The wind and water give new respite to a third of Spanish households, those who have opted for the regulated electricity tariff or PVPC. The price of electricity in the wholesale market, from which these eight million consumers are fed, will continue this Sunday the trend of previous days, according to data from the Iberian Energy Market Operator (OMIE), and will average just over five euros per megawatt hour (MWh), with the entire early morning, morning and early afternoon hours at zero price. Only from 5:00 p.m., the price of electricity will leave behind the zero zone.
The milestone of zero prices for a good part of the day is by no means common. But it is not a record either: just over a decade ago, on March 29 and April 1, 2013, electricity averaged zero throughout the day. Then, as now, the wind turbines operated at almost full capacity and led to a drastic drop in the price of electricity. The maxim is clear: the more renewables there are in the system, the cheaper the bill that a good number of households pay and the lower the inflation. It is the invisible dotted line that unites meteorology and macroeconomics.
The Spanish electricity market has thus chained two days of prices below minimums: this Saturday the daily average – even lower: 1.51 euros per MWh – was the lowest since the end of January 2021. The week that is about to end It is also the cheapest on the wholesale market (and, therefore, also for those who opt for PVPC) since mid-February 2021.
This Sunday, the cheapest part of the day for those who are in the aforementioned PVPC will be between nine in the morning and five in the afternoon, when they will pay less than three cents per kilowatt hour (KWh), a quarter less than just One week before. Those who are not being able to take advantage of this sequence of low prices are the more than 20 million customers who are in the free market and who do not have an indexed rate: in their case, the price is agreed with the supply company and does not depend on what occur in the pool.
Nothing to do with the Iberian exception
The so-called Iberian exception has no impact on these values, which has been inactive since the end of February due to the sharp drop in the price of gas and the increase in the activation thresholds after the last extension approved by the European Commission. For it to come into force, the gas price must be equal to or greater than 63.9 euros per megawatt hour (MWh) today; a figure very far from the current 34 euros in the Iberian market (Mibgas).
The wind is not only flattening prices in Spain and Portugal: the rest of the continent is also experiencing historically cheap days. The fall, however, is being especially pronounced in the Peninsula, whose interconnections with the rest of Europe continue to be far below what is recommended.
Starting Monday, however, the change in weather conditions, with less wind, anticipates an increase in the cost of electricity. Hence, it is best to anticipate as much as possible all manageable consumption (the washing machine, the oven, the dishwasher, charging the electric car…). Both for economic reasons – fully charging a vehicle battery these days costs around two euros for a consumer in the regulated market, for example – and for environmental reasons: zero prices in the wholesale market are also synonymous with energy waste, because generation is greater than the sum of internal demand and exports.
Nuclear, at a minimum of 13 years
The gusts of wind and the return of water – in October, hydroelectric plants more than doubled their production compared to a year ago – are not only drastically reducing the prices and emissions of the Spanish electricity system, reducing natural gas consumption to a minimum. . They are also leading nuclear power plants to reduce their power to historically low levels: since Thursday, the seven Spanish nuclear power plants are generating less than ever since January 1, 2011, as far as the figures from Red Eléctrica de España (REE) reach. ).
A part of that drop in their contribution, which documents renewable project manager and energy expert Xavier Cugat, has to do with the fact that two of them are out of play due to reloading. But that does not explain everything at all: the other five are regulating the amount of electricity they inject into the grid to avoid wasting energy and because, at current values, the bills simply do not work out for their owners.
So far this year, renewable sources (wind, sun and water) have covered more than half of the electricity demand, as this newspaper reported at the end of October. An unprecedented number. If nuclear power is added, which also does not produce CO₂ emissions, it far exceeds 70%.
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