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All in all, the most pressing issue for the E.U seems to be to prepare for a high renewable grid trough interconnections. The largest wind potential is in the north of Europe and will have cross borders without a hiccup. The new, proposed European regulator will attempt to do just that.
Spain is poorly connected to the European grid and so a link across the Pyrenees would appear to be a priority if wind-generated power mush "cross borders". However, the evidence seems to be this might not be necessary...

(h/t ChrisCook)

Recent data from two meteorologically unusual days in Spain - the world leader in the management of renewable energy supplies - shows this assertion is almost certainly false.
  • During part of 8 November, Spain saw over 50% of its electricity come from turbines as an Atlantic depression swept over the country's wind parks. (They are so big that no one seems to call them `farms'.) Unlike similar times in November 2008, when Spanish turbines were disconnected because the grid had an excess of electricity, the system accepted and used all the wind power that was offered to it.
  • A very different event in January of this year saw unexpectedly high winds shut down most of the country's turbines with little warning. The grid coped with this untoward incident as well. These two events show that a well run transmission system can cope with extreme and unexpected events even with a large fraction of power provided by wind.

Over the course of this year Spain will generate about 14% of its total electricity from wind and this number is likely to rise to the high twenties by 2020.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Nov 23rd, 2009 at 05:25:08 AM EST
See a detaield rundown here. For some reasn this site is censored by my work IT filters, so I can't quote it...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Nov 23rd, 2009 at 06:25:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That is the article CC quoted. I like this bit:

Carbon Commentary · Spain's variable wind and stable electricity networks

As its electricity transmission company, Red Eléctrica de España or REE, reminds us, the country is unusually isolated from international interconnections. It is `a peninsula electrically speaking, with weak electrical interconnections with the European Union'.[1] A country with limited capacity to import or export power has more issues accommodating large amounts of wind power. Denmark has international connections to cover 50% of its electricity while Spain has less than a tenth this amount. (The UK also scores extremely poorly on this dimension.)

Spain is able to manage the integration of wind power into its grid primarily because it has reasonable amounts of hydro-electricity and pumped storage.[2] Hydro-electricity can be used when winds are less than expected and pumped storage can assist both when wind is unexpectedly high or unexpectedly low.

And also
But is wind so variable that power stations need to provide immediate backup? The utterly superb REE website provides easy-to-use data to test this theory. I've used this data to try to demonstrate that wind production was remarkably consistent during the peak day of 8 November.[3] Not only is wind speed largely predictable with good meteorology, but REE data shows that even in the windy days of early November, the amount of electricity generated only varied gradually.
Woo hoo! A "superb" data source for making charts... My mouth is watering already...

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Nov 23rd, 2009 at 06:34:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think they are trying to prepare for a massive offshore wind capacity in the channel/north sea/baltics and allow that power to flow south.

The assumption is that a 100% REN grid means that high resource regions will have overcapacity.

Rien n'est gratuit en ce bas monde. Tout s'expie, le bien comme le mal, se paie tot ou tard. Le bien c'est beaucoup plus cher, forcement. Celine

by UnEstranAvecVueSurMer (holopherne ahem gmail) on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 04:51:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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