Renewable electricity generation still plays only a minor role in Spain’s energy landscape and is way off the country’s EU target of 12%, according to a study by researchers at the University of Pontificia Comillas in Madrid.
In 2005, renewable energy accounted for only 7% of Spain’s total electricity generation and the country’s total greenhouse gas emissions are 63% higher than in 1990.
“Our 2012 commitment under the Kyoto Protocol is to emit only 15% more than in 1990. In other words, we are a long way off being able to fulfil this objective,” says researcher Pedro Linares from the University’s Institute for Research in Technology (IIT).
The electricity generation sector in Spain is responsible for a quarter of the country’s CO2 emissions and demand is showing no signs of slacking off.
If the country takes a business as usual approach, Spain’s emissions will have doubled by 2020 compared with 1990 levels, the researchers predict.
If instead policies promoting energy efficiency and savings, as well as increase development of renewables, are followed then the situation is much brighter. According to the researchers predictions, such scenarios could result in emissions levels 37% lower in 2020 compared with 1990 levels.
The main element required for change, say the researchers, is reduced demand. Increasing the availability and competitiveness of renewable energies play will be required to a lesser extent to realise the country’s emissions targets.
However, predicting the restraints on growing demand are difficult, says Linares, “because these will require strong political will, and it is not clear that this exists.”
For further information:
Pedro Linares, Francisco Javier Santos, Ignacio Pérez Arriaga. Scenarios for the evolution of the Spanish electricity sector: is it on the right path towards sustainability? Energy Policy (2008) 36 (11), 4057-4068.
23 January 2009