The gas industry group Asociacion Espanola del Gas (Sedigas) is expressing confidence in a study which forecasts stronger focus on gas-fired power generation in Spain.

According to the study undertaken by Sedigas in conjunction with KPMG consultants, legislation is dictating that renewables backed by gas-fired power will be the favoured power mix combination in Spain, with coal incrementally phased out.
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Natural gas could increase its share of primary energy supply in Spain to up to 33% by 2030 given the flexibility of gas-fired power plants and abundant gas infrastructure, according to the study.

The study noted gas-fired plants can, in many cases, reach full output in less than an hour, while Spain’s seven LNG terminals and three major import pipelines afforded a high level of security of supply.

Platts reports that between 5.5 GW and 10 GW of new-build combined cycle gas plants might be necessary if Spain is to conclude the move to a lower carbon future and meet renewable targets at the same time, the group said.

Spain has 67 gas plants, all built from 2002-11, with a combined capacity of 25.4 GW.

Although this is the largest installed capacity of any technology in the country, the plants have seen their utilization rate shrink from around 50% in the middle of the last decade to around 9% as they have been supplanted in the generating mix by the growth of renewables, which take precedence in the offer side for the wholesale markets.

Sedigas estimated Spain could use 29.3 million mt of oil equivalent by 2030, 3.9 million mtoe higher than EU regulation foresees and up from 23.7 million mtoe in 2014.

From this forecast total the largest share, covering 34 per cent of primary energy consumption would come from power generation.

In the generating sector in general, the increase in gas output would entail a new round of building of gas-fired generation plants, and the likely decommissioning of coal plants, according to the study.

Under the new mix, Sedigas said it could see a 49 per cent stake in the generating mix supplied by renewables, 34 per cent from gas and cogeneration and the remaining 16 per cent form other most notably nuclear, with coal reduced to zero.

By capacity, CCGTs could represent 58 per cent of total installed firm capacity of 62 GW, according to the group.

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