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German wind, solar capture prices end 2021 at record highs

Highlights

Onshore wind averaged Eur161/MWh, solar Eur271/MWh in Dec

EEG account balance swings Eur15 billion from deficit to surplus

Platts daily capture price index sees Eur400/MWh swing for wind

Capture prices for German wind and solar ended 2021 at all-time highs, with December's average up fivefold year on year, while the difference between technologies widened sharply, system data shows.

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Capture prices are based on actual hours of operation and are a more accurate reflection of value for renewable energy assets than day-ahead prices.

German solar for December had a market value of Eur270.75/MWh, the highest on record, actual generation amounting to just 0.8 TWh, down 3% year on year.

Onshore wind averaged Eur160.77/MWh and offshore Eur184.26/MWh, with December wind generation of 12.1 TWh up 3% year on year.

Despite the record highs, some negative hourly prices were registered in December, but none lasted for four hours that would trigger cuts to the premium prices paid.

Electricity prices averaged Eur221.06/MWh in December, with the 2021 spot average more than tripling.

GERMAN WIND, SOLAR CAPTURE PRICES (Eur/MWh)

Jan.
Feb.
March
April
May
June
July
Aug.
Sep.
Oct.
Nov.
Dec.
2021
% chg YoY
Onshore
46.45
43.61
33.95
43.53
41.34
63.3
68.08
72.53
117.54
109.82
140.56
160.77
78.46
222
Offshore
48.16
47.42
38.92
44.81
39.44
68.84
72.52
75.31
122.5
125.56
156.49
184.26
85.35
227
Solar
55.43
44.99
41.05
45.51
41.87
68.64
74.09
76.81
117.15
128.04
183.07
270.75
95.62
233
Spot average
52.82
48.7
47.16
53.61
53.35
74.08
81.37
82.7
128.37
139.49
176.15
221.06
96.57
217

Source: EEG Netztransparenz.de

Higher market values for renewables will further reduce the need for subsidies, with the monthly balance in the EEG account that finances renewables via power bills swinging from a Eur4.4 billion deficit in December 2020 to a Eur10.6 billion surplus.

Germany has already cut the green power EEG levy for 2022 by 43% to Eur37.23/MWh, the lowest since 2012.

S&P Global Platts Analytics' head of low carbon electricity analysis Bruno Brunetti said renewables capture prices will remain elevated for the next couple of years before trending lower amid deeper renewables penetration and as gas prices normalize.

German offshore wind capture prices were forecast to average above Eur70/MWh for the next 10 years.

According to Platts Renewable Capture Price index, a new index of daily capture prices by technology for Europe's top five power markets, German onshore wind hit a record high of Eur416.27/MWh on Dec. 21, before plunging to Eur13.79/MWh Dec. 31.

Generation costs for a price-setting standard gas-fired power plant averaged Eur250/MWh in December, from Eur43/MWh in December 2020, Platts data shows.