Spain’s use of renewable energy sources stagnates

Latest Eurostat figures show clean power growth of just 0.01% between 2014 and 2015

Growth in Spain’s use of renewable energies has come to a near halt. Gross final consumption of energy for 2015 from clean sources was almost the same as the previous year, according to data released on Tuesday by Eurostat for the entire European Union. In 2014, the figure for Spain was 16.14%, and in 2015, it was 16.15%.

The Solúcar solar energy park near Seville.
The Solúcar solar energy park near Seville.Paco Puentes

Spain’s poor performance was mitigated by the use of biomass, given that there was a fall in the use of clean energy to generate electricity in 2015. Furthermore, Spain is not part of the group of 11 advanced nations that have met their EU commitments for 2020, by which time 20% of energy consumed in Spain should be renewable, four percentage points higher than at present.

Eurostat’s figures on consumption of renewables is based on three components: the use of clean energy to generate electricity, its use for transport, and its deployment for heating and refrigerating.

In terms of electricity generation, in 2015, Spain actually reduced the percentage of renewables used compared to the previous year, from 37.8% to 36.9%. Eurostat said that the gross production of renewable energy has come to a standstill, while total electricity consumption has increased.

The EU believes Spain is still on track to meet its clean energy commitments for 2020

Referring to transport, there was little new to note: the number of electric cars in Spain has risen slightly. Although Spain uses biofuel, its contribution to the clean energy balance sheet is nonexistent. The problem is that Spain has so far been unable to certify the sustainability of the biogasoline and biodiesel it uses.

Spain’s overall data for 2015 were the same as 2014 thanks to heating and refrigeration, where use of clean fuels rose from 15.75% to 16.78%, which Eurostat attributed mainly to the increase from 2014 to 2015 of declared consumption of renewable biofuels in industry (biomass).

Spain’s current National Renewable Energies Action Plan (PANER) aims for slightly higher use of clean energy within three years than the EU’s target of 20%, at 20.8%. Furthermore, the plan established a 16.7% goal for clean energy by 2015, more than half a percentage point above the figure reached.

Nevertheless, the European Commission for Action on Climate and Energy, headed by Spain’s Miguel Arias Cañete, believes Spain is on track to meet its European commitments, as outlined in a document it sent in early February to the European Parliament and Commission, where the country set renewable use for 2015 at 15.6%, somewhat below the data released by Eurostat on Tuesday. However, those figures sent in February were a European Commission projection whereas the data released on Tuesday are final.

English version by Nick Lyne.


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