There are very few upsides to the recent breakout of the coronavirus. The fall in energy consumption and pollution levels in Spain are two of them. With more and more people staying at home rather than commuting to work, many businesses are switching off their lights. The country has also seen a decrease in its nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels due to the reduction in commuters.
While household energy demands have increased in Spain, the overall energy use has dropped between 5% and 10%, says Red Electrica de Espana (REE). Many offices and factories are staffed by minimal crew, with people choosing to stay home rather than risk contracting the disease. This all equates to lower energy consumption, particularly in the dark morning hours.
“It can be inferred that the reduction in the morning is due to the fact that consumption is more linked to economic activity and, in the afternoon, demand is fundamentally associated with domestic consumption, The two areas with the highest drops are Madrid and Catalonia, where the drop is higher than 10%,” says REE Director of Operations, Miguel Duvison.
“Luckily, this reduction in electricity demand has not been reflected in electricity prices. This trend has also been seen in countries such as the US and Australia, where the Government placed a freeze on electricity prices until July 2021.” says Lifestyle expert from Thegoodestate.com. “Electricity prices in Spain have been slipping for a quite a while now. We are currently expecting the prices to go down even further.”
Pollution on Spain’s roads has also decreased drastically since the coronavirus has reared its ugly head. According to the environmental organisation Greenpeace, traffic in Madrid and Barcelona has decreased by 60%, and Spain’s level of nitrogen dioxide is not even reaching 40% of the amount set by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the EU.
“The current extraordinary situation can serve as learning to reduce the thousands of deaths that poor air quality causes each year,” says head of the Greenpeace mobility campaign Adrian Fernandez. It has been estimated that approximately 4.5 million people die annually from gas, coal and oil pollution.