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UK day-ahead power prices steady as dip in demand offset by weakened wind

London — UK day-ahead power prices were steady Wednesday as a slight dip in demand levels is likely to be offset by declining wind generation.

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Baseload power for Thursday delivery was seen trading at GBP34.30/MWh, up 15 pence from where Wednesday's price was assessed Tuesday, while the peakload contract was heard at GBP34.60/MWh before Platts 11:00 am London market close, down 35 pence on the day.

The spread between baseload and peakload power prices on the day-ahead market have narrowed this week following the change to British Summer Time over the weekend as the peakload hours have shifted forward and moved slightly into the off-peak, according to market sources.

The day-ahead auction meanwhile settled day-ahead power prices above OTC levels with baseload at GBP34.59/MWh and peakload at GBP34.42/MWh, according to N2EX and APX exchanges Wednesday.

According to system operator National Grid, peak power demand is forecast to dip below 41 GW Thursday evening after nearing 42 GW Wednesday evening, which would relieve pressure on supply margins.

However, the slight downturn in power demand is likely to be partially offset by a further drop in wind generation Thursday with peak wind power output forecast to fall to 1 GW Thursday afternoon, more than 1 GW below Wednesday's peak forecast of 2.4 GW, National Grid data showed. Solar power output will be steady at 1.7 GW.

Spot prices on the NBP gas hub meanwhile firmed Wednesday morning as the system fell short of supply. The within-day and day-ahead contracts were each trading at 29.10 pence/therm at 11:00 am London time, compared with a day-ahead close of 28.65 p/th Tuesday, Platts data showed.

At midday Wednesday, gas-fired power plants were producing 16.9 GW, or just over 46% of the UK's total energy supply, while wind power output was 1.1 GW (3.1%).

Production from coal-fired power plants remained sluggish at 4.7 GW (12.8%), while nuclear power stations generated 7.8 GW (21.2%), National Grid data showed.