Blog post

Drought forces shutdown of one of Spain’s largest hydropower plants

Content of the article

(Bloomberg) – Spain’s utility Endesa SA is set to shut down production at the country’s fifth-largest hydroelectric plant after drought conditions caused reservoir levels to drop below the minimum needed to keep it running. functioning.

Content of the article

The Mequinenza facility, located in the northeast region of Aragon, will stop operating in mid-November after water levels fell below 23% of capacity, the company said in a statement. communicated. It will be the first time the plant has stopped operating since it opened in 1966.

Content of the article

Mild temperatures are delaying the need for heating, driving down natural gas prices in Europe and giving the continent breathing space from an unprecedented energy crisis. In Spain, this weather resulted in a drier than usual autumn, according to the national meteorological agency Aemet.

See also: Daily updates on Bloomberg’s Europe Energy Crunch blog

Water-generated capacity was 6,221 gigawatt hours in the week to November 1, or 27% of the total. In October, water reservoirs globally reached their lowest level since 1995, according to calculations by Bloomberg based on data from the Ministry of Environmental Transition.

Content of the article

This has led to a sharp drop in hydroelectric generation in Spain, which fell 53% in the year to October, according to grid operator Red Electrica Corporacion SA. This decline, along with reduced production from other renewable sources such as wind, has spurred production using more polluting fuels. The production of gas-fired combined-cycle power plants increased by 41% over the same period.

If drought conditions persist, the decision to halt production could extend to plants in the neighboring region of Catalonia, where hydropower output until September was a third below the 10-year average, according to Endesa. The Mequinenza plant produced 360 gigawatt hours in September, around 67% of its average production.

—With the help of Ainhoa ​​Goyeneche.

(Adds details throughout)