FR Baseload Power price (€/MWh)
FR Peak load Power price (€/MWh)
EUA price (€/t)
PEGN Gas 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)
Prompt and month-ahead contracts:
French electricity demand averaged 66.8GW at the max in December, up by almost 10GW m-o-m. Following a cold spell that hit most of NWE in the first half of the month – with France registering a high of 82.4GW at the max on Dec 12th – demand decreased significantly thereafter prompted by mild temperatures and the impact of the Christmas holiday period.
In terms of generation, nuclear power production averaged 38.3GW at the max, still at very low levels due to ongoing maintenance works – namely related to corrosion issues encountered. However, output was up by 7.5GW at the max when compared to November. And it was not until the beginning of January this year that it managed to reach the 44GW mark – a first since February 2022. As for fossil-fuelled production, both gas and coal were on the up during the first half of the month, with gas reaching a high of 9,7GW at the max and coal running at full capacity. Still, the onset of milder weather conditions and reduced demand in the second half of December brought their overall output down, resulting in a monthly average of 7GW and 1.1GW at the max, respectively. On the renewables front, it´s worth noting that while hydro generation was quite healthy – averaging 6.3GW at the max –, wind power output was exceptionally high in wks 52 and 53, reaching an all-time high of 15.6GW at the max on Dec 30th.
As for gas prices, TTF spot contract was up by an average EUR25.455/MWh after closing at EUR64.00/MWh on the EEX on Sat, Dec 31st. The contract followed a significant bullish trend right up till the middle of the month (with a high of EUR148.715/MWh registered on Dec 8th). This increase was supported by: 1) a cold snap that affected NWE; 2) fears that the need of gas for heating demand would result in high withdrawals from gas storages; 3) reduced pipeline supply from NOR (which has now become Europe´s main piped gas supplier) and, 4) reduced nuclear power generation. From Dec 17th onwards, the contract turned significantly bearish on the back of milder weather conditions, a notable increase in wind power output – both in FRA and GER –, a healthy flow of incoming LNG cargoes, and prospects of muted demand during the holiday season.
In December, FRA spot power baseload contract, which was up by an average EUR79.00 m-o-m, was highly volatile, with prices ranging from EUR465.49/MWh on Dec 12th to EUR4.38/MWh on Dec 31st, with the last days of the month seeing some hourly prices fall into negative territory amid mild and windy weather. All in all, the contract moved very much in tandem with gas prices and the additional impact of emissions prices, with the EUA Dec’22 contract on the increase during the first 14 days of the month, namely on fears that the cold snap being experienced would call for additional thermal generation. The equivalent peak power contract added an average EUR91.54 m-o-m after closing at EUR7.53/MWh on the EEX on Dec 31st.
Regarding month-ahead contracts, FRA Jan’22 power baseload contract was especially bullish during wks 49 and 50, very much in line with the spot context. However, from Dec 12th onwards, the contract turned bearish on the back of ample gas supply, data showing that FRA nuclear power availability was slightly improving, and forecasts pointing to a mild start for January. All in all, the contract was down by an average EUR372.74 m-o-m after expiring at EUR202.50/MWh on the EEX on Dec 30th. Its equivalent Feb’22 contract closed at EUR247.70/MWh, down by EUR317.92.
Medium and long-term contracts:
On the curve, FRA Cal23 power baseload contract, though rather stable at the beginning of the month, took a bearish turn from Dec 12th onwards, mainly due to a significant decrease in gas prices. The contract expired at EUR271.73/MWh on the EEX on Dec 28th, down by an average EUR61.65 m-o-m. However, it´s equivalent Cal24 contract gained an average EUR6.48 after closing at EUR240.35/MWh. As for quarterly contracts, Q123 registered the highest drop, of EUR226.33 m-o-m, after expiring on the EEX at EUR257.89/MWh on Dec 28th. Q223, however, was down by just EUR10.88 after closing at EUR191.90/MWh on Dec 30th.
In terms of underlying commodities, TTF Cal23 contract was overall bearish throughout the month, though quite volatile, registering a max of EUR149.109/MWh on Dec 7th and a min of EUR85.590/MWh on Dec27th, and eventually expired at EUR86.770/MWh. Despite a rather stable to bullish start of the month, the contract lost ground on the back of: 1) Brussels’ announcement that an agreement had been reached on a gas price cap; 2) ample gas storage levels across Europe thanks to a mild end of the year, 3) improved nuclear availability and, 4) the expansion of LNG regasification facilities, especially in GER, with one of them already having piped some gas into the grid. As for TTF Cal24, the contract was down by EUR3.590 after closing at EUR74.810/MWh on Dec 30th.
On a special note, and as mentioned above, EU members finally reached an agreement on Dec 19th on a gas price cap as an additional measure to contain the impact of the current energy crisis. The cap will be triggered if the TTF front-month contract, which serves as the European benchmark, exceeds EUR180/MWh for 3 consecutive days and if the price is EUR35/MWh higher than a reference price of a basket of existing LNG price assessments for the same three days. This mechanism will come into effect on Feb 15th, 2023, for a period of one year.
As for coal prices, API2 Cal23 contract added USD7.42 after expiring at USD185.48/Tn on the ICE on Dec 30th. The contract was torn between increased Australian coal prices, rising European coal-burn and constrained supply, namely in the first fortnight of December, and a very bearish gas complex towards the end of the month. Its equivalent Cal24 contract closed at USD175.23/Tn, up by USD13.15 m-o-m.
Finally, re. emissions prices, EUA Dec’22 contract added EUR10.77 m-o-m after expiring at EUR84.11/Tn on the EEX on Dec 19th. The contract was namely supported by an imminent option expiry and cold weather conditions during the first half of the month. This bullish trend was only partially offset by the market awaiting and digesting the news on the outcome on the latest ETS reform deal, under which a 62% cut in CO2 emissions by 2030 was eventually agreed, and which would be partially achieved by one-off cuts of 90M EUAs in 2024 and 27M EUAs in 2026. It was also agreed to gradually phase out free allowances to industries set to be covered by the new CBAM by 2034. For its part, EUA Dec’23 contract added EUR9.96 after closing at EUR83.97/Tn on Dec 30th.