Changing patterns of energy consumption in Guipuzcoa industry (1862-1925)


  • Elena Catalan Martínez Universidad del País Vasco
  • Isabel Mugartegui Eguía Universidad del País Vasco



hydropower, hydroelectricity, own power plant, regional investment


This paper establishes the changes of energy consumption patterns electrification of the industry of Guipuzcoa, one of the most industrialized regions of Spain, using wide point of view: when and how energy change occurred, who and how funded given its corporate structure covered by a dense network of family and social relationships. We have used the census and industrial statistics of three crucial moments: the 1862 in the first industrialization, the 1908 at the beginning of the electrification of industry and the statistic 1923/24, which shows the industrial structure of the province after the First World War. This work has been completed the analysis of the investment structure through entries in the Mercantile Companies Registry.
The Guipuzcoan industrialization followed by an energy model based on the use of water resources and hydro power first as a primary force and later converted into electricity. The low cost of energy generated in the Basque province as well as the regional business class were responsible for the extraordinary diffusion of electricity. They promoted the integration of its own power plant in the factory and looked for funding through a dense personal or corporate network.