IBERDROLA in 2005 sold 35% more electricity than it produced to its customers on the Spanish regulated and deregulated markets. The company closed the year with a 25.6% share of the electricity generation market, compared to a 40% share in distribution and 37% in supply.
These figures reveal the need for IBERDROLA to continue expanding its generation assets in order to meet the growing electricity demands of its customers (4.4% higher in 2005). According to provisional estimates, the utility generated some 63,557 GWh in Spain, slightly less than in 2004.
This is in spite of the heavy investments made by the company in recent years. It should be noted that between 2001 and 2005, IBERDROLA invested some 6.3 billion euros in generation, almost half of all its investments during the period. The utility’s generation deficit would be much greater had it not undertaken these investments.
By virtue of this strategy, IBERDROLA has commissioned some 8,600 MW of capacity using clean energies: 4,800 MW managed in combined cycle facilities (+1,200 MW in 2005) and 3,800 MW in renewable energies (+600 MW), mainly wind farms, which have helped to balance its generation mix.
In fact, for the first time in history, the company produced more under the Special Regime, boosted by wind energy, than in its hydro plants. Its output in wind energy (6,471 GWh), mini hydros (569 GWh) and cogeneration (1,460 GWh) totalled 8,500 GWh in 2005, compared to 7,651 GWh contributed by the hydro facilities.
It should also be noted that almost half of IBERDROLA ’s hydro generation was produced last year by pumping plants, with a very high cost, since they have to buy the energy required for pumping at the price of a coal-fired plant, including the price of CO2, but which have been used by the company to guarantee the electricity supply.
Combined cycle plants continued increasing their output, to 13,820 GWh, 60.4% more than in 2004. This technology now accounts for 25.1% of IBERDROLA’s Spanish mix under the Ordinary Regime.
The output of IBERDROLA’s coal-fired plants dropped 1.6% to 6,944 GWh and now represent only 12.6% of said mix. These figures contrast with the general trend within the Spanish electricity sector in 2005, which raised its overall generation by coal-fired plants above the sum total of hydro and nuclear generation.
Coal-fired plants, which are now largely depreciated, contributed some 81,313 GWh to the Spanish electricity system last year, 30.3% of the total, compared with 57,539 GWh produced by nuclear plants (-9.5%) and 19,442 in hydro (-34.7%). This caused a sharp rise in CO2 emissions, rekindling the debate as to whether or not electricity facilities should receive free emission allowances.