Even as Britain, following a detailed review, mulls the need for increased nuclear capacity, Spain has the bit between its teeth as it champions renewable energy.
Spain is in the EU renewables vanguard as the EU targets a 20 percent share of overall energy production by 2010, compared with a projected 3 percent for Japan.
Wind farms are a major part of the national strategy and the share of overall wind farm-generated production is set to double to 12 percent over the next four years -- giving some 20,000 megawatts (MW) of installed capacity.
While such comparisons are not precise, in the US, 1MW of wind power generates about as much electricity as 240-300 homes use, according to the American Wind Energy Association.
Currently, Spain, where the energy market was deregulated in 1998, is second only to Germany and just ahead of the US in terms of installed wind power capacity, at 8,155MW in December 2004, compared with 14,000MW for Germany.
Analysts say Chinese capacity could hit 30 gigawatts (GW or 30,000MW) by 2020, underscoring Spanish interest in that market.
Solar power is also on the rise, with Spain's photovoltaic association ASIF forecasting growth of up to 1,100MW by 2010, exceeding government forecasts more than twice over.
Spain's first polysilicon solar plant came on stream only last month on the outskirts of the southern city of Cadiz.
Iberdrola, Spain's second largest indigenous producer of electricity, said on Thursday that a surge in its renewable energy business had helped lift first-half net profit by 25 percent to 817.8 million euros (US$1 billion), well above forecasts.
Earlier, the firm announced it had raised its stake in the Spanish wind farm specialist Gamesa to 17 percent as part of a move to focus its interests on renewable sources.
According to financial director Jose Sainz Armada, Iberdrola expects production at its renewable energy division to grow "by 10-12 percent in the second half of this year."
The wind generated portion of the firm's energy output is barely 14 percent of the 27,993MW total at present, but Iberdrola says the target is to lift that to nearer 33 percent for a total 10,000MW by 2011.
The link up with Gamesa "is seen as an important plank in a renewables strategy whose growing importance cannot be underestimated," an energy analyst at a leading European bank said on Friday.
Gamesa has become a trailblazer in recent years, exporting its wind technology to China, the US and France.
The company is the second-biggest producer of wind turbines in the world behind Danish rival Vestas Wind Systems and won orders last year to install 520 wind turbines worth 234 million euros.
More than half of those were from China, where Gamesa already covers 36 percent of the renewable energy market.
Iberdrola itself recently bought out US operator Community Energy (CEI) and agreed to take a 29 percent stake in China's Guanxi Guidong Electric.
The Spanish group is also tackling renewables projects from Britain to Brazil and has 16,000MW worth of projects in China, the US and France alone.
"That makes us the biggest wind energy producer in the world," the firm claims.
Regarding nuclear power, Spain has nine plants in operation that account for 23 percent of all energy production, a level comparable with the US and Britain but far behind France's 78 percent.
Increasing that level however is a political hot potato, as elsewhere.
Britain's energy review last week flagged the need to develop renewable sources although Prime Minister Tony Blair said in May that nuclear energy was "back on the agenda with a vengeance" amid the need to slash greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent of their 1990 levels between now and 2010.
Spain, which depends heavily on imported supplies of oil and gas, last year unveiled a Renewable Energy Plan.
The plan offers tax incentives for firms that employ clean emission technologies, and sees 97 percent of a total 23.6 billion euro investment coming from the private sector.
While not all environmentalists are convinced, wildlife officials at a bird sanctuary in the Ebro Delta were appalled to hear of a wind farm project for the area, a 2003 Greenpeace (France) report favorably compared the wind route with the prospect of greater reliance on nuclear power.
That report quoted the European Wind Energy Association as saying that by 2010, installed wind capacity could equal the output of 14 nuclear reactors.
In a world which uses more than 300 billion kilowatt-hours of energy a day and rising, the rush to renewables shows no sign of abating.
"Renewable sources can help to bridge the gap in the European energy supply ... and contribute to sustainable development," a report by the EU Barometer of Renewable Energies said recently.
SAFETY RISK: The government is working to categorize countries based on their COVID-19 cases and prevention efforts, which would determine quarantine periods The government plans to rank countries based on their COVID-19 risks to determine how to treat tourists and other travelers from those nations once Taiwan reopens its borders, but it is still working out the categories, a top health official told lawmakers yesterday. “We would divide countries around the world into several categories. One category would comprise those countries with very few confirmed COVID-19 cases, such as New Zealand and Palau. Travelers from the countries in this category would only need to practice self-health management,” Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) told a Legislative Yuan seminar hosted by
CASH BOOST: Foreign spouses with residency permits are also eligible for the coupons, which can be bought at post offices or linked to digital payment options Stimulus coupons for Taiwanese and foreign spouses with residency permits can be ordered starting on July 1 and can be used from July 15 to Dec. 31, the Executive Yuan said yesterday. Aimed at boosting domestic spending, the coupons worth NT$3,000 (US$100.04) are to cost NT$1,000. “For our consumers, this is a very good deal as they get three times as much value for their money,” Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) told a news conference in Taipei. While the coupons are to have a wide range of uses, including at department stores, restaurants, book stores, night markets, beauty and hair salons, hotels, and to
SECURITY CONCERNS: The Telecom Technology Center ran black-box tests for the Executive Yuan on devices and software from Chinese, US and South Korean firms Network devices from several Chinese manufacturers are insecure and allow personal information to be leaked, testing commissioned by the Executive Yuan has shown. A variety of devices and software, including apps, from Chinese, US and South Korean manufacturers that are used by government agencies at the central and local level were subjected to black-box testing — in which the functionality of an application is examined without knowing about its internal structure, an information-security official said yesterday on condition of anonymity. The Telecom Technology Center conducted the tests, which simulated cyberattacks, to determine their resilience to the attacks, the official said. The center
RELATIONSHIP ‘TERMINATED’: US Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that the president’s action was ‘an act of extraordinary senselessness,’ a tone Chinese media echoed US President Donald Trump on Friday announced that Washington would withdraw funding from the WHO, end Hong Kong’s special trade status and suspend visas of Chinese graduate students suspected of conducting research on behalf of their government. Trump said in a White House announcement that Chinese officials “ignored” their reporting obligations to the WHO and pressured the organization to mislead the public about the outbreak. “We have detailed the reforms that it must make and engaged with them directly, but they have refused to act,” he said. “Because they have failed to make the requested and greatly needed reforms, we will be