Spain has set a record this week by powering 29-40% of its electricity needs from wind energy.

A huge 11,180 MW was generated on Thursday when high winds blew through north west Spain. When demand was lower early in the morning, wind energy supplied 40% of the country’s requirements whilst later on when demand rose, wind energy supplied 29%.

This year wind turbines have supplied 11.5% of electricity demand in Spain positioning the country as the third biggest producer of wind energy next to Germany (second) and the US (first). There is a national target of reaching 20,000 MW by 2010. This compares with a figure of just 7300 MW likely to be operational in the UK by 2010 (the number currently built or with planning consent). Companies with a significant presence in Spain are Iberdrola, Acciona and Endesa.

To dismiss wind energy as an expensive, green luxury, as many do, is to ignore what has happened in Spain, Germany and the US. Earlier this year Christian Kjaer, EWEA Chief Exec, commenting on the 2008 EU wind industry statistics said “Wind energy is the undisputed number one choice in Europe’s efforts to move towards clean, indigenous renewable power.”