2010 marked the recovery of the demand for electricity, which grew 2.9% compared to 2009 and was in line with the improvement in the economic activity in Spain.
With regard to energy generation, the most notable aspect was the increase in the production of electricity originating from renewable sources, in part due to the substantial rainfall registered in 2010. The renewable energies covered 35.4% of the demand in 2010, seven points higher than 2009.
In 2010, the demand for electrical energy on the Spanish peninsula was 260,609 GWh, which represents a 2.9% growth with regard to 2009 and breaks the downward trend in consumption that characterised that year. The gross demand in 2010, prior to factoring in the effects of seasonal and working patterns, grew 3.3%.
The increase in demand in 2010 is in line with the average of those countries of the European Union which are members of the Continental Europe of ENTSO-E (association that brings together European TSOs: operators and owners of the transmission grids of the European electricity systems).
The annual demand for electrical energy in the extra-peninsular systems (Balearic Islands, Canary Islands, Ceuta and Melilla) as a whole fell 2.2% compared to 2009, being the second consecutive year in which a fall was registered. However, the behaviour of the demand curve showed inequalities: in the Balearic Islands, the fall was 2.5% and in the Canary Islands it was 2.3%, while Ceuta and Melilla registered growths in consumption of 2.8% and 3.6% respectively.
Two new historical summer maximum records, instantaneous power and hourly demand, were registered in 2010. On 19 July, 41,318 MW of instantaneous power was recorded at 1:26 pm and an average hourly power of 40,934 MW was reached between 1:00 pm and 2:00 pm, which is 1.6% higher than the previous record registered in July 2006.
Hydroelectric generation covers 15% of the demand
Noteworthy in 2010 was the increase in the generation mix of renewable energies that represented 35.4%, compared to 28.2% in 2009, signifying that as a whole these energies were the major source of electricity generation in 2010. This increase is mainly due to the fact that hydroelectric generation, with a growth of over 60%, covered around 15% of the total demand. Wind power generation, with a growth of 15.9%, covered 16% of the demand, which in 2009 covered 14%.
In 2010, nuclear generation also increased its contribution within the generation mix to 22% compared to 19% in 2009, whilst the contribution of combined cycle fell to 23%, six percentage points less than in 2009, and coal dropped to 7%, compared to 12% the previous year.
The increase in the generation mix of clean energies (nuclear and renewable) contributed to reduce CO2 emissions to 58 million tonnes, 21% less than in 2009.
For the seventh consecutive year, the balance of international exchanges has been that of exporter, and represented 3% of the total generation.
More than 800 km of new line
In 2010 the transmission grid increased by 839.1 km, of which 749.3 correspond to 400 kV lines, which means that at the end of the year the entire Spanish peninsula electricity transmission grid had circuits totalling 35,875 km.
The availability rate of the transmission grid facilities reached 97.95%, a value slightly below that of 2009 which was 98.07%. However, the average time of interruption was 3.17 minutes, substantially lower than the reference value of 15 minutes, which clearly highlights the high quality of the service.
Installed power increases 4.7%
In 2010 the installed power in generation facilities of the electricity system on the Spanish peninsula increased by 4,482 MW, representing a growth in the total capacity of the system of 4.7% compared to the previous year. This growth raises the capacity of the system to 99,043 MW, of which almost half corresponds to renewable sources.
The increase in capacity mainly comes from the new combined cycle generation plants which rose by 2,170 MW and from renewable technologies which grew by nearly 2,000 MW, of which more than half comes from wind farms. The installed capacity of this generation source is 20,057 MW which means it is the second technology with highest installed capacity, representing 20% of the total power on the Spanish peninsula.
The solar technologies also increased reaching 4,140 MW, although it only represents 4% of the total capacity on the peninsula.
The generation mix on the Spanish peninsula in 2010 was marked by a slight fall in the generation coming from the ordinary regime, 0.9% less than in 2009, and an increase of 13.1% in the special regime.
The evolution of the generation obtained from the different ordinary regime technologies was not uniform. Hydroelectric power in 2010 was the highest since 2003, with 38,653 GWh, 62% higher than in 2009. As 2010 was a very wet year this enabled producible hydroelectric power to reach 36,174 GWh, the highest level in the last 14 years and 29% above the average historical value.
Nuclear generation grew 17.5% with regard to 2009, representing 32.8% of the total production from the ordinary regime, five percentage points up on the previous year.
In 2010, combined cycle generation fell 17.5% as compared to 2009, although it continued to be the leading technology within the gross generation mix from the ordinary regime.
There were reductions in 2010 in the production coming from the coal and fuel-gas groups of 34.7% and 12.4%, respectively.
As for the special regime, it increased its production by 13.1% in 2010, primarily due to the increase in installed power capacity.
Renewable energies of the special regime generated 61,867 GWh in 2010, 15.5% higher than in 2009. Wind power energy increased its production by 15.9% and surpassed, on several occasions, its previous maximums of instantaneous power, hourly energy and daily energy. The latest historical maximum of daily production was registered 9 November when it reached 315,258 MWh, enabling it to cover 43% of the electricity demand on that day.
Generation coming from thermoelectric solar energy registered a significant growth over the last year, increasing from 103 GWh in 2009 to 692 GWh in 2010.
In 2010, international exchanges rose to 15,558 GWh, which represents a decrease of 23.3% with respect to 2009. Of this energy, 76.8% corresponded to export operations. This established the final annual balance of the exchange schedules at 8,324 GWh and signified an increase of 2.9% compared to 2009.
In 2010, for the first time ever, the interconnection with France registered a net export balance with a value of 1,523 GWh, compared to 1,591 GWh imported in 2009. This is mainly due to a 64.6% reduction in the volume of scheduled imports with respect to 2009, and though the volume of exports also registered a fall, it was fairly moderate, 7.9% with respect to the previous year.
The interconnections with Portugal, Morocco and Andorra recorded falls of 45%, 15% and 12%, respectively.
The commercial capacity levels of utilisation of the international interconnections with Spain experienced an increase in the average use for export capacity, especially with France which registered a value of 62%. With regard to the import capacity, only the interconnections with France and Portugal were used registering an average value of 18%.