MADRID Ė Spain became Europeís leading producer of wind power last year with 42,976 gigawatt-hours, supplanting Germany in the top spot, the Spanish Wind Energy Association, or AEE, said Thursday.
Nevertheless, Germany remained Europeís leader in installed wind power capacity with 27,214 MW as of Dec. 31, 2010, followed by Spain with 20,676 MW, according to the AEE.
The association said those figures show the efficiency of the Spanish wind power system, which has achieved greater output despite a smaller number of installed wind turbines.
In both countries, growth in the wind power sector slowed last year; Germany installed 1,551 MW and Spain 1,516 MW even though the latter had high wind levels and the former did not.
AEE also noted that Spain has lower wind power generation costs because its wind farms run for longer hours, have more modern turbines than Germany and a better system for integrating renewable energy into the electricity grid.
Wind energy became Spainís leading source of electricity in March, covering 21 percent of demand and exceeding the contribution from nuclear energy (19 percent) for the first time, according to Spainís REE power-generating authority. EFE