Gas reserves in Spain soar for the winter: they are at 83% and will increase in a few days

Our country, in addition to a gas pipeline with Algeria, has the largest network of liquefied gas (LNG) regasification plants in Europe.

Enagas facilities.

Natural gas has unwittingly become the media star of recent months. And with the arrival of winter in the Northern Hemisphere it will be even more protagonist. The European Union has not yet completed its gas warehouses and the average stands at 77.07%, according to updated data from Gas Infrastructure Europe (GIE).

However, the situation in Spain is very different. Not only has 83% of bookings been reached, according to EnagasRather, it has the largest network of liquefied natural gas (LNG) regasification plants in Europe.

“The average expenditure on a not very cold winter day is 1 TWh“, Sources from the gas sector explain to EL ESPAÑOL-Invertia,”and there are already average stocks of between 43 TWh and 45 TWh, 83% of the total, with which it could be said that if the supply fails, the country’s needs could be covered for more than 40 days ”.

But that is today. “In the coming weeks, gas will continue to be injected into underground storage facilities until reaching almost the technical maximum, almost 100%, as in other years, as well as in the plants as the gas they already have is used.” The same sources acknowledge that other years, at this time, “it has reached 90%, but with the additional ‘slots’ much more gas is arriving, and we have more than other neighboring countries ”.

Experience and logic suggest that it is quite unlikely that Spain will stop receiving gas for more than a month, so all experts agree that it makes no sense to talk about electrical blackouts or lack of supply for heating. “Homework has been done well here,” they say.

Lack of electricity

The gas is the fuel of combined cycles, that have a high participation in the electricity mix. In fact, so far this year, it is the third largest contributor (14.9%) after wind (22.2%) and nuclear (21.7%), according to the latest REE report.

But during the summer months, the lack of wind on the one hand, and the still scarce photovoltaic capacity installed in the country, makes their participation more necessary. For example, only in September, it was 24%, above the nuclear (23.7%) and wind (15.4%).

Generation structure of the peninsular electricity system.  REE font

Generation structure of the peninsular electricity system. REE font
Laura Ojea

If there were no gas supply, the cycles could not be turned on and more electricity was needed than demanded, first there would not be a generalized blackout, but instead 100% of the demand could not be covered. And second, there is an operation protocol for the electrical system in the event of supply failures due to different causes.

Article 4.4 states that “the system operator, Red Eléctrica (REE), in the event of special situations, such as events of public interest, adverse weather conditions, etc., will take the necessary measures to guarantee security of supply, applying, if considers it necessary, strict criteria ”.

More capacity than demand

All in all, the Spanish mainland electricity system has a “high level of coverage” and its generation capacity – with more than 107 GW of installed power (107,088 MW) – more than doubles any peak in demand that has occurred so far. .

For example, the historical maximum in Spain reached an instantaneous power of 45,450 MW. This was the December 17, 2007 at 6:53 p.m. And the maximum registered this year reached an instantaneous power of 42,225 MW, taking place on January 8 at 2:05 p.m.

In addition, REE ensures that the “resilience” of the Spanish electricity system has been “demonstrated on numerous occasions”. For this he gives an example of the storm of ‘Filomena’ from the beginning of January of this year. “The Spanish electricity system was not compromised and guaranteed the electricity supply,” he says.

The problem is in Europe

The fear of blackouts has originated from the cold continental countries of Central Europe, specifically Germany and Austria.

According to GIE, the two Germanic countries have something to worry about. Austria faces a meager 56.15% of gas storage in its tanks, and Germany a little more, at 71.15%.

And not all countries are as dependent on gas as they are. France is calm with an electrical mix in which 75% are nuclear, and Poland it still burns more coal than any other fuel. At present, the mix Polish comes from 80% of coal and natural gas still constitutes a small portion (14%).

Other countries that are in line with Spain are Denmark (81.71%), Czech Republic (86.32%) or Italy (87.52%). But not only do you have to look at the filling percentage of their warehouses, you also have to see how much capacity they have, the configuration of their mix and the size of their population.

The only one who has achieved his goals is United Kingdom, highly dependent on gas, but with 100% warehouses.