Spain`s $15 billion electricity market is Europe`s fifth largest, and in 1998 grew at the stunning rate of 6.5 per cent. Its electricity industry reforms meet the typical requirements of competitive players, foreign investors are active, and a big dash for gas is gathering pace. But controversy over some policies continues, and the reforms to date may not be enough to give the country a truly competitive market.
February 19, 1999 was a landmark stage in the EU electricity markets with the opening of 26.48 per cent of the market to competition. Over 20 per cent of the European market is expected to switch supplier by 2005 as competition progresses. Datamonitor examines how the market will develop, and what consumers are expecting from the changes.
Spanish electricity group Iberdrola has made its first significant purchase in the USA by paying $50m for the California-based utility Energy Works. The move reflects Iberdrola`s belief that liberalization of Spain`s electricity sector will result in a loss of market share in its home market.
Endesa, Iberdrola, Union Fenosa and Hidroelectrica del Cantabrico met with representatives of Nymex and Nord Pool recently to discuss the development of a Spanish power futures exchange in Madrid. Such an exchange is unlikely to be operational next year, according to the electricity association, as the power pool only recently started trading.