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Spanish industry slashes power consumption by 24% on year in April: REE


Largest drop on record due to coronavirus' impact

Industrial demand shrinks for two straight years

May demand to date down 14% on year

Barcelona — Power demand from Spain's industrial sector fell by a record 24% year on year in April -- the first full month that the country implemented measures to counter the coronavirus pandemic -- data published Thursday by grid operator Red Electrica de Espana showed.

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The drop was by far the largest on record and also marks two full years of uninterrupted decline.

Manufacturing was the sector hardest hit by the lockdown measures implemented in mid-March. The closure of most vehicle assembly plants meant demand from the sector fell 76% year on year in April, while manufacturing of non-metallic minerals was down 44.6% and rubber and plastic manufacturing down 26% year on year.

In April, Spain implemented its tightest controls, effectively forcing all "non-essential" businesses to close for a two-week period that spanned the usual Holy Week holidays.

The fall in service sector power demand was in line with industrial demand, 24%.

This meant that trailing 12-month power demand from large consumers is down 5% year on year, with a drop of 7% for industry and 3% for services, according to REE.

The monthly IRE index tracks demand from 21,500 Spanish consumers with a contracted capacity above 450 kW.

The slump in demand fed into an overall 18% year-on-year fall in power demand in Spain during April to 15.8 TWh, with the wholesale spot price also hitting a record low of Eur3.22/MWh on April 5 on the OMIE exchange.

For May to date, the drop has begun to level off and the price has recovered to Eur28.12/MWh for Thursday, but demand is still 14% lower than May last year, taking year-to-date demand to 8% less year on year, according to REE.

Spain large power consumer index (April 2020)

Sector index Apr-20 Last 12 months
weight % % change on year % change on year
Metals 24.4 -25.9 -14.5
Chemical 8.6 -11.5 -5.6
Food 6.0 -0.6 2.4
Retail 5.6 -18.2 -5.9
Non-metal minerals 5.6 -44.6 -3.6
Paper 5.4 -2.4 -2.3
Public transport 4.6 -42.8 -5.3
Rubber, Plastic 4.4 -26.2 -4.2
Gas, steam, aircon 3.5 1.8 -15.4
Warehousing, logistics 3.2 -18.7 -7.3

(largest ten sectors only)

Source: Red Eléctrica de España