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    Electricity in Spain 34% cheaper than in France

    March 19, 2023 - CE Noticias Financieras


      This morning, the Secretary of State for Energy, Sara Aagesen, provided a lot of data, all of them positive. To begin with, the national demand for natural gas has fallen almost twenty points since last August and up to February 28, compared to the consumption level of the same period in the last five years (-19%). Moreover: "considering the reduction of imports with respect to the reference period - the Ministry states - the reduction of gas demand is 21%". Electricity demand also decreased in the same period, by seven points (-7%). These reductions are largely due to the More Energy Security Plan (Plan +SE), of which 47 measures have been activated, 64% of the total. Since the beginning of August the Government - said Aagesen - has been adopting measures to meet its European commitments and on October 11 the Council of Ministers approved the Plan +SE, with three main objectives: to increase consumer protection, reduce energy consumption and strengthen solidarity with the rest of the EU, increasing gas exports directly or converted into electricity.

      The consumer protection measures have ensured that all households with gas heating have access to reduced regulated tariffs - the TURs - including those of condominiums. Households with domestic hot water and heating pay 37% less than they would without the measures adopted. Vulnerable consumers benefiting from the social bonus pay up to 76% less than before the outbreak of the war, in the first half of 2021.

      Among the measures highlighted to protect consumers, the Iberian Solution stands out, which has provided savings in the wholesale electricity market of 5,106 million euros up to February 28. Since the Solution began to be applied on June 15, wholesale prices in Spain have been 41% lower than in Italy, 34% lower than in France and 25% lower than in Italy, including the cost of the adjustment received by gas-fired plants.

      Since August 1, electricity exports to France, which has a very significant part of its nuclear fleet inoperative, totaled 8.2 terawatt hours (+8.2 TWh), compared to average imports of 3.5 terawatt hours in the same period of the last five years (-3.5 TWh); in the case of Portugal, whose hydroelectric generation is greatly reduced by the drought, exports have increased fivefold, reaching 2.5 TWh. Below, natural gas demand and electricity demand in Spain between August 2022 and February 2023, and the average for the last five years. As can be seen in the image, the production of combined cycle plants, in green (combined cycles burn gas to generate electricity) has been higher between August 22 and February 23 than in the same period of the last five years. In other words, combined cycles have generated more electricity precisely when gas was more expensive. The month of August is in this sense extraordinary. The August in which combined cycle plants have generated the most electricity in the last ten years was August 22nd. Although the demand for electricity in August 2022 has been the lowest in recent years. In fact, it is the second lowest since 2011, when in Spain there was five times less solar photovoltaic power installed (at the end of 2011 there were 4,249 megawatts of solar photovoltaic power installed in Spain; and today there are more than 20,000). The difference with the demand for gas from industry is, thus, manifest. Industry (navy blue, at the bottom of the column) has clearly reduced its demand for natural gas, given the brutal prices that gas has reached in this period (August 2022 - February 2023). As have SMEs and families (domestic), which appear in gray.


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