Red Eléctrica de España today published the 'Spanish Electricity System Report 2012', whose most significant aspects are: the decline in demand to 2006 levels; the increase of renewable energy such as wind power and the fall in hydroelectric generation; the commissioning of 860 kilometres of new transmission lines; the growth in installed renewable power capacity, and the net exporter balance for the ninth consecutive year.
National demand for electrical energy in Spain in 2012 reached 266,849 GWh, 1.4% lower than in 2011, which represents an accumulated decrease of 5.1% over the last 4 years.
With regard to the Spanish peninsula, the demand for electrical energy in 2012 stood at 251,710 GWh, 1.5% lower than in 2011, owing to a continual decrease throughout every month of the year. After factoring in the effects of seasonal and working patterns, a fall of 2% was registered.
Demand for electrical energy in the extra-peninsular systems (Balearic Islands, Canary Islands, Ceuta and Melilla) as a whole, grew 0.7% with respect to the previous year, representing a slight improvement after three consecutive years of decreases. The growth by systems was: Balearic Islands 1.3%, Canary Islands 0.2%, Ceuta 4.5% and Melilla 1.1%.
For yet another year, renewable energies such as wind energy continued to grow, although its contribution to demand coverage, 31.8%, is lower than previous years due to the sharp decline in hydroelectric generation, which fell from 11.5% of the demand in 2011 to 7.7% in 2012.
Increases were also recorded regarding the contribution of coal, which reached 19.3% compared to 15.4% in 2011, and that of nuclear generation, 22.1% versus 21% the previous year. On the other hand, the contribution of combined cycle generation fell to 14.1% compared to 18.8% in 2011.
The increase in generation using coal represented an upturn of CO2 emissions, which totalled 80 million tonnes, 10% higher than 2011.
The balance of international electricity exchanges was as exporter, and was covered with 4.2% of the total peninsular generation. Additionally, in August 2012, the exchange of electrical energy between the electricity system on the peninsula and that of the Balearic Islands commenced, registering a transfer of electricity to the latter of 570 GWh, enabling 9.8% of the annual demand of the Balearic Islands? system to be covered.
860 kilometres of new line
During 2012, 860 km of new transmission lines were put in service, meaning that at the end of the year the national transmission grid totalled 41,369 km of circuit.
The availability rate of the grid elements on the Spanish peninsula reached 97.79%, slightly higher than the 97.73% registered in 2011. In the Balearic Islands and Canary Islands, the availability rate was 98.07% and 98.83% respectively.
Installed renewable power capacity increases
In 2012, the total installed power capacity of the set of generation stations increased by 2.4% over the previous year, reaching 101,828 MW. A total of 3,080 MW of renewable energy was installed, and two coal stations and one of gas-fuel station, with a combined power capacity of 686 MW, were decommissioned.
With the increase in power from new facilities that use renewable sources, this technology reached 46% of the installed power capacity on the Spanish peninsula, two points higher than the previous year.
As for special regime, its production increased by 10.2% in 2012 and represented 38% of total energy production.
Scheduled international exchanges amounted to 23,731 GWh, which represented an increase of 29.2% over 2011. Exports rose to 17,459 GWh (42.7% more than the previous year), while imports stood at 6,272 GWh (2.3% more than the previous year).
For the ninth consecutive year, the balance of electricity exchange programmes was that of exporter, reaching in 2012 a value of 11,187 GWh, a figure which represents a growth of 83.5% compared to 2011.