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Demand for electrical energy falls 1.2%

  • 1,705 km of new lines in the national transmission grid
  • On the Spanish peninsula, installed power capacity in generation facilities grew 1,879 MW. Renewable energies covered 33% of the demand 

In 2011, the gross demand for electrical energy on the Spanish peninsula was 255,179 GWh, 2.1% lower than the figure for 2010. Once the effects of seasonal and working patterns have been factored in, consumption on the Spanish peninsula showed a fall of 1.2%.

The maximum demand value for average hourly power reached 44,107 MW between 7:00 pm and 8:00 pm on 24 January, and a maximum demand value for daily energy of 884 GWh reached on 25 January.

Renewable energies covered 33% of the demand in 2011, according to provisional data. This was 3 percentage points lower than in the previous year, due mainly to the significant reduction in hydroelectric generation that this year has covered 11% of the demand, 5 points down on that of 2010.

Wind power generation maintained its share in the coverage of the demand with 16% of the total, equal to that of the previous year, despite the amount of wind recorded (wind factor), or available wind, on the Spanish peninsula being notably lower than in 2010. It ranked third amongst electricity sources after nuclear and combined-cycle, while solar (photovoltaic and thermoelectric) represented 4% of the annual demand coverage.

Historical maximum record of demand coverage with wind power energy
At 2:00 am on 6 November 2011, a new historical maximum value of demand coverage by wind power energy was recorded, reaching 59.6% (12,476 MW) breaking the previous record of 54% registered at 3:00 am on 9 November 2010. Managing this situation represented a challenge for the system operator regarding the incorporation of this amount of wind power energy to cover a low demand at this time (20,922 MW) without putting at risk the security of supply.


Annual demand coverage in 2011                              Annual demand coverage in 

(1) Does not include pumped storage generation
(2) Includes non-renewable thermal and fuel-gas

Solar energy production grows 43%
The majority of the technologies have registered falls in production with respect to the previous year, such as hydroelectric with a 28% fall, and combined-cycle with a 22% fall, while coal power stations have doubled their production with respect to 2010.

Generation using solar technology has grown 43% this year with an increase of 26% in photovoltaic and 193% in thermoelectric.

The increase in generation from coal and the lower production of other sources of clean energy have given rise to an upturn in CO2 emissions from the electricity sector that has been estimated at 73 million tonnes, 25% more than last year.

Installed power capacity grows 1,879 MW and renewable energies already reach 46%
Installed power capacity in the generating facilities in the peninsular system grew by 1,879 MW during 2011, reaching a total of 100,576 MW by year end, showing a growth of 1.9%.

93% of this growth corresponds to new renewable facilities with 997 MW for wind power and 674 MW for solar (photovoltaic and thermoelectric).

Installed power as at 31 December 2011*

(1) Includes pure pumped storage (2.747 MW). (2) Includes non-renewable thermal and fuel-gas.
* Data corresponding to the peninsular system

Extra-peninsular systems
The annual demand for electrical energy from the extra-peninsular systems as a whole grew 0.1% with respect to the previous year. In the Canary Islands demand grew 1% and 0.5% in Melilla, while the Balearic Islands and Ceuta registered a fall of 1.1% and 5.9%, respectively.

International exchanges
For an eighth consecutive year, the balance of international exchanges was as an exporter, with 6,105 GWh, although this was 27% less than in 2010. This decrease is due to the increase in imports through the interconnection with France, that have led to a change in the net exchange balance for this interconnection, compared to last year.

Balance of international exchanges 2011

Positive balance: importer, negative balance: exporter

Record for new lines in the transmission grid
1,705 km of new lines have been built during 2011, a figure that constitutes a record for commissioning for Red Eléctrica. In this way, the national transmission grid at year end has 40,233 km of circuits.