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UK day-ahead power prices weaken as strong renewables offset cold weather outlook

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UK day-ahead power prices weaken as strong renewables offset cold weather outlook

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London — Day-ahead power prices in the UK market declined on Monday as expectations for strong electricity generation from wind and solar farms offset the bullish influence of rising gas prices and colder-than-normal temperatures, traders said.

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Baseload power for Tuesday delivery slipped to GBP40.40/MWh in Monday's trading session, falling 35 pence below Friday's assessment, but stayed at a premium to its peakload counterpart, which fell more sharply, ending GBP1.55 below Friday's close at GBP39.70/MWh.

A similar trend was noted on the UK spot daily auction, with the base day-ahead clearing at GBP39.77/MWh, above the peak peer that settled at GBP38.86/MWh, N2EX and EPEX SPOT data showed Monday.

According to National Grid estimates, peak wind power generation is expected to hit a high of 6.9 GW, fairly in line with Monday's expectations, while peak solar output is seen nudging slightly above 7 GW on Tuesday, a jump from more than 4 GW predicted for Monday.

At the same time, however, system demand for electricity is expected to increase to 36.6 GW on Tuesday, up from Monday's forecast of 36 GW, Grid data showed.

The UK Met Office on Friday predicted "a change to colder weather across the UK, with chilly days, frosty nights and snow for some," during week 17. "The cold feel across the UK will be accentuated by the wind," the forecaster added.

Meanwhile on the supply side, following the historic day of zero coal output in the UK on Friday, coal-fired power production ramped up over the weekend and stood at 580 MW at midday Monday, or less than 2% of the fuel mix, Grid data showed.

With wind output rising to 5.3 GW (15.4%) at midday, gas-fired power generation remained tempered at less than 16 GW, accounting for 47% of the UK's fuel mix.

Nuclear output was just short of 7 GW (20%), while Dutch and French imports were at near full capacity of 1 GW (3%) and 2 GW (5.8%) respectively, Grid said.