SP Baseload Power price (€/MWh)
SP Peak load Power price (€/MWh)
EUA price (€/t)
MIBGas price (€/MWh)
Coal Price ($/Tn)
Gas efficiency: 52%
Coal efficiency: 38%
Gas vs. Coal Price (€/MWh)
Gas efficiency: 52%
Coal efficiency: 38%
Clean Spark Spread – Baseload (€/MWh)
Clean Spark Spread – Peak load (€/MWh)
Clean Dark Spread – Baseload (€/MWh)
Clean Dark Spread – Peak load (€/MWh)
Spot and short-term contracts:
This month we have seen two different trends. During the first half of December, electricity prices have averaged 137.05 €/MWh (to which, adding the extra cost to consumers due to the adjustment for the gas cap – 67.37 €/MWh – resulted in 204.41 €/MWh), very much in line with the values we saw at the end of November. This high price is due to the daily MIBGas price, impacted by the significant increase in the price of gas in Europe, and because the first week of this month saw low temperatures and a reduction in wind power production. By contrast, in the second half of December, the Spanish electricity market saw its prices fall drastically, reaching daily spot values below 10 €/MWh for the last days of the month. In this case, not only did falling gas prices and CO2 emission allowances have a downward effect on prices, but it was also the increase in solar production that helped Spain´s mainland to reach such low prices.
However, although this was the case in December, this trend did not continue for long. On 2 January, wind power output was almost non-existent, and with it, low electricity prices. Still, prices in Spain are more than 40% lower than in the major European economies thanks to the gas price cap.
To summarise, the extreme volatility in December has been driven by abnormal weather conditions, reduced energy demand, increased renewable output and uncertainty in gas markets.
In gross terms, power demand in December totalled 20.4 TWh, slightly higher than the previous month as temperatures continued to fall for most of the first three weeks of the month, with demand reaching 700 GWh most of the days.
On the generation side, wind power output was the main generation technology of the month, accounting for 25% of the mix, with days where this technology has covered more than 40% of the daily generation mix (12th, 21st, 30th). However, the average of the month decreased by 6% with respect the previous month of November. The next two main sources of generation were nuclear, which accounted for 23% of the mix (up by 3% m-o-m) and CCGTs, with 20%.
On the other hand, hydro was the technology with the greatest variation when compared to the previous month, increasing its share of the monthly mix by 7% to reach 13% of the total. As for the rest of renewable sources, solar dropped slightly, accounting for 5% of the mix.
The decrease in wind power output counterbalances the rise in hydro, resulting in the mix of renewables versus non-renewables remaining approximately at the same levels as the previous month (45%-55%).
Regarding gas prices in Spain (MIBGAS), in the first fortnight the daily price reached 124.4 €/MWh. By the middle of the month, the thermal generation mix changed, temperatures were above average in Europe and plenty of LNG was received, which led to a bearish context that saw gas prices falling below 80 €/MWh. Eventually, December closed at an average price of 101.8 €/MWh, up nearly 40 percentage points from the previous month.
In addition to the above-average temperatures registered in Spain in December, which helped to contain gas demand, the European Union’s agreement on 20 December to cap gas contracts linked to the Dutch TTF natural gas index at 180 euros resulted in gas prices to fall, especially for futures contracts.
As for emissions, EUA Dec22 contract has remained above 80 €/t all month. After reaching a month’s low of 81.07 €/t on 30 December, its equivalent EUA Dec 23 contract was last seen at EUR 83.97 €/t on the EEX, up by EUR 2.9 on the session but almost 3% below last Monday’s (2 January) close at EUR 86.28 €/t.
To conclude, at the Spanish Council of Ministers meeting held on 27 December, the government approved a six-month extension of the tax reductions applied to electricity and gas bills that were due to expire on 31 December this year, as well as freezing the maximum price of a butane gas canister at 19.55 euros.
In this way, the reduction of VAT on electricity bills from 10% to 5%, which applies to consumers, companies, or individuals, with a contracted power of up to 10 kilowatts, will be maintained until mid-2023. Likewise, the reduction of the VAT rate applied to the natural gas bill from 21% to 5% will be extended until the end of June 2023.
Medium- and long-term contracts:
Electricity prices have reached record highs this year and are expected to continue to rise through 2023 if the Ukrainian-Russian conflict does not end and European inflation continues.
In addition to the above, the increase in prices is due to the increase in CO2 emissions costs and the lack of facilities for renewables to meet demand, which means that conventional electricity continues to be the leader and it is the one setting the prices and dominating the market.
OMIP Cal2023 contract price averaged 197.5 €/MWh during December. This was slightly lower than in November, mainly due to the sharp drop in prices in the last week of December, which had a positive effect on futures. As for quarterly contracts, the trend remains the same. Q3 and Q4 are above the annual average, while Q1 and Q2 are below (on average, Q1 and Q2 show an average price in December of 160 and 180 €/MWh, respectively, while Q3 and Q4 show an average price of 220 €/MWh).
The cold weather experienced in the first half of December caused European gas stocks to fall by 12 percentage points to 81%. But thanks to strong LNG supply in the second half of the year and weak demand, stocks are 30 points higher than in 2021 and eight points above the average of the last five years. As a result, buyers have revised down their summer buying forecasts. TTF Cal23 contract has fallen by 40.3% to 86.77 €/MWh and the Spanish MIBGas has dropped by 31.6% to 82.96 €/MWh.
However, these price levels for gas futures in Spain are a mirage due to the high rate of gas storage and low temperatures during the first months of winter, resulting in a ‘tense’ calm with gas prices ‘contained’ between 75 and 150 €/MWh. But the worst may yet to come, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), which warns that 2023 could be «very difficult» for the European Union’s gas supply – and, therefore, for prices – because the reduction in Russian exports means that this flow can no longer be counted on during the coming year, to which a 2022 with «unusually moderate» temperatures that could be very different next year must be added.
Although many European countries are reviewing their energy strategies for the coming years, these will not solve their shortage problems in the short and medium term. Germany, for example, seems to be betting on extending the life of its old and polluting coal-fired power plants, increasing gas imports from Norway, and replacing Russian gas with LNG. France, for its part, is considering renewing its nuclear fleet and investing heavily in renewables.
Finally, futures for CO2 emissions allowances have experienced an increase in its prices for 2023 delivery during the month of December. While the average price in November was 76.26 €/Tn, in December it was 87.02 €/Tn, a 12.4% higher.