The Spanish Minister for Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera, has confirmed that Spain and Portugal have drawn up a joint proposal to cap the price of electricity on the wholesale market to 180 euros per megawatt hour (MWh), the limit that existed before 2019 when an EU directive prohibited price caps.
This maximum limit would be about 40 euros less than the average cost of electricity on Thursday – 217 euros – and would avoid situations like the record that was set earlier this month, when the price rose above 545 euros.
The idea is that this document will be presented to the other EU member states in the next few days, trusting that the upwardly spiralling prices, aggravated by the conflict in Ukraine in recent weeks, will be accepted in Brussels. However, so far, the position of the European Commission, and especially Germany, has been against capping prices, particularly in the wholesale market.
Despite this, in a radio interview on Thursday, Ribera said that “if only two years ago we thought it was crazy for the price to rise to 180 euros and now it is far higher than that, there is no argument against that being the maximum rate that we should accept in our market”.
She said that the situation in the energy market in Spain is “intolerable” for the industry and for households. However, the government will wait for the European Commission’s response before taking any new measures. It’s message, though, is unmistakable: “If Europe isn’t up to this, we will be obliged to take decisions to protect our national interest, because Spanish society cannot wait,” she emphasised.
Ribera has also told the EU Environmental Council that an urgent and combined response is needed to the rise in energy prices. “We cannot find ourselves in a situation where each member state that is under unsustainable pressure from its population does what it likes, so that instead of having everyone work together we have 27 different solutions,” she said.