Electric demand is one of the key indicators of the good health of any economy. You just have to take a look at the newspaper archives that quantify the oscillations in companies and homes in gigawatts. Whenever the light goes out, finances tremble. And the short circuit is already a fact. The demand for electricity plummets so far this year to recession levels. In some industries, such as the automotive industry, the sinking in the last twelve months is 11%.
In 2009, the year in which the financial crisis hit the Spanish economy, GDP deflated 3.7%, one point less than electricity demand, which fell 4.7% to 252,660 GWh. All this fall in demand was linked to economic activity, according to data recorded by Red Eléctrica Española (REE). In 2010, activity recovered and although GDP closed flat, demand was activated by 3.1%. Of that figure, 2.7% corresponded to the best performance of companies.
From 2011 to 2013, Spain entered the auger again. During those years, the electricity demand suffered a new collapse. In 2011, GDP decreased 0.8% and light suffered a 1.9% decline. The fall in industrial activity was to blame on a percentage point. In 2012, the economic collapse was 3%. In this case, the depression of electricity demand due to economic activity (-1.8%) was even higher than that of households and the general average (-1.4%). In 2013 came the third consecutive annual fall. The economy fell again 1.4%, below the electricity demand, which sank 2.2%, all computable to economic activity, according to the same data from REE.
The economic recovery is accompanied by the energy recovery. Except for a single exception. In 2014, households still did not believe in the exit to the crisis. Although GDP ended up growing 1.4%, electricity demand sank again for the fourth year in a row. However, the 1.1% decrease (up to 243,174 GWh) remained –0.1% discounted the effects of labor and temperature. That is, considering that the winter was warm and the summer became bearable, the demand remained flat. The real recovery, which came from 2015 to 2018, translated into 3% advances in GDP and growth in electricity demand. Maybe not as flashy as in the years of the construction boom, but increases at last.
Electric demand fell 1.9% last October, discounting the effects of temperature and calendar
Now, with all the indicators setting the brake, the electrical demand shows again signs of weakness. However, these are even more acute than expected, which may be a symptom that the slowdown is deeper than expected. This is reflected in the data provided by REE corresponding to the month of October, in which the demand was 0.7% lower than the same month of the previous year, reaching 21,432 GWh. In this case, discounting the effects of the calendar and temperatures, the fall is even higher, 1.9% compared to October 2018. In the peninsular electricity system, the October demand fell to 20,133 GWh, a 0 , 8% lower than that registered in the same month of the previous year. If the effects of the calendar and temperatures are taken into account, the fall is 2% compared to October 2018. The monthly demand was also lower, in this case 0.7% in year-on-year terms, an even greater fall ( –1.8%) in seasonally adjusted terms. Only the Balearic system recorded growth in October, of 3% (up to 490,338 MWh). With the effects of the calendar and temperatures, the increase was 2.5% compared to October 2018.
Ten months downhill
The October data initiates a clear downward trend since January. Thus, during the first ten months of 2019, the estimated demand by REE reached 220,452 GWh, 1.8% less than in the same period of 2018. Even worse data once corrected the influence of the calendar and temperatures, with a 2.8% drop compared to January-October 2018. Peninsular demand, where most of the factories, companies and population are concentrated, has worse data. So far this year, the demand for electricity in the Peninsula was 207,436 GWh, 1.9% less than in 2018, a figure that goes to –3% taking into account temperatures and the calendar. Demand does increase in the islands (0.8% in the Balearic Islands and 0.1% in the Canary Islands).
Based on these figures and unless the electricity expenditure is triggered in the last two months of the year, the fall in demand accumulated until October, between 1.8% and 2.8%, is in the range of the last three years of crisis, in which the Spanish economy returned to the mud.
The automotive sector deserves special mention – which represents 10% of GDP and that accounts for 2.7% of large consumption – whose electricity demand has plunged 10.8% in the last twelve months and 7.2% last October, which does not bode well for the weight of the engine and auxiliary industries in employment and exports.
Falls in the metallurgical, chemical and paper industries
Industries, big energy consumers, are anticipating a sharp slowdown. Thus, the demand for metallurgists, which represent 23.3% of the large consumption, has fallen 12% in the last twelve months (12.5% in October). The chemical industry falls 4.8% and the paper mill falls 2.9% (6.7% in October).
. (tagsToTranslate) Energy (t) Economic crisis