Renewables remain stalled in Spain, as demonstrated by the fact that last year only 27 new renewable MWs were installed in the country, compared to 150,000 MW worldwide, reducing the renewable energy sold compared to the previous year. Even so, the renewable sector increased its contribution to Spanish GDP following two years of falls and boosting jobs after three years of decline. The increase does not signal recovery in the sector, but is as a result of the high prices reached by the sale of power during 2015 in the electricity market.
According to data contained in the Study on the Macroeconomic Impact of Renewable Energies in Spain 2015, published by APPA (Spain’s Renewable Energies Association), the renewables sector as a whole contributed €8.256bn to Spanish GDP (0.76% of the total), reducing the balance of trade by €2.511bn, recording a net export balance and making a net tax contribution to the State of €1.09bn, while receiving just €7m in subsidies in return.
Likewise, the traditional positive contribution as regards innovation in the renewables sector in 2015 revealed an investment in R&D+i of €230m. The figure represents 3.41% of the contribution by the sector to GDP and is considerably higher than the EU average (2.03%) and around three times (1.2%) the average investment that Spanish companies allocate to innovation.
Last year, renewable energy generation (electric, thermal and biofuels) avoided the importation of 19,925,281 toe, with an equivalent economic saving of €6.866bn. Similarly, it prevented the emission into the atmosphere of 55,141,676 tonnes of CO2, saving €423m.
Electricity production from renewables in 2015 amounted to 71,713 GWh, enough to cover 36.9% of peninsular demand. By technology, wind power accounted for 19.0%, the third source of electricity generation for the entire year behind nuclear and coal power that covered 21.8% and 20.3% respectively. In the electricity sector, renewables produced savings in the daily market amounting to €4.18bn, by bringing down every MWh sold by €16.9. Without renewables, the average market price in 2015 would have been 67.22 €/MWh instead of 50.32 €/MWh.
The data from the APPA study shows that, apart from saving and energy efficiency, renewable energy is the main tool available to Spain to meet its environmental commitments and are moreover an important business for the country’s economy. Renewables are clean, homegrown generation technologies and already have and economically competitive edge.