Seven nuclear power plants are still in operation in Spain, but the country has now confirmed that it will phase out the use of nuclear energy by 2035. As the news agency Reuters reports, the disposal of radioactive waste and the dismantling of the nuclear power plants is estimated to cost around 20.2 billion euros. Spain is focussing on renewable energies in the future.
Spain is continuing to drive forward the transformation of the energy industry on the Iberian Peninsula. The Spanish government has now confirmed its decision to phase out nuclear energy. The current nuclear power plants will be shut down from 2027. Instead, Spain wants to establish an electricity system consisting of 100 per cent renewable energies by 2050.
Spain still operates seven nuclear power plants – shutdown plan starts in 2027
The Spanish nuclear phase-out has been decided and, according to the daily newspaper El Pais, will begin with the closure of unit 1 of the Almaraz nuclear power plant (1,049 MW gross capacity) in November 2027, followed by unit 2 in October 2028. The other closures concern the two nuclear power plant units at the Asco site in eastern Spain, each with a gross output of just over 1,000 MW. This will be followed by the Cofrentes nuclear power plant (1,100 MW), unit 2 of the Vandellos nuclear power plant (1,087 MW) and finally the newest Trillo nuclear power plant (1988) with a capacity of (1,066 MW) in 2035. The shutdown will then always follow the plan agreed between the government and the electricity companies.
Expansion of renewable energies to be accelerated by 2030
Meanwhile, the Spanish government is consistently planning the further expansion of renewable energies. By 2030, wind energy is to increase from 50 GW (old plan) to 62 GW of wind power capacity, while photovoltaics will double from 38 GW to 76 GW of solar power.
Furthermore, the Spanish Ministry for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge (Miteco) has approved a total of 150 million euros to support 36 storage projects in connection with plants for generating electricity from renewable energies (primarily photovoltaics and wind energy).
These selected storage projects have a total capacity of almost 1 GW and contribute to the goal of the PNIEC draft update (Plan Nacional Integrado de Energía y Clima, PNIEC) of achieving a total storage capacity of 22 GW by 2030. The projects are spread across nine autonomous regions, with Castilla-La Mancha and Extremadura being the areas with the largest capacity (632.4 MW) and the highest percentage of aid (95.4 million euros), according to the ministry.
Spain’s Miteco sees electricity storage as a key technology for ensuring an electricity system consisting of 100 per cent renewable energies by 2050. By the end of 2023, almost 51 per cent of the electricity generated in Spain will already come from renewable energies, the Spanish ministry added.