MADRID – Some regions in Spain produce up to 500% more energy than they consume and others are almost completely dependent on production from elsewhere. However, electricity consumption has increased in all Spanish regions.
It seems so obvious that when we press the switch the light comes on, the washing machine starts running or you can snuggle in front of the TV. But have you ever considered where all that electricity comes from?
The overall increase in electricity consumption
The annual report of the Red Eléctrica, the manager of the Spanish electricity grid, shows that in 2021 the electricity consumption was 256,482 Gwh (1 Gwh = 1 million kWh). This is 2.6% more than in 2020 but still less than before the Corona pandemic. Except for Ceuta and Melilla, consumption has increased in all autonomous regions. However, there are remarkable differences between the regions between consumption and production.
Regions where more energy is consumed than produced
In this regard, the Madrid region should certainly be mentioned. Only 4.9% of what is consumed is produced here. Other regions with more consumption than production, but with significantly less skewed proportions, are Cantabria with 42.3%, the Basque Country with 42.9% and Valencia with 66.7%.
More production from consumption
We see the complete opposite in Extremadura. This is because 487.7% of the electricity consumption is produced here. This region is also a frontrunner in the national production of solar energy. This applies both to the installed capacity of the solar panels and to the production of solar energy. In addition, they also use the electricity produced by the nuclear power stations of Almaraz and Trillo (Cáceres).
Castile and Léon is the second region to produce more energy than it consumes. In 2021 this ratio was 198%. In addition, this region is a leader in Spain in the generation of wind energy.
Other regions that produce more than consume are Castile La Mancha, Aragon, Navarra, Galicia, La Rioja and Asturias. The Canary Islands, Ceuta and Melilla produce exactly the amount they consume. For Murcia, this coverage ratio is 99.1%.
Sky-high energy price
The energy market price in 2021 is 118.65 euros per MWh, the highest in history. This is a whopping 70.6% higher than the previous highest price, which dates back to 2008. It is almost three times the average price in 2020 and doubles the average price between 2017 and 2019. One of the reasons for this is the uncertain geopolitical situation created by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last February.
Europe urgently needs to cut ties with the Kremlin and Brussels has ordered Spain to cut 7% of its energy consumption. That is why the Spanish government has introduced energy-saving measures by Royal Decree.
For example, the lights must be turned off after ten o’clock in the evening in shop windows and in public buildings that are not in use. In addition, a minimum temperature of 19 and a maximum of 27 degrees applies to government buildings, shopping centres, cultural institutions, communal areas of hotels, cinemas and public transport stations. Working from home is also encouraged and travel by public transport is offered at a discount or even free of charge.
Resistance to these measures
These measures have led to resistance in some regions. Some regional heads of the Energy, Industry and Trade organisations do not want to adhere to the guidelines mentioned. In this context, the Ministers Ribera for Ecological Transition and Demography and Maroto for Industry, Trade and Tourism and State Secretary Agesen for Energy will try to smooth these matters out with them. This is especially true for the regions that produce the least energy, such as Galicia, Andalucia and the Madrid region.
National and regional competences
However, by Article 149 of the Constitution, it seems that eventually, all autonomous communities will sooner or later have to comply with the provisions of the Royal Decree. In addition, another royal decree provides that the National Commission for Markets and Competition decides on an appropriate procedure in case of disputes. The final decision on these disputes must be made by the state government.