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French front-month peakload power rises above Eur1,000/MWh on nuclear woes

Highlights

Jan/Feb peak doubles Dec.16 on Chooz, Civaux outages

UK Q1 baseload at record GBP399.40/MWh: Platts

Tight margins for Dec. 21 as temperatures, wind dip

Europe's energy crisis deepened Dec. 17 as French front-month peakload power prices traded as high as Eur1,200/MWh on nuclear outage concerns.

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The contract ended the session at Eur975/MWh on EEX after doubling in the previous session as TTF front-month gas hit a fresh record-high.

"A combination of low liquidity and very high uncertainty is creating volatility on a scale never seen before in European energy," a trader said.

A dip in temperature for the week starting Dec. 20 and below average wind supply was already tightening margins with German power for Dec. 21 trading at Eur430/MWh, which would be a record if confirmed by the spot auction on Dec. 20.

Temperatures in France were set to dip 2 C below norms Dec. 21 boosting peak demand to 79.1 GW, according to grid operator RTE.

S&P Global Platts assessed UK day-ahead power for Dec. 20 at GBP380/MWh, still some way below September's record-high.

UK wind power was forecast to dip below 1 GW for three days from Dec. 21 to Dec.23, according to spotrenewables.com.

Risk premiums were highest for January and February amid French nuclear availability doubts.

EDF's Chooz 2 reactor was shut Dec. 16 with Chooz 1 to follow Dec. 18, both for preventative maintenance followingt discovery of a fault at the Civaux nuclear site.

Both sites use similar safety injection systems in the primary circuit, EDF said Dec.15 after market close.

The changes to availability amounted to a loss of around 8 TWh between now and April, S&P Global Platts calculations showed.

Platts Analytics cut its French nuclear output assumption to a record-low of 48.8 GW for January and 47.9 GW for February.

With France relying on power imports to meet heat demand during cold weather, prices in interconnected markets were pulled higher.

UK January peakload power was assessed Dec. 17 by Platts at a new record high of GBP758.40/MWh.

UK baseload power for Q1 2022 also hit a new record at GBP399.40/MWh, up 3% day-on-day, Platts data showed.