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UK prompt power prices mixed on wind uptick, solar output drop

London — UK day-ahead power prices moved in opposite directions on Thursday driven by forecasts of falling solar power generation and rising demand and wind output, sources said.

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Baseload power for Friday delivery was last heard trading at GBP43.50/MWh, down 75 pence on the day, whereas no peakload spot trades were heard before the 11:00 am London time market close.

The peak contract was assessed at GBP47.65/MWh, up 40 pence on the day, using block 3+4 power price of GBP46/MWh and block 5 price of GBP51/MWh.

According to N2EX and EPEX Spot exchanges, the day-ahead UK auction also cleared largely in line with the OTC market at GBP43.65/MWh on the base and higher on the peak at GBP48.21/MWh on Thursday.

On the supply side, peak wind power generation is expected to rise to slightly above 2 GW on Friday, compared with around 1 GW on Thursday, but solar output is set to halve to 3.6 GW on Friday, down from nearly 7 GW predicted for Thursday, National Grid data showed.

At the same time, demand for power is expected to peak at 35.2 GW on Friday, up from Thursday's peak demand estimates of 34.4 GW. Typically, demand is lower on Fridays than the other days of the week.

However, supply concerns due to lower and intermittent power production from renewables sources and falling power plant availability are keeping up system demand and supporting higher short-term prices.

Grid data showed that available gas-fired power generation capacity is expected to fall to 22.7 GW on Friday from Thursday's 22.9 GW, while capacity from coal plants is seen steady.

Also, only half of 1-GW BritNed interconnector capacity is available to the market due to the planned maintenance.

The Dutch flows returned to around 501 MW by Wednesday evening but ramped back down to zero Thursday morning, the Grid data showed. BritNed is expected to return to full capacity late Thursday evening.

At midday Thursday, electricity from coal and gas plants stood at 2 GW and 17.2 GW respectively, while nuclear and French imports were steady at 7.3 GW and 2 GW respectively, the Grid data showed.