Wind sector breaks new output record

At two o’clock in the morning on 6 November, the wind produced 59.7% of the electricity consumed at that time in Spain. The figure exceeds the previous record of 54.1%, achieved in the early hours of 30 December last year.

Between just before midnight on the 5th and 8.40 am on the 6th, wind energy covered more than half of all mainland Spain’s consumption. Furthermore, it did not drop below 45% of the mix at any time between 10.00 pm on 5 November and 6.00 pm the next evening. These data can be viewed on the website of the Spanish grid operator, Red Eléctrica Española (REE).

The important fact is that the figure, achieved during one of the periods of lowest consumption during the week (early on Sunday), highlights the sector’s capacity, and REE’s ability to manage not only large fluctuations in demand but also the less predictable variations in wind energy output.

This is remarkable especially when you consider that, just a decade ago, REE had warned that wind power could not exceed 12% of all the power generation capacity connected to the grid.

And wind energy’s contribution continues to grow thanks to the measures taken by REE such as real-time monitoring of all the country’s wind energy assets, along with the development of centralized control systems, also in real time, through the Renewable Energy Control Centre (Cecre).

These achievements have placed Spain on the world map as far as the grid integration of wind energy is concerned. Because Spain’s electricity system is almost completely isolated, it has to be managed without the major advantages of being able to import and export power to balance fluctuations. Unlike the Danish system operator (to quote another electricity system with high wind penetration), REE manages all this internally, to the extent that it has ended up making a virtue of necessity.

Comb of the Winds. Photo Courtesy Mike McGovern

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  • 8 Nov, 2011
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