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Iberdrola's renewables record 3.9% drop in global output in 2019

The San Esteban hydropower plant in Galicia. Source: Iberdrola

February 17 (Renewables Now) - Spanish power utility Iberdrola SA (BME:IBE) saw its global electricity generation from renewables go down by 3.9% year-on-year to 59,074 GWh in 2019, under pressure from underwhelming outputs from hydropower plants (HPPs), according to the company’s latest provisional production data.

The impact of hydro was felt in varying degrees in Spain, Brazil and the US throughout the year.

Iberdrola’s large HPP output in Spain plunged by 33.2%, while production from mini-hydro slipped 7.8% in 2019. At the end of December, Iberdrola’s reservoirs in Spain filled to 55.9% of the capacity, compared to the end of the third quarter when they were at 34.1% full.

The overall renewables production at home was down by 14.6% to 22,191 GWh, with only onshore wind showing signs of output growth.

In the fourth quarter, global power production from renewables stood at 16,316 GWh, up by 10.4%, as hydro improved just slightly in year-on-year terms, while other technologies increased their outputs.

A summary of Iberdrola’s provisional 2019 power report is presented below:

Technology: Q4 2019 Full-year 2019 Installed capacity December 2019 (MW) Installed capacity December 2018 (MW)
GWh Y/Y change GWh Y/Y change
Onshore wind 10,688 13% 37,216 2.4% 16,787 15,569
Offshore wind 719 28.4% 2,211 34.7% 964 544
Hydro 4,588 0.3% 17,941 -20.0% 12,864 12,252
Mini hydro 108 -0.4% 618 -7.8% 306 303
Solar and other 214 155.3% 1,088 158.5% 1,018* 529
Total renewables: 16,316 10.4% 59,074 -3.9% 31,939 29,198

* Capacity given in DC

In the UK, where the company sold its traditional generation assets, total renewables production was down by 9.8% for the full year, and by 11% in the fourth quarter, due to lower outputs from onshore wind farms.

Onshore wind farms also under-performed in Mexico and Brazil over the year and in the final quarter. In Mexico, onshore wind output was down 13.9% for the year and by 4.5% in the fourth quarter. The total production growth was ensured by renewables classified as solar and other.

Output from Brazilian onshore wind farms declined by 6% for the full year and by 4% in the fourth quarter, which was further impacted by a 21.4% drop in HPP generation.

In the US, renewables increased generation by 1.3% between January and December, and by 11.2% in the fourth quarter alone, thanks to onshore wind farms, while at the same time HPP output dropped significantly in both time frames.

In markets formerly known as the Rest of the World, generation from renewables increased by 22.3% for the year, driven by onshore and particularly offshore wind farms. In the fourth quarter, onshore wind farm production declined by 2.2%, while offshore wind stayed on the growth path to record a 4.8% increase.

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Sladjana has significant experience as a Spain-focused business news reporter and is now diving deeper into the global renewable energy industry. She is the person to seek if you need information about Latin American renewables and the Spanish market.

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