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40 years of renewable energies in Spain (1984-2024)

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Renewable energies set a record in 2023, generating more than half of Spain’s electricity. This is an all-time high for the sector and almost nine percentage points above the 2022 share.

Pioneering projects: The 80s and 90s

When Alejandro Marques de Magallanes, founder of Magallanes Renovables, began to sense the enormous potencial of tidal energy, there was little talk of the environmental impact of fossil fuels. In fact, it was not until 1984 that the first photovoltaic installation was installed in San Agustín de Guadalix (Madrid). It would be another ten years later, in 1994, before the first commercial wind farm was built in El Perdón (Navarra).

Renewable energy boom: 2000-2010

At the turn of the century, in 2000, the Plan for the Promotion of Renewable Energies was approved. It was a Spanish Government initiative whose main objective was to promote the use of clean and sustainable energies in the country. 2005 was a significant year for the renewable energy sector for several reasons:

  • At the international level, the Kyoto Protocol (approved in 1997) came into force, the aim of which was to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • At the national level, a series of reforms concerning price transparency and the promotion of renewable energy consumption were approved.

In 2007, the government introduced a compensation scheme for each MW/h of energy produced from renewable sources. Thanks to this incentive, more than 55,000 people opted for clean energy. Not surprisingly, in that year, Spain generated more electricity from renewables than from nuclear power.

Taxation and subsidy removal: 2010-2015

In 2010, the energy landscape suffered a setback when the government approved cuts in remuneration for renewables. This consisted of setting a ceiling on the number of production hours paid well below the actual hours. In addition, in 2012, in order to reduce the electricity deficit, a 7% tax was applied and subsidies were eliminated. Many citizens who had invested their savings were ruined, drowning in debt.

In the middle of 2015, it was clear that the incentive for renewable energies had come to a halt as a result of the energy reform. Nevertheless, renewable energy generation capacity was gradually increasing.

Coal decline and Covid crisis: 2018-2020

The turning point came in 2018 with the repeal of the sun tax, and the year 2019 saw the beginning of the decline of coal. Despite starting the year producing over 13% of the total, from the first quarter its share did not exceed 5%.

In 2020, the health crisis resulting from Covid-19 accelerated investments in renewable energies, thanks to several factors:

  • The economic incentive from government investment.
  • Lower technology costs.

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In 2021, the Climate Change and Energy Transition Act was passed. This guaranteed that prices in renewable energy auctions would be lower than those of conventional sources. In 2022, Spain continues to grow in the sector, increasing installed capacity by 9.1% compared to the previous year.

Last year, in 2023, Spain becomes one of the world leaders in renewable energies. It also became the world’s leading country in solar energy production.

By 2050, the goal is to reduce greenhouse gases by 90% and drive the energy transition towards more sustainable energy models. To this end, Magallanes Renovables is committed to tidal energy as a driver of change towards a greener future.