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Endesa plants had unscheduled stoppages  

Spanish utility Endesa said two of its power plants underwent unscheduled halts for technical reasons on Tuesday, but denied these were responsible for sharp jumps in prompt electricity prices.

An Endesa spokesman said one generating unit at the combined cycle 800 megwatt Besos plant and one of four units at the 1,200 MW coal-fired Compostilla plant were down for several hours for technical reasons.

“There were no major problems and we believe price rises were due to the lack of hydropower after the drought and lack of wind,” the spokesman said.

“It’ll be the same today. Of an installed capacity of 13,000 MW, wind parks are only producing 500 MW,” he added.

In addition, Spain’s second-largest generator said its combined cycle San Roque plant and its coal-fired Astontes station had both undergone scheduled halts.

On Tuesday, Spanish prompt power prices soared amid a drop in available wind power and market concerns over unscheduled stoppages at power stations.

“The outages were relatively minor, but the market is very tense right now due to poor weather and with us exporting all we can to Portugal and France,” one trader said.

Spain’s power market has become more susceptible to wind turbines in recent months as less hydropower is available now reservoirs are barely half full after one of the driest winters in memory.

On Wednesday, the next day wholesale pool price for Spain, which serves as a reference for swaps traded in the over-the-counter market, was fixed at 80.78 euros per megawatt hour, edging up from 79.30 previously.

“Yesterday’s spot was already high, so there wasn’t much room for a further rise,” another trader said.

Latest available data from the national grid showed the contribution by wind parks plummeted to 60,200 MWh on Tuesday from 116,000 on Monday.

Meanwhile, Portuguese market operator OMIP, which operates the futures arm of the Iberian power market (Mibel) was due to announce the results of a weekly auction later in the day.

The National Grid (REE) said Spain exported 29,500 megawatt-hours on Wednesday.

In other news, the Nuclear Safety Council (CSN) Web site showed all eight of Spain’s nuclear power plants were working normally. (Reporting by Martin Roberts; Editing by James Jukwey)


20 February 2008

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