The streets of Pamplona, Spain, become filled with energy every July as thousands of tourists flock to the city for the famous running of the bulls. But if the Spanish company Acciona meets its goal, 100 percent of all of Spain’s energy could soon come from the city increasingly known as a hot spot for renewable energy, according to media reports Sunday.
Acciona committed roughly $68.69 million into five manufacturing facilities in 2015 to expand its production of wind turbines and achieve its goal. The company accounts for 70 percent of Spain’s renewable electricity.
“I think people are going to tell me we’re crazy, but I’m pretty sure we’ll arrive at 100 percent for one moment for sure,” Miguel Ezpeleta, director of Acciona’s control center, told Australian news channel, ABC NEWS.
At one point in November, Acciona's wind energy provided 70 percent of Spain’s electrical needs, the company said. A daytime record was reached in January, when 54 percent of Spain’s electricity use was powered by wind.
At its Pamplona control center and headquarters, large screens allow Acciona employees to zoom in on its wind turbines and determine where to place blades or if maintenance is needed. The oversight has allowed employees to predict and forecast wind patterns to get the most amount of energy production possible. Wind is unpredictable, but on any given day the 9,500 state-of-the-art wind turbines controlled by Acciona generate enough energy to power more than 29 million homes.
Without having oil or gas and very little coal, the Spanish government has invested heavily in wind and solar energy, becoming the first country to rely on wind as its primary source of energy in 2013. The Spanish government has seen success on the Spanish island of El Hierro in the Canary Islands, where the Gorona del Viento power plant, a $110 million wind and water turbine farm, generates all of the island’s energy needs, making it the world’s first energy independent island in 2014, NPR reported.
Spain is the fifth largest producer in the world of wind power and the third biggest exporter, according to Science X, a collection of websites with comprehensive scientific date. About 17.4 percent of Spain’s energy comes from renewable sources currently, just short of a European Union target.
In contrast, the U.S. produced nine percent of its energy with renewable sources in 2013, and wind accounted for only 15 percent of that, according to the Institute for Energy Research, a Washington D.C.-based non-profit organization that conducts research on global energy markets.