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  • January 3rd, 2014

UK prompt power prices slide as wind soars, demand lull persists

UK prompt power prices were bearish on the first working day of the New Year, moving lower in line with surging wind generation and lower demand with the festive season demand slump expected to last until Monday.

The day-ahead baseload was last heard trading at GBP43.85/MWh on Thursday morning, GBP3.65 below Tuesday’s closing price for Thursday delivery. The N2EX auction was a touch above OTC at GBP44.22/MWh after Wednesday outturning the Thursday day-ahead price below earlier market expectations at GBP44.55/MWh.

Wind generation was forecast to exceed the most recent end-December records comfortably Friday afternoon, according to National Grid, forecast at 6.39 GW at 4:00 pm against a December 21 record of 6.067 GW. The wind peak for Thursday was seen at 5.86 GW at 11:00 pm.

UK power demand meanwhile remains below 50 GW and will not rise above this level until January 6, Grid data shows.

Peak demand was estimated at 48.79 GW for 1700 GMT Thursday, forecast to dip to 48.53 GW at the same time Friday. New Year’s Day peak demand was just 41.70 GW.

Temperatures were 2-3 degrees Celsius above the seasonal average on Thursday and were above normal levels on Friday and at the beginning of next week, rising to 4-5 C above the norm on Monday.

In conventional plant supply, available nuclear capacity was supported by the return of unit 1 at the Heysham 1 nuclear power station. The reactor synchronized to the grid at 7:02 pm Wednesday evening, operator EDF Energy said, returning from a statutory maintenance outage since August 27.

Nuclear generation was 8.26 GW at 1:25 pm Thursday, accounting for 20% of the total energy mix, ahead of CCGT production at 7.27 GW, or 17.6% of the total, Grid data showed.

Coal remained the dominant fuel source Thursday lunchtime, with coal plants producing 15.96 GW with a 38.6% share of generation.

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