In an event held today at the Spanish Energy Club
José Folgado presents the key data regarding the Spanish electricity system and renewable energy in 2017
  • National electricity demand continues to grow for the third consecutive year and has increased 1.1% year-on-year
  • Renewables have experienced a decrease due to the fall in hydroelectric production, which is offset by the increase in thermal generation (combined cycle and coal)

In Madrid today, the Chairman of Red Eléctrica, José Folgado, and the President of the Spanish Energy Club, Miguel Antoñanzas, presented the following reports: ‘The Spanish Electricity System 2017’ and ‘Renewable Energy in the Spanish Electricity System 2017’, two annual publications prepared by Red Eléctrica that include the most significant information on the behaviour of the electricity system and key data regarding renewable energy, respectively.

In his speech, Mr. Folgado stressed that the report on the Spanish electricity system is pioneering in the world and unique in its category, having been published annually since the Company was founded in 1985. Both this report and the report on renewable energy contain highly-detailed information that assists both Red Eléctrica and industry agents in carrying out their work more efficiently. In fact, this report registers one million visits annually through the Red Eléctrica website. In addition, Mr. Folgado said that digital transformation and the use of the latest IT technologies have allowed the data contained in the reports to be processed and presented more effectively. Technology is also a fundamental pillar in the management of renewable energy, as it enables this type of energy to be harnessed and its use optimised in a context in which there are few interconnections with the rest of Europe.

According to data presented today, 2017 closed with an electricity demand in Spain of 268,140 GWh, 1.1% more than in the previous year; an indicator which has shown growth for the third consecutive year. After factoring in the seasonal and working patterns, the national demand for electricity grew 1.6% more in 2017 than in the previous year.

In the peninsular system, which accounts for just over 94% of total Spanish demand, the annual electricity consumption was also up 1.1% on 2016. After factoring in the seasonal and working patterns, this increase stood at 1.6%. Electricity demand grew in 2017 in most of the autonomous communities, noteworthy were the increases in excess of 3% in Cantabria, Murcia and the Balearic Islands.

In 2017, the electricity consumption of large consumers in Spain was 1.9% higher than the previous year, according to data from the Red Eléctrica Index which is included in these reports. Compared to 2016, the industrial sector grew by 2% while the services sector grew by 0.4%.

The moment of greatest demand for electricity in 2017 took place on 18 January at 7:50 pm, registering a total of 41,381 MW, a figure that exceeds by 2.2% the 2016 maximum value registered in September, but far from the all-time high of 45,450 MW registered in December 2007.

Electrical energy generation

96.4% of electricity demand on the Spanish peninsula in 2017 was covered by national production, while the remaining 3.6% came from imports from other countries. 2017 is the second consecutive year in which a situation of net import of electricity generation is registered.

With regard to electricity generation on the peninsula, renewable energy, conditioned by a notable decrease in hydroelectric production (a decrease of 49.1% compared to the previous year) in a particularly dry year compared to the rainfall situation registered in the first few months of 2018, has reduced its share in the whole of the peninsular generation mix to its lowest value of the last five years (33.7% compared to 40.3% in 2016). This fall in renewables has led to an increase in the share of thermal generation, mainly combined-cycle and coal-fired; and, consequently, CO2 emissions have increased by 17.9% year-on-year.

Nearly half of the installed power capacity is renewable

The installed power capacity of the entire set of generation facilities in Spain fell by 0.5% in 2017 compared to the previous year and stood at 104,122 MW. This decrease, which occurs for the second consecutive year, is mainly due to the final closure of the 455 MW Santa Maria de Garoña nuclear power station. Thus, 46.3% of the installed power capacity in our country corresponds to renewable energy and 53.7% to non-renewable technologies.

By autonomous community, Castilla y León, Galicia, Andalusia and Castilla-La Mancha are the regions in which more than half of the installed renewable power capacity of the national electricity system is concentrated. In fact, more than 70% of the installed power capacity in Castilla y León and Castilla-La Mancha is of renewable origin.

By technology, Castilla y León is the region with the most installed power capacity regarding wind (more than 24%) and hydro (nearly 26%); Castilla-La Mancha is the region with more solar photovoltaic (almost 20%), and Andalusia leads solar thermal followed by Extremadura, between the two regions they account for 80% of the total installed power capacity of this technology.

In terms of generation, in six autonomous communities more than 40% of the annual production was of renewable origin. Castilla y León and Navarra with 64% and 61%, respectively, are at the top of the list.

In comparison with the rest of the European countries, in 2017 Spain ranked in sixth position in volume of renewable generation.

Electricity transmission grid

In 2017, 147 kilometres of new line and 108 new substation bays were commissioned, and transformer capacity was increased by 1,210 megavolt-ampere (MVA). With this, at the end of the year the infrastructure of the Spanish transmission grid stood at 43,930 km of line, 5,719 substation bays and a transformer capacity of 86,654 MVA.

The publications: The Spanish Electricity System 2017 and Renewable Energy in the Spanish Electricity System 2017 are supplemented with data files that can be downloaded in various formats and which can be found, together with other publications and statistical series, at


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