A recent study examining the macroeconomic impact of the renewable energy sector has revealed that in 2022, renewable energy contributed significantly to Spain's GDP, accounting for 1.65% and injecting EUR 19.48 billion (USD 20.8 billion) into the country's economy.
The study, commissioned by the Spanish Association of Renewable Energy Companies (APPA) and conducted by Deloitte, highlighted a remarkable 16.8% year-on-year growth in the sector, effectively doubling its contribution from six years ago. This surge is attributed to an increase in renewable energy installations and elevated energy sales prices.
The backbone of these impressive figures lies in the dominance of two key technologies within the sector: wind and solar photovoltaic. Together, they contributed a substantial 73% to the total direct economic impact.
Throughout 2022, Spain witnessed the deployment of 1,658 MW of new wind power, 4,611 MW of grid-scale solar capacity, and 2,649 MW of solar self-consumption systems. In contrast, solar thermal capacity expanded by 102 MW thermal. It's worth noting that Spain added no new concentrated solar power (CSP) capacity for the ninth consecutive year.
By the close of 2022, Spain boasted a total installed renewable capacity of 70,451 MW, encompassing large hydro installations, accounting for 59% of the country's power generation infrastructure. However, renewable energy sources represented 42.2% of the power production mix for the year, reflecting a 3.94% year-on-year decrease in production due to reduced hydroelectric output.
The study also unveiled other compelling statistics. Renewables played a pivotal role in lowering day-ahead market prices by EUR 10.14 billion throughout 2022, resulting in an average savings of EUR 43.10 for each megawatt-hour purchased in the electricity pool. Moreover, the increased reliance on renewables allowed Spain to avoid importing EUR 15.23 billion worth of fossil fuels and saved EUR 4.51 billion in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions rights.
However, not all aspects of the study yielded positive results. The renewable energy sector exhibited a trade deficit of EUR 2.6 billion, primarily due to the substantial deployment of gigawatt-scale solar projects. In contrast, services, wind power, and other technologies emerged as net exporters, according to the findings by APPA and Deloitte.