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German coal ramps up to highest since March, gas dips below average

Highlights

Hard-coal up 21% to 6.4 GW average for first August week

Gas drops 24% to 4.3 GW average, fifth-lowest week 2022

Lignite, solar continue to top German summer power mix

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  • Andreas Franke
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German hard-coal-fired generation ramped up to the highest weekly average since March for the first week of August, while gas generation fell sharply after reaching a six-month-high in July, transmission operator data aggregated by Fraunhofer ISE showed Aug. 8.

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Hard-coal output averaged 6.36 GW for Week 31 (Aug. 1-8), up 21% week-on-week, while gas fell 24% to 4.26 GW.

Gas-fired generation hit a record Eur437.48/MWh Aug. 3 compared to just Eur184.12/MWh for an older coal units, S&P Global Commodity Insights data based on front-month prices show.

Spot coal into Europe (CIF ARA 15-60 days) has fallen 28% from a record-high July 28 to $310/mt by Aug. 5, according to Platts pricing data by S&P Global.

The drop is partly due to coal supply bottlenecks along the Rhine with at least four German coal-fired power plants (Uniper's Dattel 4 and Staudinger 5, EnBW's RDK and GKM at Mannheim) warning about coal supply issues due to low river levels.

Planned summer maintenance also plays a role with Datteln 4 returning, while RDK8 was coming offline.

In addition, EPH's 690-MW Mehrum plant near Hanover returned to the market as the first reserve unit under Germany's new replacement power plant law, according to a transparency note on EEX.

Hourly coal output peaked just above 8 GW similar to July peaks, TSO data show.

Rhine levels at the Kaub chokepoint rebounded to 51 cm Aug. 8, still impacting coal barge loading, according to WSV data.

Current levels are below 2018 when the Rhine reached a record-low 22 cm in October.

Lignite coal topped Germany's weekly mix with solar again close behind and the two technologies set to dominate Germany's summer power mix.

GERMAN POWER GENERATION (weekly average GW)

Week 31
Week 30
Week 29
Week 28
Week 27
Week 26
6-week average
Lignite
12.91
12.73
12.34
11.62
11.57
12.93
12.4
Solar
11.45
10.37
11.82
11.89
10.05
10.83
11.1
Hard Coal
6.36
5.27
5.09
5.16
5.53
5.86
5.5
Wind
6.33
8.95
7.38
8.9
13.59
7.27
8.7
Gas
4.26
5.63
7.62
5.35
3.44
6.65
5.5
Nuclear
3.91
3.95
3.94
3.92
3.94
3.92
3.9
Net exports
-0.62
-1.23
-0.91
-0.93
-2.58
-0.6
-1.1

Source: Fraunhofer ISE