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London — The coronavirus crisis has had an estimated Eur1 billion ($1.18 billion) impact on EDF, the French utility said July 30, mainly due to lower nuclear output and a drop in demand for electricity.

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On the plus side, EDF benefited from higher prices in the UK and France as well as better hydro conditions, it said.

The utility forecast 2020 EBITDA in a range of Eur15.2 billion-Eur15.7 billion.

French nuclear output in the first six months of 2020 fell 14.6% to 174 TWh. Of the 29.7 TWh year-on-year drop, around 13 TWh were attributable to coronavirus restrictions, affecting EBITDA by Eur253 million, it said.

On July 2, EDF lifted its 2020 French nuclear output target to a range of 315-325 TWh after cutting it April 16 to 300 TWh from 375 TWh due to longer maintenance and coronavirus-related restrictions on movement.

Discussions on a reformed ARENH price mechanism relating to French nuclear output were continuing between the French government and the European Commission with "no certainty of success at this stage," EDF management said adding that it was hoping for a positive outcome.

A successful outcome would "lead to a reorganization of the group's activities in order to strengthen its capacity to invest in the energy transition," it said.

EDF supplied 61 TWh to domestic competitor suppliers in H1 under the ARENH. The mechanism allows these suppliers to purchase 100 TWh a year at Eur42/MWh from EDF's nuclear fleet.

Three suppliers called for "force majeure" in April as power prices plunged below the ARENH offtake rate, with a Paris court ruling in favor of the suppliers. EDF has appealed the latest ruling.

Energy transition wins during the period included the world's largest solar project (2 GW Al Dhafra in Abu Dhabi, EDF in joint venture with China's Jinko Solar) and a construction start for the 500 MW Fecamp offshore wind farm in French waters, EDF in a joint venture with Enbridge and wpd.

Commissioning of the wind farm is expected in 2023, while the 500-MW Saint Nazaire project remains on track for a 2022 start.

The offshore wind projects have an investment volume of around Eur2 billion each.

France's power export net balance rose 2% on year to 31.8 TWh for the first six month despite significant changes to demand, supply and pricing structure with net exports to Italy, Spain and Great Britain down 4 TWh, but up 4.4 TWh to Switzerland and CWE (Germany/Belgium), it said.

EDF is Europe's largest power generator and operates the French nuclear fleet with 61 GW capacity.