Spain powered itself with renewable energy for nine straight hours

The country's government recently announced a €2 billion fund aimed at tackling its severe drought problem.
Chris Young
Solar cells and wind turbines in Almería, southern Spain.
Solar cells and wind turbines in Almería, southern Spain.

Nachteule / iStock 

Spain hit an impressive renewable energy milestone last week when it was powered solely by renewables for nine hours straight.

Energy generated by solar panels, wind turbines, and hydro energy was able to power mainland Spain from 10 am to 7 pm local time (CEST) on Tuesday, May 16, a report from Spanish newspaper El País reveals.

Spain's impressive renewable energy milestone

Spain is one of the world leaders in renewables and its latest milestone, shows off the capabilities of its renewable energy infrastructure.

According to El País, the milestone was possible thanks to a recent increase in the total generation capacity of both wind and solar power technologies in the country. Tuesday, May 16, was also a sunny and windy day throughout much of Spain, meaning both systems were operating at peak capacity.

In the case of solar panels, they are able to inject surpluses into the grid and also meet demands when there is sunshine. The new milestone is a great example of how renewable energy can take on a great amount of a country's grid requirements. It's worth noting, though, that nuclear, gas, and coal-fired plants were still operating during these hours, as energy was also exported to surrounding countries.

According to a report by The Local, Spain, Germany, China, and the U.K. top a world ranking compiled by the international non-profit Climate Group, which highlights the world's leaders when it comes to renewable energy. A post by Scientific American, meanwhile, shows that the global share of renewable energy production is constantly increasing, and it now accounts for one-third of electricity generation worldwide.

Spanish government announces €2 billion fund amid ongoing drought

The increase in renewable energy production is a boost for global efforts to fight climate change. However, global governments will have to do a lot more on a global level to mitigate the disastrous effects of climate change, which are already being felt throughout the world.

Spain, for example, is the European country most at risk of desertification by 2050, according to a study by researchers at ETH Zurich and Crowther Lab. Spain also just experienced its hottest April on record, and a study (which has yet to be peer-reviewed) by the World Weather Attribution initiative indicates that this would have been practically impossible without climate change.

An ongoing drought in the country has also recently led the Spanish government to announce a €2 billion ($2.15 billion) fund aimed at mitigating the effects of future droughts, according to a Euronews piece. The money will be partly spent on new infrastructure, such as seawater desalination plants and systems for recycling wastewater.

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