Surge in renewables output slashes power prices in Spain and Portugal

The cityscape of Lison, Portugal
Lisbon, Portugal. Photo: Dreamstime

Wholesale power prices on the Iberian Peninsula have plunged well below the rest of Europe amid a surge in generation from renewable technologies, according to data collated by Ember.

In March, prices dipped to just €19.26 per megawatt hour (MWh) in Portugal as renewables covered 91% of the country’s electricity needs, while in neighbouring Spain, prices averaged €20.28/MWh and the share of renewables stood at 68% — a monthly record.

For context, Sweden had the third-lowest power prices in the EU, at €52.70/MWh — more than double the rates in both Portugal and Spain. Renewables (68%) and nuclear (32%) met all of Sweden’s electricity requirements.

Italy, which sourced 41% of its electricity from fossil gas, had the highest wholesale prices (€88.85/MWh).

In mid-March, Portugal’s grid operator Redes Energéticas Nacionais (REN) said record wind, solar and hydro output levels “confirm that Portugal has maintained a sustainable trajectory in the gradual incorporation of endogenous renewable sources, while maintaining the primary objectives of supply security and service quality.”

The country plans to get to 92% renewable electricity on an annual basis by 2030.

Yes, but: The slump in power prices is making life tough for Spain’s low-carbon nuclear reactors, which are struggling to compete, Bloomberg reports.


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