Founded in 1944 and a pioneer in its field, Endesa is one of the main electricity companies in Spain and has become one of the largest electricity companies in the world.
However, the retailing and distribution of energy has a number of precedents, including the Sociedad Española de Electricidad (SEE), the first electricity company in Spain. It was founded in Barcelona in 1881 for the purpose of supplying electricity to the industry established in the area, especially textiles.
The foundation of Endesa
The foundation of Endesa dates back to the first decade of the twentieth century, when the Spanish government decided to create a public company to control the production and distribution of electricity. It was on 18 November 1944 that the Compañía de Electricidad de España, later known as Endesa, was created.
During the first years of its existence, Endesa focussed on building power plants, constructing transmission lines and distributing electricity. During the following years these activities were expanded until the company became the main electricity supplier in Spain.
One of its first milestones was the La Compostilla thermal power plant, in Ponferrada in the province of León. It was located there due to the proximity of the coal mines, which made the transport of fuel significantly cheaper. Until then, most electricity had been generated in hydroelectric power plants, so La Compostilla marked a before and after. It was opened in 1949 and remained operative until 1974, when it was replaced by the La Compostilla II power station, which operated between 1972 and 2020.
The stunning La Compostilla I industrial building currently houses the Ponferrada Energy Museum, also called "La Fábrica de Luz", (Energy Factory) and it is open to visitors.
In the 1970s, Endesa reached a new milestone with the opening of the thermal power plants in As Pontes (A Coruña), known as Puentes de García Rodríguez, and Andorra (Teruel).
The As Pontes plant first generated energy in 1976. It has four generators producing a total of 1,400 MW. It was built in here to take advantage of the nearby lignite mines, although its operation has now been adapted so it can use of coal imported from other countries in order to provide service. In 2008 a new natural gas generator was installed, with a total installed capacity of 800 MW. One of its landmarks is a 356-metre high tower which was once the highest in Europe.
The Andorra power station was opened in 1981 and remained in operation until 2020. In 2022 the cooling towers were demolished. The three generators had an installed capacity of 1101.4 MW. It was powered by lignite which was mined locally.