Europe Power - Spot Down on Rising Temperatures, Solar Output

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Reuters- European spot power prices fell on Wednesday due to forecasts for warmer weather in France and expectations for a rise in solar electricity production in both Germany and France.

The German baseload power contract for Thursday delivery fell 4.5 cents to 41.5 euros ($57.03) per megawatt-hour (MWh) in the over-the-counter (OTC) market.

The equivalent French day-ahead contract was 1.3 euros lower at 45.7 euros per MWh.

Temperatures in France were expected to rise by 0.3 degree Celsius to 7.5 degrees on average on Thursday, while they were set to remain broadly stable around 5.3 degrees in Germany.

The 2013/2014 winter was France's second-warmest since records began in 1900, according to official French forecaster Meteo France, with temperatures about 1.8 degrees Celsius above seasonal averages.

Temperatures in France are a major swing factor for European power prices in the winter because of French households' heavy reliance on electrical heating.

On the supply side, solar power output was expected to rise by 290 MW in Germany and 330 MW in France on Thursday, according to Thomson Reuters Point Carbon data.

French nuclear power availability was unchanged at 84.6 percent, but the return to the grid of EDF's 900 MW Bugey 5 nuclear reactor was delayed by a day to Thursday.

Contracts were also lower along the forward curve, tracking oil prices and correcting some of the gains made earlier this week on the back of the political tensions around Ukraine.

"Looking back now, the market over reacted to the situation, and most of the price gains have been given back," a London-based trader said.

The German benchmark price for the year-ahead, Cal '15 baseload, was down 10 cents at 36.2 euros per MWh, after hitting an eight-session high of 36.75 euros on Monday.

The equivalent French position was unchanged at 42.85 euros per MWh.

Brent crude oil futures fell below $109 a barrel, down for a second day on an easing of fears that Russia's incursion into Ukraine could lead to war.

In sector news, European Union antitrust regulators fined power exchanges across the region a total of 6.9 million euros ($9.5 million) for anti-competitive practices thwarting Europe's strategy to create a single energy market.

($1 = 0.7277 euros)

(Reporting by Michel Rose; editing by Jane Baird)

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