March 5, 2008

Spain hits wind power limit

Spain marked a new record Tuesday afternoon, with wind energy accounting for 28% of the country's electricity supply (click the title of this post for the story). But even before that figure was reached, the national grid ordered it cut.

Thy had to do that because there was insufficient excess capacity (backup) available to compensate for the expected subsequent drop in the wind, and the capacity of the connector with France for importing energy is too small. The Spanish national grid appears to consider 25% of the power demand being met by wind -- which was reached once before, on Jan. 16 -- to be the limit.

That level of production is rarely seen, of course, but as more turbines continue to be erected it will become an increasingly frequent problem. On average, wind produces less than 10% of the electricity used in Spain, but since Spain supplies a lot of Portugal's power as well that average is less when both countries are considered. (This is also a point to remember about Denmark, which has large interconnectors with Sweden, Norway, and Germany, on which larger grid Danish wind represents less than 1% of electricity use.)

Click here to see real-time and historical Spanish wind energy production graphs.

wind power, wind energy