Red Eléctrica publishes the 'Spanish Electricity System Report 2016'
  • National electricity demand continued its growth trend for the second consecutive year, increasing by 0.7% with respect to 2015.
  • For the first time since 2003, Spain closes the year with an import balance of 7,660 GWh with its neighbouring countries.

Red Eléctrica de España has today published the ‘Spanish Electricity System Report’ for 2016, which includes the most significant data regarding the activity of the system in a year in which the demand for electricity has continued its growth trend for the second consecutive year reaching 265,009 GWh and closing the year with an increase of 0.7% compared to 2015.

In the peninsular system, which represents just over 94% of total Spanish demand, the growth of annual electricity consumption was 0.6% higher than in 2015. The Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands and Ceuta systems also registered an increase in demand with respect to the previous year, of 0.6%, 1.2% and 2.6%, respectively; while the Melilla electricity system fell by 2.4% compared to 2015.

By regions, the demand for electricity showed a general increase in all the autonomous communities, except in Catalonia, the Basque Country, Cantabria and Melilla.

The maximum peak of instantaneous power in the Spanish peninsular system was registered for the first time ever in the summer period, specifically on 6 September at 1:32 pm with a total of 40,489 MW, only 0.6% below the previous maximum value recorded in February 2015, but still far from the all-time high of 45,450 MW registered in 2007.

Consumption of large companies

The Red Eléctrica Index (IRE), which reflects the evolution of the electricity consumption of large companies, registered a negative variation of 0.8% compared to 2015, after having factored in seasonal and working patterns.

By sector, the industrial IRE, which represents about 30% of demand, showed a decrease of 0.9%, while the services sector IRE, which represents about 13%, declined by 1.1%, after having factored in seasonal and working patterns.

Electrical energy generation

Renewable production has maintained a prominent role in the generation mix of the peninsular electricity system, reaching 40.8% of the total, a higher share than that registered in 2015, which reached 36.9%. This was mainly due to the 25.5% increase in hydroelectric generation and the decrease in coal-fired generation, which was 30.9% lower than in 2015.

This increase in the renewable share in the generation mix of the Spanish peninsula means that, at a national level, CO2 emissions resulting from electricity generation decreased, reaching their lowest level of the last ten years,

Specifically, the level of emissions from electricity generation stood at 63.5 million tonnes, 18.3% below the 2015 level, and 43.1% lower than in 2007.

Nuclear, with a 22.9% share of the production, was the number one generation technology in 2016, followed by wind (19.3%) hydro (14.6%) and coal (14.4%), while the remaining 28.8% of generation was distributed between combined cycles (10.5%), cogeneration (10.4%), solar (5.2%) and others (waste and other renewables, 2.7%), with values ​​similar to those of the previous year.

Installed power capacity in Spain

As at 31 December 2016, the Spanish electricity system had an installed power capacity of 105,279 MW, 0.8% lower than in 2015. This decrease was mainly due to the decommissioning of five coal-fired facilities, totalling 932.2 MW, and their removal from the generation market, representing an 8.5% decline in the installed coal-fired capacity compared to the previous year.

674 kilometres of new line

During 2016, 674 kilometres of line were commissioned. With this, at the end of the year the infrastructure of the Spanish transmission grid stood at 43,800 km of circuit and 5,609 substation bays. On the other hand, transformer capacity reached 85,144 MVA.

The transmission grid availability rate on the Spanish Peninsula reached 98.33%, and in the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands, the rate was 96.93% and 98.07% respectively.

International exchanges

The volume of energy traded through the exchange programmes with other countries stood at 33,032 GWh, 41.7% higher than in 2015. Exports totalled 12,686 GWh, 8.2% more than the previous year, and imports reached 20,346 GWh, 75.7% more than in 2015. The net balance was as an importer with 7,660 GWh, which represents the first import balance since 2003.


The Spanish Electricity System Report 2016 (Spanish version) can be consulted on the Red Eléctrica website.


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