Hot autumn weather drives Europe’s electricity prices sky high
Tuesday, 15 September 2020
While unexpectedly hot autumn weather has been seen as a bonus for many, the knock-on effect on Europe’s electricity matrix is causing electricity prices to skyrocket to make up for increased demand and reduced supply.
The hot weather has seen the need for airconditioning increase, but bad timing for renewables and Covid fighting measures have left the extra electricity in short supply.
Shorter days mean solar panels are less efficient than they would be in similar times of demand, while reduced wind means turbines barely supply any electricity. Furthermore, due to the Covid-19 crisis, the maintenance of many French nuclear power plants has been postponed and is currently taking place. In addition, due to the very low water levels of the major rivers in Europe, there is less cooling water available for the power stations.
The shortages are leading to high prices, especially in the evening hours: on the wholesale market, up to €400/MWh (megawatt hour) are paid for the supply of electricity between 7:00 and 8:00 PM.
“These prices can be compared to acute winter situations,” said Matthias Detremmerie, electricity trader for Elindus, an energy supplier to businesses.
With a 31.3 degrees reading, it’s the warmest 15 September in Belgium since the beginning of measurements, with the previous record (29.3 degrees) dating back to 1947. Weatherman David Dehenauw said that it’s the first time since 1919 that Belgium beat records two days in a row in September.