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Calculation of tourist sector electricity consumption and its cost in subsidised insular electrical systems: The case of the Canary Islands, Spain

Nuez, Ignacio, Osorio, Javier
Energy policy 2019 v.132 pp. 839-853
carbon dioxide, economic valuation, electric energy consumption, electric power, electricity, electricity generation, energy costs, energy policy, greenhouse gas emissions, international tourism, tourists, Canary Islands, Spain
The Canary Islands is a European archipelago whose principal economic activity is international tourism. Due to its geographic isolation, it does not have any connection with continental electricity grids. The Spanish state subsidises the extra cost of electrical energy generation in isolated systems. The purpose of this study is to quantify the proportion of the electricity bill that corresponds to tourist activity that is being subsidised. With this aim, three complementary methodologies have been developed. These tools could also be used in similar environments. The results reveal an average tourist sector consumption in the study years (2014–2017) between 12.8% and 16.5% of the total amount of electricity generated in the archipelago, with a monetary value of Spanish state subsidy estimated in €143.5 M in the year 2014. Additionally, a calculation was made of the values of CO2 emissions due to tourist electricity consumption for the years of the study period, with an estimated peak of 1.1 MtCO2 in 2017. From the point of view of energy policy, these results could be used to justify the adoption of various types of compensatory measures, including ecotaxes to be paid by the tourist visitor.