Renewable energies: an opportunity for the Iberian Pole

25 de June de 2020

The production model is changing at a global level towards a green economy based on renewable energies and the reduction of emissions, in accordance with the Paris Agreement and the European Green Deal.

In recent years, we have seen all the countries of the Iberian Pole join this race towards renewables, a sector in which the metal industry and its associated technologies play a fundamental role in the production of plants, windmills, installations, maintenance and other processes in the production chain.

According to the latest forecasts from Goldman Sachs, by 2021 investments in green energy (solar and wind) will exceed those of fossil fuels for the first time, with a market worth 14 trillion euros and the potential to generate 20 million jobs worldwide

Spain: well above targets in Galicia

63% of the energy generated in Galicia between January and August 2019 came from natural sources, a figure
that puts the community well ahead of Europe, which set itself the challenge of achieving a renewable energy rate of 20% by 2020 and 32% by 2030. Spain as a whole has also done its homework, although with a lower percentage than Galicia, at 36%.

Half of Galicia’s clean energy and a third of the total is due to windmills, which generated 3.6 million megawatts in the first eight months of the year. In addition to wind farms, hydropower is important for the community, which had an output of 3.3 million MWh between January and August.

Likewise, Spain is firmly committed to new energies such as offshore wind, an activity in which Galicia is positioned as one of the most suitable areas due to its natural conditions and the know-how it has in the naval-maritime industry.

Portugal: exponential growth

Other countries of the Iberian Pole such as Portugal are also committed to diversifying their energy mix. Since 2005 the Portuguese country has experienced an annual growth of 7% in its installed capacity.

Thus, today, renewable energies in Portugal represent two thirds of the entire generation capacity installed in the country. The first source is hydroelectric with 37%, followed by wind power with 26%. Photovoltaic solar energy plays a minor role at the moment, with 1.6%.

According to Portugal’s National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan (PNIEC), the country has set a target of 80% of its electricity coming from renewable sources by 2030. To this end, the Portuguese government plans to increase solar energy capacity by 2.0 GW in the next two years.

Morocco: leader in North Africa and the Middle East

Beyond Europe, countries such as Morocco, which have traditionally depended on energies such as coal, are now seeking to open up new energy models.

Morocco is today one of the countries leading this transition in the Arab world, ahead of Egypt or Jordan, according to a study by the King Abdullah Centre for Oil Studies and Research.

This country seeks to close the year 2020 with a renewable energy production rate of 42%, which would increase to 52% by 2030. Green hydrogen will be one of its central elements, as Morocco seeks to become an exporter of this energy by 2030.

In 2016, coal dominated the country’s energy mix with 58% of production, followed by natural gas with 20% and oil with 10%, while solar, wind and hydroelectric power reached 13%. But Morocco has since then established itself as a continental leader in renewable energy with several world-renowned projects, such as the Noor Ouarzazate Solar Power Plant, one of the largest concentrated solar power plants in the world.