For the first time, Spain has outdistanced Germany as a producer of wind energy in Europe, although Germany still tops Spain for installed capacity, according to figures released by the Spanish Wind Energy Association.
The Asociacion Empresarial Eolica made the announcement last week, quoting statistics from the Barometer EurObserv'ER, the European Commission's observatory of renewable energies.
In 2010, Spain generated 42,976 GWh of electricity from wind energy, while Germany generated 36,500 GWh of electricity, according to the AEE. Also, wind power supplied 16.4 percent of the demand for electricity in Spain. In Germany, wind power addressed 6.2 percent of the country's electricity needs.
In its announcement, the AEE conceded that Germany continues to be the European leader for installed capacity with 27,214.7 MW as of December 31, 2010. Spain is No. 2 with 20,676 MW capacity. Nevertheless, the association said: "Having managed to produce more electricity from wind energy with fewer turbines shows the good performance of the Spanish system."
To be fair, the association also acknowledged that 2010 was a good year for wind in Spain, that Spain has lower generation costs, and since the industry is younger in Spain, the turbines there are newer.
Here are other figures from the AEE: