Information based on provisional data as of January 2023
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The annual net balance of electricity exchanges through the interconnection with France was 9,095 GWh as an exporter, compared to 6,054 GWh as an importer last year. There had not been an export balance since 2010 (1,523 GWh), and this is the highest export balance in history. Scheduled imports reached 5,490 GWh, 59.2 % lower than the previous year. Such low-scheduled imports have not been recorded since 2012. Scheduled exports amounted to 14,585 GWh, almost double the figure for the previous year, which constituted the latest record high. With the exception of February, net monthly balances were positive as an exporter every month.

During 2022, a high utilisation rate was registered for this interconnection, most of the time in the direction from Spain to France (75.5 % of hours). The average capacity utilisation rate in this period was 86 %. The change in the direction of the balance towards an exporter with respect to 2021 is mainly due to two causes: high penetration of renewables in the Spanish system and high electricity prices in France. This year, prices in France have generally been higher than those in Spain, except in February, due to the high level of nuclear unavailability in France. Additionally, since June, the Iberian mechanism has also mitigated the effect on electricity prices in the Iberian peninsula, motivated by the high gas prices in Europe as a whole, increasing the price differences between the two areas. Therefore, since mid-June, almost 94 % of the hours have shown an exporter balance, and more than 83 % of the export capacity has been used at 100 %, i.e., there has been congestion in the export direction.

Exchange capacity and net balance of scheduled exchanges at the interconnection with France in 2022

Regarding the utilisation of exchange capacity, congestion was recorded for 9.1 % of the hours in the import direction, compared with 35.7 % the previous year, while 57.3 % of the hours showed congestion in the export direction, much higher than the 20 % recorded the previous year. All this confirms the scarce interconnection capacity between the Iberian Peninsula and the rest of Europe. February is the month with the highest number of hours of net importer balance (77.1 %), with almost 40 % of the hours showing congestion in this direction. Exporter usage predominated from mid-June onwards, with 83 % of the hours showing congestion in the export direction. The months of July to September were particularly noteworthy, with more than 95 % of hours of congestion in the export direction.

Hourly capacity allocated in the long-term explicit auctions on the interconnection with France (IFE)

As for the day-ahead capacity usage, there was a high level of utilisation of this interconnection, becoming more congested than in the previous year. Thus, 9.9 % of the hours showed congestion in the France-Spain direction (compared to 42.3 % last year), with an average price difference of 34.3 €/MWh; 63.4 % of the hours showed congestion in the Spain-France direction (compared to 22.9 % last year), with an average price difference of 176.4 €/MWh; and the remaining 26.7 % of the hours showed no congestion on this interconnection.

Hours with and without congestion in the interconnection with France in 2022

France has not recorded a single full day without congestion on the day-ahead horizon. On 73.4 % of the days, congestion was recorded for more than 12 hours, compared to 69.9 % last year.

The average price differential in absolute value in 2022 was equal to 115.17 €/MWh, almost six times higher than the previous year. This value is more than 57 times higher than the threshold considered by the European Union to qualify an interconnection as weak.

The levels of congestion in exchange capacity in the day-ahead horizon were higher in the Spain-France direction every month, except in February, when the price of electricity in the day-ahead market in Spain was higher than in France. From January to May, there were many hours in which the prices of both markets converged, and in February and March. they were coupled for more than 50 % of the hours. It is noted that, since June, with the entry into force of the gas price cap mechanism, the interconnection has shown a very high degree of congestion in the Spain-France direction, reaching 100 % congestion in this direction in July, and 98.9 % in August.

Hours with and without congestion in the interconnection with France and the difference in prices of the day-ahead market in 2022

It can be seen that the average absolute price spread is at all times higher than 10 €/MWh, reaching average differences of more than 250 €/MWh from July to September. In this respect, it should be mentioned that the European Commission considers that average spread values above 2 €/MWh reflect a need to reinforce an interconnection.

The congestion rents generated in 2022 in this interconnection amounted to 1,885.7 million euros (91.6 million in the importer direction and 1,794.1 million in the exporter direction), with 50 % of this total corresponding to the Spanish electricity system. This value is almost six times higher than the rents generated in 2021 (the result of a decrease of almost 50 % in importer rents, while exporter rents have increased 13-fold).

Congestion rents resulting from the international management mechanisms in the interconnection with France

€ Million

The origin of the rents consists of 38.7 % from auctions (11.6 % in the annual auction and 27.1 % in monthly auctions), 60.7 % from the day-ahead horizon, and 0.6 % from the Replacement Reserves.

Out of the rents corresponding to the Spanish electricity system from the day-ahead market, 94 % have surfaced after the entry into force of RD-l 10/2022 and have therefore been used, as established in said RD-L, to reduce the total cost of the adjustment calculated in accordance with the provisions of article 7.4.

With regard to the prices resulting from the exchange capacity auctions, the marginal price of the annual capacity auction for the year 2022 in the direction Spain → France was equal to 33.77 €/MW, almost seven times more than the price of the capacity in the annual auction for the year 2021 (5.03 €/MW). In the France → Spain direction, the resulting marginal price was equal to 6.21 €/MW, which represents an increase of 42 % compared to that recorded in the same direction for the annual auction of 2021 (4.36 €/MW).

The maximum price of the capacity allocated in the monthly auctions was recorded in March, in the France → Spain direction, with a value of 4.68 €/MW, much lower than the 14.10 €/MW of September 2021. In the Spain → France direction, the maximum price was reached in September, at 343.5 €/MW, over 13 times that of December last year.

Balancing energy exchanges across this border via the European platform for the management of balancing energy from RR-type replacement reserves amounted to 341.6 GWh of imports and 187.0 GWh of exports.

In 2022, it was necessary, to a much greater extent than in the previous year, for the operators of the Spanish and French electricity systems to implement coordinated counter-trading actions (scheduled exchanges in the opposite direction to the existing flow established to guarantee the firmness of the trade schedules in the event of capacity reductions), for a total value of 1,333 GWh, a figure higher than the 1,062 GWh scheduled the previous year, thus setting a new record. 80 % were scheduled in the import direction and the remaining 20 % in the export direction.

Annual evolution of counter-trading in the interconnection with France

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