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UK prompt power prices climb on uptick in demand as wind weakens

Highlights

UK prompt power prices edged higher Friday morning as a slight uptick in demand and weakened wind power generation was likely to add pressure on supply margins.

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Baseload power for Monday delivery was last heard trading at GBP39/MWh before the 11 am London time market close, up 40 pence on the day, while the Monday peakload power contract rose 25 pence to GBP43.25/MWh.

According to system operator National Grid, peak power demand Monday was expected to reach 34.7 GW, slightly above Friday's levels, with peak power demand set to reach 33.9 GW on Saturday and 28.4 GW Sunday.

Although temperatures across the country have cooled following the heatwave seen earlier in the week, they were forecast to remain in line with seasonal norms over the weekend and Monday.

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The UK Met Office said it expected warm weather with sunny spells across the country and some heavy, thundery showers mainly in eastern England.

Baseload power for delivery this weekend was heard trading nearly GBP1 higher on the day at GBP37/MWh, also GBP1.60 above where the previous weekend contract closed one week earlier, S&P Global Platts data showed.

Wind power generation was forecast to decline from Friday's peak of 1.4 GW to nearly negligible levels in the early hours of Saturday before rising to 1.2 GW, according to data from system operator National Grid, with forecasts further out showing wind levels hovering around the 1 GW mark by Monday.

Solar production meanwhile was unlikely to rise above 4 GW through to Monday, according to sources.

The power market was also supported by slight gains in the UK NBP gas market amid lower Norwegian volumes. The UK NBP within-day and day-ahead contracts were trading at 35.90 pence/therm and 35.80 p/th, respectively, up from Thursday's day-ahead assessment of 35.675 p/th.

At midday Friday, weak wind output of less than 1 GW lifted gas-fired power generation higher for a second consecutive session to 18.1 GW, accounting for 55% of UK supplies, while coal plants generated 1.8 GW of electricity, representing 6% of the energy mix, the grid said.

Nuclear production remained steady at 8 GW, representing almost a quarter of the fuel mix at midday, the grid said.

Imports from the Dutch-UK BritNed interconnector slumped by midday Friday to 102 MW, while French imports remained steady at close to 2 GW, grid data showed.