Spain's minister for ecological transition, Teresa Ribera. | Fernando Alvarado

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In a Saturday interview with El Periódico, Spain's minister for ecological transition, Teresa Ribera, said that there will be a "decoupling" of the price of gas and the operation of the electricity market in April. This separation of the price, she suggested, will have the support of the European Council, which will meet on March 24 and 25.

Ribera explained that there is a possibility that the Spanish government will set maximum prices for the electricity market and for natural gas. Another possibility would be to "definitively withdraw gas from the electricity market and build a more complex system in which each technology is remunerated according to its costs and profitability".

The minister added that much though this is an urgent matter, it is also a temporary one. When the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators presents recommendations in April, this will lead to a debate on how the electricity market should develop over the coming years. This will be about "in-depth regulatory transformation". Right now, it is necessary to correct the rise in prices registered in recent weeks.

Asked if the government will intervene in the market without permission from Brussels, Ribera observed that it would be preferable if there were unanimous agreement. However, the government "knows the limits of its society and its economy". If there is not "a timely response", the government would have to plan to act separately. "We cannot afford the luxury of industry shutting down as a result of a lack of reaction from regulators. We need to intervene very quickly."