mainly a wish list," says national wind association Asociación Empresarial Eólica (AEE). The report, produced for Greenpeace by Madrid's Comillas University, says sunny and mountainous Spain has Europe's best mix of renewable energy resources, with more than 12 GW of wind online, a booming solar photovoltaic market and large existing hydroelectric facilities. Combined, these already meet 25% of electricity demand. In its 50% scenario, the Greenpeace report sees wind at 45 GW (39.6%), large hydro at 16.57 GW (14.7%), and biomass at 2.47 GW (2.2%). Surprisingly, it sees the remaining 38 GW (33.7%) coming from solar thermoelectric, which combined with molten salt energy storage is given the role of providing much of the system's balancing power. Even the national renewables lobby group, the Asociación de Productores de Energías Renovables (APPA), has its doubts about that. "The large scale viability of that technology remains to be assessed," it says. If nothing else, Greenpeace hopes the report will spur the government into "seriously analysing the option of 100% renewables."
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Senior Renewable Energy Analyst (WindGEMINI Product Lead) DNV GL Bristol (City Centre), City of Bristol