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Will Spain experience power blackouts this winter?

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Will Spain experience power blackouts this winter?
Will Spain experience blackouts this winter? Photo: Munir uz zaman / AFP

The ongoing energy crisis amid the war in Ukraine has caused concern and blackout alerts in some European countries this winter, including in the UK, France, Germany and Finland. But will Spain be affected by these power cuts too?


People in many European countries are waiting anxiously to find out whether these warnings hold any truth and if they will be able to heat, light their homes and cook this coming winter.

Spain has so far escaped this wave of warnings about possible power outages this winter, protected by its regasification infrastructure, which is different from the rest of Europe.


Together with Portugal, earlier this year Spain came up with an Iberian solution to limit the price of gas in the electricity market, which the EU is now thinking of adopting as well.  

Spain has six regasification plants in operation, built before the energy crisis. In January 2023 the El Musel plant, in Gijón, will also open, after years in hibernation, as a gas store for the rest of the EU.

Currently, the Spanish system has a combined capacity of 1.98 TWh/day, equivalent to 729 TWh/year, more than double the country's current annual consumption.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, said recently: "There will be no blackouts, no rationing or any of those apocalyptic scenes predicted by the creators of hoaxes." The coming months "will not be easy", but no drastic measures will be adopted and no Spanish home will lack energy "to heat, to light up and to cook this winter", assured Sánchez.

There has been a recent slowdown in gas prices, mainly due the unusually warm start to autumn, meaning less demand for gas for heating.

READ ALSO: Growing concern over unseasonal warm spell in Spain and the rest of Europe 

In October, the price of gas collapsed after months of soaring costs. The Iberian reference (Mibgas) reached close to €20 per megawatt-hour (MWh), a level not seen since before this energy crisis, compared to almost 100 at the beginning of October. 


Could Spain help other countries in Europe?

On October 25th, the European Agency of Energy Regulators (ACER) appealed for solidarity between member countries to maintain electricity and gas flows this winter and warned that "some" of them "face significant challenges that most likely will not be resolved soon."

The agency said “electricity imports could be essential for everyone” as what happened when Spain had to export gas to France earlier this year when they experienced problems with nuclear power.  

"Options to substitute natural gas are a crucial determinant of the short-term ability of the European Union to adapt to potential supply shortages," said the International Energy Agency (IEA).

The body, associated with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) talked about the "central role" of electricity in modern life: "Shortages or supply cuts have the potential to cause immense damage and cost billions of Euros a day". 

The EU called on its member countries to reduce their gas consumption by 15 percent compared to the average of the last five years, between August 2022 and March 2023, but Spain was only called on to reduce its consumption by 7 percent.

Minor blackout alerts have also been issued in Ireland, Greece, Switzerland and Norway, as well as outside Europe in the United States and Japan.  


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