Record wind power production pushes Belgian electricity price to lowest level this year
On Wednesday morning, wind power production in Belgium reached its highest level on record, high-voltage grid operator Elia has confirmed. As a result, the Belgian electricity price reached its lowest level since 31 December 2021. European gas prices, too, continued to fall on Wednesday for the eighth day in a row.
At 7.15 am, wind turbines in Belgium produced 4.505 MW worth of electricity, equaling the capacity of about four nuclear reactors. The new record is partly due to the expansion of wind capacity both onshore and offshore, says Elia.
A lot of wind is also expected in the next few days, which trader Matthias Detremmerie says will translate into low wholesale power prices and even "very negative intraday prices, " meaning large energy consumers will get money when they consume power. The fact that many companies are closed during the Christmas holidays, and the currently mild temperatures, contribute to the low prices.
Analysts say the mild weather in Europe is playing a role in the drop, as well as the high levels of wind power production.
The Belgian power price reached its lowest level since 31 December 2021. The 'day-ahead price' for that day averaged 9,68 euros per megawatt-hour. At the end of August, the electricity price for next-day delivery reached an unprecedented peak of 700,41 euros per megawatt-hour on average. This was due to record prices for natural gas - caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine - combined with the outage of several French nuclear power plants, a lack of wind power, and high temperatures.
European gas prices also continued to fall on Wednesday for the eighth day in a row. The gas price dropped below 80 euros per megawatt-hour, or below pre-Ukraine war levels. Analysts say the mild weather in Europe is playing a role in the drop, as well as the high levels of wind power production. Additionally, Europe has well-stocked gas reserves.
Last week, European energy ministers announced that a price cap on natural gas will be introduced, which could go into effect from mid-February. In August, natural gas prices soared to 345 euros per megawatt-hour on the wholesale market, an all-time record. Today, gas prices hovered around 77 euros per megawatt-hour, the lowest level since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February.
© BELGA PHOTO KURT DESPLENTER