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Spanish Wind Power Hits Record 43% of Demand

December 2, 2008

Spain's wind farms briefly provided a record 43 percent of demand for electricity early on Monday, producers' association AEE said.

The record was set at 5 a.m. (0400 GMT), when demand was well below peak levels, and beats a previous record of 40.8 percent set on March 22.

Wind power hit a maximum later in the day of 10,263 megawatts, which compares to a production record of 10,880, set on April 18.

Renewable energy has boomed in recent years in Spain, as the country tries to cut greenhouse gas emissions and reduce its heavy dependence on fuel imports.

Spain is the third-largest generator of wind power in the world, with about 16,000 MW of installed capacity and plans to have 20,000 MW by 2010.

Endesa, Spain's second-largest utility, recently estimated that replacing 1,000 MW of wind power by gas-powered generation would add 2 euros ($2.52) per megawatt-hour to the pool price on the over-the-counter market.

The day-ahead pool price, a market benchmark, was fixed on Sunday at an unusually low level of 58.67 euros/MWh for Monday delivery, down from 64.62 for Friday, the previous working day.

AEE estimated wind power cut market prices by 6 euros/MWh, which in 2007 was enough to save 1.198 billion euros, or more than the 991 million paid in subsidies to the sector.

The lobby further estimated that wind farms in 2007 saved Spain importing the equivalent of 6 million tonnes of crude, which would have cost 1.104 billion euros, and prevented the emission of 18 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2).