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Spain reclaims its former clean-energy dominance in Europe's green transition

Updated: Nov 3, 2022

- "Europe needs Spanish renewables"

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I have this strong (maybe unrealistic but anyway..) belief/dream that one very bright day, close to 100% of all energy consumption globally will be generated from Mother Nature, using natural power sources like solar and wind.

Which is why the news from Barcelona on installing Spain’s first solar energy pavement made me so especially happy. Looking around me at the café in Valencia where I am sitting, suddenly I see before me how all of the grey tiles come to life and are glimmering with hope.

This is quite literally a great first step to introduce more kinds of green infrastructure as Spain displays its intention to be a power player in Europe's green transition. At the same time, reclaiming the leadership position as the go-to-place for solar and wind, the country enjoyed a decade ago, before the financial crisis dimmed its light.

In the case of the trial in Barcelona, more specifically in a small park in the Glòries area of the city, non-slip solar panels covering a surface of 50 square meters are estimated to generate 7,560kWh a year, said to be enough to supply three households. Eloi Badia, responsible for climate emergency and ecological transition at Barcelona city council, tells the Guardian:

“If we’re going to reach a target of zero emissions, we’re going to have to think about supplying electricity to blocks of flats, but we’ll also have to think of using wind and solar parks outside the city. But installations on the ground like this open up new possibilities, and not just for Barcelona."

Indeed new possibilities are emerging and Spanish renewables by the numbers look very promising. Stated by Beatriz Corredor, president of Red Eléctrica in a Wake up Spain panel.

“A renewable capacity equivalent to four nuclear power stations was achieved in 2020."

For April 2021, the monthly generation of renewable origin was 46.2%, "between wind energy, hydroelectric, concentrated solar power and photovoltaic, and 68.1% was produced from technologies that do not emit equivalent CO2. Wind energy, responsible for 20.8% of the electricity produced in April, has increased its production by 12.3% compared to the same month in 2020", reports Evwind.

Iberdrola key for Spain's renewable brand

A bet 20 years ago made it the Exxon of green power: "A Spanish company, Iberdrola, has quietly become the world leader in combined wind power and solar power outside China", reads a headline from the New York Times.