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UK power: Spot moves in opposite directions on mixed fundamentals

London — * Higher solar forecast drags peakload contract down
* Easing wind, reduced coal capacity lifts baseload price
* Waning power demand gives overall bearish signal

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Day-ahead power prices in the UK were little changed to mixed Thursday as weakening wind output and power demand coupled with forecasts for increasing solar output pushed the prompt market in different directions.

Baseload power for Friday delivery was last heard trading at GBP41.05/MWh, up 40 pence on the day, whereas the peakload counterpart was down 25 pence at GBP42/MWh before the 11am London time market close.

A similar movement was noted on the daily spot auction, with the base clearing lower at GBP40.54/MWh on Thursday, down from GBP41.39/MWh Wednesday, while the peak settled at GBP43.11/MWh, up from GBP42.49/MWh Wednesday, according to N2EX and APX exchanges.

The UK's National Grid said it expects peak wind power supplies to drop a touch to 4 GW on Friday, down from 4.7 GW expected on Thursday.

However, solar output is set to rise to 6.5 GW Friday from around 5 GW predicted for Thursday.

Also, peak power demand is expected to decrease to 41.90 GW on Friday, down from Thursday's forecast of 44.8 GW, the Grid data showed.

Forecaster CustomWeather data showed many parts of the UK that are currently at least 1 degree Celsius below seasonal norms are likely to witness milder temperatures starting Friday, with Glasgow rising 3 C above norms on Friday.

At midday Thursday, wind output reached 4.5 GW, while biomass and nuclear run plants generated 2 GW and 7.4 GW of power respectively, National Grid data showed.

Coal and gas-fired power stations contributed 2.6 GW and 15.8 GW of power to the grid, while Dutch and French imports were slightly below full capacity at 984 MW and 1.4 GW respectively, data showed.