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Spain Elevates Ambitions for Renewable Energy

published: 2023-06-30 14:06

The Spanish Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge (MITECO) has made revisions to the targets for renewable energy generation outlined in its National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan 2021-2030 (PNIEC). Notably, the target for solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity has been increased from 37 GW to over 76 GW. The ministry is currently inviting public feedback on these revisions.

The revised PNIEC elevates the national renewable energy consumption target to 48%, raising the share of renewables in the country's electricity mix to 81%, while also improving energy efficiency to 44%. Previously, Spain targeted a 74% renewable energy share by 2030, with plans to reach 100% by 2050.

The revision aligns with Spain's efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, with the new target aiming for a 32% reduction by 2030 compared to 1990 levels, up from the previous target of 23%. The ministry emphasized that these revisions demonstrate an increased ambition to achieve carbon neutrality before 2050, mitigate the impact of global warming, and modernize the economy.

Apart from the substantial increase in solar PV capacity, the revised PNIEC sets targets of 62 GW for wind energy, 4.8 GW for solar thermal, 1.4 GW for biomass, and 22 GW for energy storage capacity. Additionally, self-consumption plans include 19 GW. The strategy also outlines Spain's plan to phase out coal by 2025 and reduce nuclear energy capacity from 7.39 GW in 2025 to 3.18 GW in 2030.

The revised PNIEC projects Spain’s cumulative power generation capacity to reach 214 GW by the end of 2030. It also aims to have 11 GW of electrolyzer capacity for green hydrogen production.

The updated plan introduces specific actions in various sectors, such as railways, aviation, navigation, rural development, renewable integration with the environment, cybersecurity, local electricity markets, gender perspective, capacity markets, and life cycle analysis of buildings. These measures aim to strengthen the objectives of the plan and achieve greater social, economic, and environmental benefits.

To realize these goals, MITECO estimates an investment of €294 billion, with 15% coming from public funds, including those provided by the European Union (EU), and 85% from the private sector. Renewables are expected to attract 40% of the total investment. Furthermore, Spain anticipates saving over €90 billion in imports through the implementation of these targets.

The draft of the revised PNIEC strategy is available for public consultation on the ministry's website until September 4, 2023.

Meanwhile, the Spanish Photovoltaic Association (UNEF) has expressed support for MITECO’s decision to extend the deadline by 6 months for renewable energy projects to secure construction clearance. This extension provides more time for the completion of necessary environmental studies for ground-mounted solar projects, benefiting approximately 40 GW of planned installations.

The association reported that the government approved the environmental impact statements for nearly 40 GW of ground-mounted solar projects in January of this year. However, these projects were unable to obtain the necessary construction permits before the July 25 deadline due to the extensive and rigorous environmental studies required for solar projects in the country.

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