Spain sees record gas demand for electricity for second day

Band Isla Binnie

MADRID, June 17 (Reuters)Spanish power plants bought more natural gas to generate electricity on Thursday than on any other day since records began, surpassing a milestone set just the day before, transmission system operator Enagas said. ENAG.MC said Friday.

The sweltering temperatures came earlier than usual this year, coinciding with a period of weaker renewable energy generation and necessitating more expensive gas-fired power stations to generate additional energy for air conditioning.

The surge in demand comes as governments across Europe grapple with soaring energy costs in a tight market and heightened anxiety over supply disruptions linked to the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

Gas-fired power plants in Spain took delivery of 770 gigawatt hours (GWh) of fuel on Wednesday, down from 764 GWh the day before, which was the highest daily figure since June 20, 2008, Enagas said.

Spain’s first heat wave since 1981 has sent temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius (104 F) to parts of the country. Hydro, wind and solar production have all declined, partly due to weather conditions.

But demand for gas for power generation on Friday is expected to be lower than in previous days, Enagas said, as wind, photovoltaic and solar thermal plants are all expected to produce more.

The heat wave also coincided with the introduction of a new mechanism to temporarily subsidize the production costs of fossil fuel power plants, which Spain and Portugal have designed with the aim of reducing the influence of high gas prices on electricity bills, while aiming to build more renewable energy capacity in the long term.

(Reporting by Isla Binnie Editing by Mark Potter)

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