FRANKFURT – Germany year-ahead baseload power, the European wholesale market’s benchmark contract, on Monday gained 6.2% to trade at 142 euros ($156.64) a megawatt hour (MWh) at 0825 GMT, driven by higher carbon and oil prices.
Spot power prices in the main two markets of Germany and France were below Friday delivery on forecasts for stronger wind volumes, but investors were concerned about falling temperatures and merely stable gas imports, traders said.
Electricity forwards have trebled this year due to a range of factors including Asia’s economic recovery to politically driven price gains in European carbon emission permits, higher oil prices and low local renewable output.
Wind supply patterns and Russian gas deliveries continue to be seen as market wild cards.
The Nord Stream 2 gas link from Russia to Germany is undergoing a licencing process that many in the market expect to take months, too late to relieve gas markets this winter.
At just under 70% full, Europe’s gas stocks are lower than usual after a weak import year in which Asian buyers snapped up liquefied natural gas (LNG), data from industry group GIE showed.
This time last year, stock levels were at 89%.
The nuclear sector is also in focus, with French grid operator RTE warning last week that cold weather in the January-February period could strain supplies in the nation that net exports to its European neighbours.
In Germany, three big nuclear plants will close at year-end under a national exit plan.
German day-ahead baseload at 124 euros/MWh was 57% below Monday delivery and compared with the contract’s 400 euros high on Oct. 6.
French Tuesday delivery, at 285 euros, was 52% down from Monday delivery and well below its contract high of 332 euros on Nov. 23.
($1 = 0.8874 euros)