Council of Public Utilities Industries

In these times the economic capacity of a country is measured more by the electrical energy it consumes than by the number of its workers and the extent of its territories. According to the statistics of the Federal Power Commission of the United States, the hydroelectrical reserve power of Spain amounts to four million horsepower, of which only a fourth part is exploited. In partial confirmation of this, the statistical year book of Spain for 1930 lists 1,064,272 horsepower consumed. There are big plants, such as Riegos y Fuerzas del Ebro, la Energia electrica de cataluna, la Hidroelectrica espanola, la Union electrica madrilena, la Hidroelectrica iberica, etc., etc., mostly owned by American companies. But there is plenty of room for greater development, as the country's resources of electrical energy are far from being utilised to even an appreciable degree.

The engineer Pereira Carballo, in an article published in 'Revista Electricidad" and reprinted in the "Sol," Madrid, January 7, 1936, considers possible the production of over twelve million horsepower distributed as follows:

Rio Ebro ........................3,150,000

Rio Duero ....................... 2,080,000

Guadalquivir .....................1,964,000

Rio Tajo ......................... 1,865,000

Guadiana ........................865,000

Rio Mino ........................ 743,000

Rio Jucar ........................511,000

Rio Segura .......................346,000

Other streams and rivers ............ 990,000

Total...........................................12,514,000

Translating this hydroelectric power or white fuel into black fuel, we would have the equivalent of 75,000,000 tons of coal with enormous saving in the cost of production.

There are a number of projects for electrification, water dams and the utilisation of hydraulic energy for motor power as well as for droughts. There is nothing in the way of the realisation of these plans besides pecuniary obstacles. The engineers capable of executing these developments, the manual labor and material are not lacking. Besides hydroelectrical energy which would be cheapest in Spain, there can be thermoelectrical energy obtained from coal. In this field magnificent innovations have been realised. The first turbine ever mounted in a central station, in 1903, consumed 6.88 lbs. of carbon per kilowatt hour. In 1913, the consumption of carbon per kilowatt hour in the central station of the United States dropped to 2.87 lbs. and in 1929 the average was 1.2. In 1933 less than a pound per kilowatt hour was consumed.

There still remain the fountains of energy which may be drawn from the air, which the Dutch have utilised so well with their windmills and which is now thought of as a possible source of electrical energy.

A large amount of electrical material is now being produced in Spain. Underground cables of 6,000, 11,000, 30,000 and 50,000 voltage are manufactured for the centrals of Madrid, Malaga, Bilbao, Barcelona and Valencia; also telephone cables and wires for the urban and interurban lines, cables for the mines, motors for industry, machinery and electrical apparatus for the Navy and the Army, electric meters, lamps, filaments, etc.

In 1921 there were 118 establishments manufacturing electrical material, 515 producing gas and electricity, and 101 water works, without counting the private enterprises which exist in large numbers in Spain. These latter predominate in almost every field, which creates great complexity for the Spanish capitalists in their efforts to concert their interests and enterprises.

We combine the figures for the production of light, motor power and water works for the cities and irrigation for the fields because all of these function closely together. The organization of the public utilities industries is the same as the others from the bottom up, from the individual establishment to the syndicate, from the syndicate to the branch council, from the branch council to the local council of economy, etc. But, as in transport, the public utilities must be integrated on a national scale. This is indispensable and will afford the greatest possibilities of development. There is even today talk of the electrical unification of the whole European continent so that not a single kilowatt may remain unused or wasted.

This proposed council of the public utilities will play a very important role in cementing the future of the country because all the plans for increasing production, decreasing labor, and furthering culture will be sterile so long as all the forces which the country has to offer are not utilised by the new economic regime.