Renewable electricity generation

Information based on provisional data as of January 2023
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This year, the figures for clean electricity remain very high.

Renewable production in the Spanish electricity system in 2022 fell by 4.0 % compared to the previous year, standing at 116,583 GWh, registering a share in the generation structure of 42.2 % of the national total, compared to the 46.7 % it reached in 2021. It has been a year marked by a sharp decline in hydroelectric production, which reached historic lows. However, in turn, it has recorded highs in wind and solar photovoltaic production.

To enable the operation of an electricity system with such a high penetration of renewable energies under safe conditions, the control and supervision work carried out by Red Eléctrica de España's Renewable Energy Control Center (CECRE) is essential.

The work of CECRE has made it possible for the contribution of renewable energies to peninsular electricity generation to reach a share of 43.7 % in 2022, 4.7 percentage points lower than the historical maximum recorded in 2021, when renewables accounted for 48.4 % of the peninsular energy mix. This lower share of renewable generation in 2022 is due to the 39.7 % decrease in hydro production compared to the previous year, the lowest production since statistical series have been available. On the other hand, there have been increases in peninsular wind and solar photovoltaic production, 1.0 % and 32.9 % higher than in the previous year, as a result of weather conditions and the increase in installed power capacity in the peninsular system.

During half of the months of 2022 (in April and May and from August to November), the peninsula's monthly renewable generation has been higher than the previous year, coinciding with the increase in wind and solar photovoltaic production. The highest increases in renewable energy took place during the second and third quarters of the year, with the highest growth occurring in September, with a value of 18.8 %. In addition, the highest values to date for renewable generation have been recorded for the months of May, August, and September.

New renewable production maximums in the electricity systems of the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands.

In the electricity system of the Balearic Islands, renewable technologies have reached a historical maximum of annual production in 2022, with 404 GWh, 29.1 % higher than the renewable production of the previous year. 7.4 % of the energy production in the Balearic Islands electricity system has been produced from renewable sources.

During the months of 2022, renewable generation in the Balearic Islands has exceeded the historical record on several occasions, reaching a new maximum in July with 49,336 MWh, 42.4 % above the same month of the previous year.

2022 has also been a year of records in renewable production for the Canary Islands electricity system. Specifically, renewable generation in the Canary Islands was 6.3 % higher in 2022 than in 2021, reaching an all-time annual high of 1,718 GWh. The share of this renewable generation in the energy mix of the Canary Islands has also beaten the historical record, reaching a value of 20.1 %.

At the monthly level, renewable generation in the Canary Islands surpassed all previous records in August, with a value of 220,450 MWh.

Annual evolution of renewable energy production

Renewable production structure by power station type and by autonomous communities

Daily production has also exceeded the historical value of renewable generation both in the Balearic electricity system, where on Friday July 1, 2022, renewable production was 1,773 MWh, and in the Canary Islands, with 10,818 MWh on Friday July 29, 2022.

Likewise, the hourly renewable production in the Balearic Islands recorded the highest historical generation values on Friday, July 1, between 13:00 and 14:00 hours, reaching 172 MWh, and the highest hourly participation in the mix with 37.3 % on Sunday, November 13, between 11:00 and 12:00 hours.

In the Canary Islands, the historical record for hourly renewable production was broken on Friday, July 29, 2022, between 13:00 and 14:00 with 617 MWh.

Maximum Renewable Generation

Winter: January-May / October-December.
Summer: June-September.

In 2022, the peninsular hydropower stations recorded the lowest historical production

Peninsular hydroelectric production in 2022 reached 17,860 GWh, which represents a decrease of 39.7 % with respect to 2021 and the lowest value in the entire historical series recorded since 1990, when data were first available. Its contribution to the peninsular generation structure was 6.8 %, 5.2 percentage points lower than in the mix of the previous year. In 2022, the total generated by hydroelectric power stations placed this technology as the fifth largest source of generation in the peninsular total.

In the comparative graph of peninsular hydro generation 2021-2022, it is observed that during 2022, hydro production has only been greater than the generation of 2021 in the period from November to December. The month in which hydroelectric production recorded the greatest increase was November, with a growth of 9.2 %. In contrast, the largest reduction in monthly hydro production took place in February, when hydro plants generated 74.0 % less than in the same month of 2021.

Monthly hydro generation 2021-2022 compared to average generation

Historical average hydro generation: Average monthly hydro generation over the last 20 years.

Maximum and minimum daily hydro coverage

This decrease in hydro generation is in line with the hydro producible (the maximum amount of electricity that could have been produced with the hydro contributions registered), which in 2022 reached a value of 19,407 GWh, 27.8 % lower than that recorded in 2021 and 33.4 % lower than the historical annual average value. Therefore, it can be concluded that 2022 has been a dry year as a whole since the hydro-produced index, defined as the quotient between producible energy and average producible energy, has reached a value of 0.67.

Daily producible hydro power during 2022 compared to the historical average producible

Hydro reserves were below the statistical average in 2022

In terms of precipitation quantity, the year 2022 was a very dry year as a whole. It started with a very dry January and February, with an average precipitation value representing between 21 % and 26 % of the normal value for the month. Spring was, on the whole, a wet season in terms of precipitation. On the contrary, summer and autumn were very dry, with values that represented around 70 % of the normal value for these quarters in the 1981-2010 reference period. Finally, December was wet, with an average precipitation value representing 143 % of the normal value for the month.

During 2022, hydro reserves have been below the statistical average (calculated using the values of the last twenty years) during all months. Reserves began the year growing slightly until May, when they began to decline until reaching the lowest point in September, with a filling percentage of 26.2 %, which is around 8 percentage points below that for the same month of 2021.

Hydro reserves rose slightly during the final months of the year, bringing the volume of water in Spanish hydro reservoirs at December 31, 2022, to 44.4 % of their filling capacity, 8.3 percentage points higher than in the previous year.

Annual evolution of total, annual, and hyper-annual hydropower reserves

Statistical maximum and minimum: Average of the maximum and minimum values of the last 20 years.

Installed hydropower and reserves as of December 31 by peninsular hydrographic zone

New record highs for wind power generation in 2022

In 2022, the national generation fleet added more than 1,400 MW of new wind power capacity, which led to several record highs during the year.

Firstly, in the peninsular electricity system, wind power production set a new record in 2022 with an annual total of 59,805 GWh, which is 1.0 % more than that recorded the previous year. This increase occurred mainly in the second and third quarters of the year, when wind generated 12.8 % and 15.5 % more than in the same periods of 2021, with April recording a 36.9 % increase in production compared to the same month in 2021.

In addition, April, July, August, and September recorded the highest monthly wind productions to date for each of these months.

On Monday, November 21, at 18:37 hours, a new record of instantaneous wind power generation capacity was reached in the peninsular electricity system, with a value of 20,330 MW. This new maximum represents an increase of 1.0 % with respect to the previous maximum of 20,130 MW, recorded on Wednesday, December 8, 2021, at 13:34 hours.

The large variability of wind generation is seen in the graph of maximum and minimum daily wind coverage. During 2022, the daily share of wind production in the generation structure ranged from a minimum of 4.1 % on December 6 to a maximum of 54.3 % on November 21, which has also meant a new historical maximum of wind power participation in the peninsular generation structure.

Wind power was the technology with the highest share of participation in the peninsular production structure during half of the months of 2022, specifically in January (23.2 %), March (29.7 %), April (26.8 %), May (21.9 %), November (32.1 %), and December (26.2 %). In the total for the year 2022, wind power generation occupies the second position in the peninsular mix, with a share of 22.8 %.

Maximum and minimum daily wind coverage

Regarding the Canary Islands electricity system, its annual wind generation has also achieved a historical record with 1,368,748 MWh, which means an increase of 3.8 % compared to 2021.

August 2022 saw the highest monthly wind production in the Canary Islands with 183,708 MWh, 10.4 % higher than the previous record achieved in August 2020. In addition, on Friday, July 29, wind power generation in the Canary Islands broke its historical record of daily production with a value of 9,523 MWh.

During 2022, solar photovoltaic production reached historic production highs once again

Throughout the past 2022, installed solar photovoltaic power capacity has been the technology with the highest increase in the Spanish electricity system, adding more than 4,500 MW to the generation fleet and representing 16.6 % of the national total.

This momentum has allowed solar photovoltaic production in 2022 to register maximums in the different electricity systems of the national territory. During 2022, solar photovoltaic generation in the peninsular electricity system increased by 32.9 %, reaching 27,283 GWh, which represents a new annual production record. The annual participation of this technology in the peninsular mix has also registered a maximum value, with a share of 10.4 %, which means a growth of 2.1 percentage points compared to 2021, and has occupied the fourth position in the peninsular generation structure for the first time in history.

During all the months of 2022 (except March), peninsular solar photovoltaic production has been higher than in the previous year, with January reaching 86.7 % more than in the same month of 2021. In addition, during the month of May, solar photovoltaic produced the highest monthly amount recorded to date in the peninsular electricity system, with 3,320 GWh, and reached the maximum share in the generation structure of the entire statistical series with a value of 15.9 %.

On a daily level, on Thursday, May 26, 2022, peninsular solar photovoltaic beat the maximum solar photovoltaic production with a value of 151,312 MWh. On the same day, it reached the highest participation share in the peninsular energy mix, with 20.0 %.

In terms of hourly generation, on Friday, May 6, 2022, between 13:00 and 14:00 hours, the peninsular solar photovoltaic hourly energy beat the record with a value of 12,340 MWh. On Sunday, May 8, from 13:00 to 14:00 hours, solar photovoltaic production represented 41.3 % of the peninsular generation..

During the year 2022, the historical maximum of instantaneous photovoltaic generation power in the peninsular electricity system was beaten on several occasions, reaching a new historical record on Friday, May 6 at 14:13 hours with a value of 12,371 MWh.

Finally, on Sunday, May 1, 2022, at 15:41 hours, a new historical maximum of solar photovoltaic generation with respect to demand was reached in the peninsular electricity system, with a value of 54.3 %.

Maximum and minimum daily solar coverage

During 2022, solar photovoltaic generation in the Balearic Islands grew by 42.2 % compared to the previous year and reached its historical record of annual production with 267,857 MWh. This technology has also exceeded the maximum share in the mix of the Balearic Islands, representing 4.9 % of the annual production. In July 2022, the solar photovoltaic facilities of the Balearic Islands produced the highest monthly amount of energy recorded to date, with a value of 33,050 MWh.

Solar photovoltaic production in the Canary Islands in 2022 has also beaten its annual historical maximum, with 313,616 MWh, which represented 3.7 % of the Canary Islands mix. In May 2022, solar photovoltaic reached the highest monthly participation share in the generation structure of the Canary Islands, with 4.7 %, and in July, solar photovoltaic produced 34,259 MWh, the highest amount since the beginning of the statistical series in 2007.

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