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Spain Enjoys Cheap Electricity Amid Record Renewable Energy Output

Spanish power prices have tumbled in February to a fraction of the price in neighboring France as record wind and solar power generation in Spain has triggered an extreme slump in prices.

Day-ahead electricity prices for Thursday settled at just $5.20 (4.80 euros) per megawatt-hour (MWh) in Spain, compared to as much as $68.86 (63.59 euros) per MWh for France, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

France relies mostly on its vast domestic nuclear power generation for most of its electricity needs and is typically a net exporter of electricity to neighboring countries.  

But as Spain’s wind and solar power generation hit new records early this year, Spain has been exporting electricity since February 21, according to grid data cited by Bloomberg. Spain is currently selling electricity even to France. 

Solar and wind power generation in Spain is expected to have hit a record high this month and high output is set to continue into March, per Bloomberg models.

Cheap power prices have hurt the profits of Spanish utilities but they have been a boon to consumers as retail prices have reflected lower wholesale electricity prices.

Last year, renewables made up 50.8% of Spain’s electricity mix, rising from a 42.2% share in 2022.

More than half of the electricity Spain now consumes comes from renewable energy sources, and total renewable generation topped 135,000 GWh last year, up from 116,695 GWh in 2022, Energy Transition Minister Teresa Ribera said in December.

Spain has made substantial investments in solar and wind capacity over the last 10 years, while hydropower, which used to be Spain's largest source of renewable energy, accounts for approximately 10% of its total generation today. 

Spain outpaced its European counterparts in the deployment of solar and wind power capacity last year, securing second position in onshore wind installations, according to Rystad Energy.

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Although Germany maintains dominance in solar and onshore wind, “Spain's trajectory in solar and wind energy exhibits remarkable growth prospects for the coming years,” Rystad Energy said.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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