Heat and CO₂ drive the price of electricity in Spain to the European maximum | Economy

  A pensioner checks her electricity bill.
A pensioner checks her electricity bill. VICTOR SAINZ

The price of electricity continues to rise. For today it has marked 94.63 euros per megawatt / hour (MWh) in the wholesale market for Spain and Portugal, which places it at the third highest level in history, according to data from the Iberian Electricity Market Operator (OMIE ). It has only been exceeded by the 94.99 euros MWh that it reached on January 8, during the storm Philomena and the daily historical maximum, registered on January 11, 2002, which was 103.76 euros. The 94.63 euros are the highest in the wholesale markets in Europe.

The forecast is that it may continue to rise if the heat does not lessen and because of the high prices of CO2 rights, which yesterday were around 51.3 euros / ton, and gas, which maintains a rally similar bullish. In the case of CO2, on March 1 it was at 37 euros and peaked at 57 on May 19. The impact on the wholesale price is 36% (slightly more than a third): that is, of the 94.63 euros of the MWh price, almost 18.50 euros correspond to CO2.

For its part, gas has risen 1.9% between May 29 and June 11 to 25.96 euros MWh, 0.49 euros more than the previous fortnight, according to the GasIndustrial bulletin. The supply shortage provides additional bullish support in gas prices and prevents lower demand from relaxing prices. The maximum prices have been produced in Belgium with 28.92 euros MWh, and the lowest in France with 24.67 euros MWh. It emphasizes that all hubs Europeans remain well above the crude indexed formula brent.

Consequently, in the sector it is predicted that the electricity bill for June will break down barriers. The month is on track to have the second most expensive average of all time with 88.11 euros (including taxes), according to the Facua consumer association, which also blames the new hourly rate system because “it represents by itself an increase in the price, especially to the most disadvantaged economies ”.

Facua maintains that if the prices from June 1 to 15 are extrapolated to the full month, the average user’s bill (a contracted power of 4.4 kW and a consumption of 366 kWh per month) would suffer a year-on-year increase of 27.53 euros. It would only have ahead the 88.66 euros of the first quarter of 2012. The interannual increase of these 15 days represents 45.4% more for the average user compared to June 2020, when the monthly bill stood at 60.58 euros. The average user’s bill last May was 82.13 euros.

Regarding consumption in the three time sections of the new billing system, the association has taken as a reference the current average user profile without time discrimination published by the National Commission of Markets and Competition (CNMC), according to which the 45% of electricity in off-peak hours, 29% in peak hours and 26% in flat hours.

Industry sources point out, however, that last year was atypical and the average price of MWh was 36 euros, exceptionally low compared to the average of previous years that was around 46 euros, which makes Facua’s comparison very questionable. Likewise, they emphasize that the association does not mention the increase in CO2 and that in June of last year the toll system was different from the one that came into effect this month.

The price of kW has gone from 4.30 euros per month (for a 30-day month) to 3.69 euros on average (3.21 euros during peak hours plus 0.15 euros in valley and the marketing margin of 0, 33 euros), according to Facua. The average price per kilowatt hour (kWh) from June 1 to 15 was 13.62 cents in off-peak hours (always including taxes), 18.19 cents in flat hours and 30.35 cents in peak hours. In June 2020, the average price without hourly discrimination was 11.31 cents; in June 2019, 13.78 cents. As for the average of last May, it was 17.20 cents.

If the consumption of the average user in each time slot is weighted, the average price of kWh these first 15 days of June amounts to 19.65 cents, 73.7% above the 11.31 in June 2020. The price it is approaching the historical peak of the second week of January 2021 (from 8 to 14), when it reached 20.64 cents.

The wholesale market price represents 24% of the electricity bill. It is completed with tolls (payments for transport and distribution) and charges (costs associated with the promotion of renewables, annuities of the tariff deficit and extra-peninsular ones), which represent around 55%, and taxes (21 %).

Residential prices

According to Eurostat data from 2019, which barely changed in 2020 (the pandemic made it an atypical year and it is better to use the previous year), Spain is the fifth most expensive country in residential price, with a price slightly higher than 25 cents kWh. Ahead, in the lead is Germany, with just over 30 cents. Then come Belgium, Denmark and Italy. Ireland, Portugal, Cyprus, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands complete the top 10. The European average was around 22.50 cents kWh.

The evolution of electricity prices increasingly depends on the participation of renewables in electricity generation, marking the differences between European countries. “The differences in wholesale prices between Germany and Spain lie in whether the wind blows in northern Europe or it does so on the Iberian Peninsula. Marginally, Germany is priced less because it uses coal and not gas. However, the United Kingdom uses gas longer as a marginal price and that is why it is the most expensive ”, according to Antonio Merino, director of Repsol’s Research service.

Precisely, as Merino points out, although the price of pool In 2019 it was 47.7 euros MWh, the electricity bill had to support that 37% of the electrical energy received a higher price via subsidies, equivalent to more than doubling that price. In total, renewables took 12,325 million euros, according to data from the CNMC.