Spain to ask EU to extend ‘Iberian mechanism’ gas price cap until end of 2024

Spain said on Monday it will ask the EU for permission to extend its temporary natural gas price cap until at least the end of 2024.

Dubbed the Iberian mechanism, the measure only applies to Spain and Portugal, but partially inspired a gas price cap at the EU level. It is set to expire in May.

At the end of December, Energy Minister Teresa Ribera said it saved Spanish consumers more than €4 billion ($4.2 billion) since it came into effect in June.

Speaking to Spanish broadcaster Antena 3 on Monday, Ribera said Spain will soon present a proposal to Brussels for a sweeping reform of the entire EU energy system.

“We have to reduce the volatility of electricity prices, encourage investments in renewables, and modify our energy systems to boost security,” said the minister.

However, until those reforms take effect, she said Spain wants to “continue benefiting” from the Iberian mechanism, calling it “the most successful solution” in Europe last year to deal with the energy crisis.

Although electricity has traditionally been more expensive in Spain than in other EU countries, the Iberian mechanism has, in part, caused prices to drop well below the EU average.

In Spain, annual inflation dropped to 5.8% in December, compared to 9.2% in the euro area, largely thanks to falling energy prices.

Ribera said mild temperatures and energy-saving measures have also helped bring down electricity costs. On the flip side, a lack of rainfall has dampened hydro production in Spain and other EU countries.

Last year, Spain did end up consuming more natural gas than average, she said, but only because exports to Portugal and France increased significantly.

“We’re facing what’s left of the winter and the spring in very good conditions, but we need to prepare for next autumn at the EU level,” she added.

Source: Anadolu Agency