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The gas consumption of electric companies will sink 22% after the records of 2022

Date: March 28, 2023 Time: 08:25:07

The demand for natural gas for electricity generation will be again this year. Enagás, operator of the Spanish gas system, calculates that it plummets 22% compared to the previous year, to 109 terawatt hours (TWh). The drop will occur after the record figures of 2022 motivated by the greater export of light to France (with a large part of its nuclear park stopped) and the lower participation in the mix of renewables.

This was stated this Tuesday by the CEO of the company, Arturo Gonzalo Aizpiri, in a conference with analysts to present the Enagás income statement for 2022. It must be remembered that we have left behind a year in which gas plants operated at full capacity and were the first electricity production technology in the country, accounting for 24.7% of the mix. In total, they generated some 68,138 GWh, 53% more than in 2021, surpassing nuclear and wind power by 12,154 and 6,962 GWh, respectively. In summer there was the perfect storm: heat wave, lack of wind and water and a greater export to the Gallic country.

In this context, the demand for natural gas for electricity generation reached its historical record on July 13, with 803.8 gigawatt hours (GWh), and surpassing the 770 GWh of June 16 and the 764 GWh of June 15. To get an idea, in Spain 8,710 GWh of electricity were generated by gas in July, a figure not recorded to date, while in August they also exceeded 8,000 GWh. This will mean that the combined cycles will burn gas like never before and that CO2 emissions from the electrical system will increase last year after reaching a minimum in 2021, despite the recovery in demand after covid-19.

In this way, 2022 ended with a demand for natural gas by electricity companies of 138,037 GWh, which translates into an increase of 52.7% compared to the previous course and the highest value since 2010. On the contrary, Enagás forecasts that conventional demand will increase this year, aimed at consumption by households, businesses and industries, mainly due to the recovery of activity in the latter. The company forecasts point to a demand of 251 TWh, which will mean a year-on-year increase of 11%, although well below the levels registered since 2019. Adding conventional demand and the electricity sector, consumption will be around 360 TWh, 1.5% less than in 2022.

Government plan

Under the More Energy Security (+SE) plan, presented by the Government in October last year, Spain has reduced its demand for natural gas by 22% without considering exports, which increases to 24% when taking into account the balance importer of the preceding five years. The accumulated demand for electricity, for its part, has fallen by 7.5%, equivalent to 20 days of gas consumption, according to the Ministry for Ecological Transition. Of the 73 measures contained in the plan, a total of 47 have already been implemented or will be implemented shortly, and several more, in the medium and long term, have already begun their development.

“Spain is acting in solidarity with the rest of the EU, making it easier to cover the energy demand of France and Portugal, mainly. Since August 1, electricity exports to France, which has a very relevant part of its nuclear park inoperative, add up to 7.6 TWh, compared to average imports of 2.8 TWh in the same period of the last five years In the case of Portugal, whose hydroelectric generation is greatly reduced by drought, exports have multiplied by five , reaching 2.4 TWh”, they stress from the department headed by Teresa Ribera.

For their part, the Twenty-seven reached an agreement last summer to reduce gas consumption by 15% until spring in the face of a possible cut in supply by Russia, although Spain may apply a 6.4% drop. This exception is included in the text of the regulation (save gas for a safe winter) which specifies that EU countries that have infrastructures that allow gas to be transferred can act in this way. According to the Energy Commissioner, Kadri Simson, at the International Renewable Energy Conference in Spain (SPIREC) held in Madrid, the EU cut gas consumption by 19% between August 2022 and January this year.

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.

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