EU countries might have to cut power surplus this winter
Some European regions might have to curb electricity generation during weeks this winter as a they lack cross-border capacity to export a surplus, according to the European network of transmission system operators for electricity (ENTSOE) .
High renewable generation and inflexible gneration in Belgium, the Netherlands, Romania and Spain could lead to high overnight exports, ENTSOE said in its winter outlook on Thursday.
The island of Ireland, the Netherlands, Poland and Romania might have to curtail an excess of inflexible generation in case of high renewable – including onshore and offshore wind – output hitting the grid in almost all weeks of the winter period.
Latvia might have to export its generated electricity to neighbouring systems during low-load periods.
ENTSOE said measures to limit the generation surplus might be needed in these countries.
The ENTSO-E winter outlook, which covers the period between 4 December 2013-20 April 2014, shows that supply and demand is expected to be balanced overall in Europe, with only few countries needing imports for supply to meet demand.
Based on the data submitted by each TSO to ENTSO-E, Europe as a whole should have over 100GW of spare capacity to meet demand, with high hydro in south west Europe and a decrease of peak load year on year expected to help the system deal with the trend of mothballing combined cycle gas turbines.
However, the winter outlook shows that in case of severe weather conditions such as cold waves or prolonged cold temperatures, reliability margins would be reduced.
In this case, Croatia, Finland, Hungary, Latvia and Sweden would require imports to maintain the demand and supply balance.
In Poland, the imports needs may exceed available import capacities so specific operational measures are planned, ENTSOE said.
In severe conditions, supply margins in Belgium and Denmark would be squeezed.
In France, the supply balance from mid-January to the beginning of February could be tight if severe cold weather coincides with lower renewable output. Unplanned outages of generating units in the country would also increase risk for France’s supply-demand balance.
French spot prices have been skyrocketing over the past weeks as cold temperatures spurred electricity demand for heating purposes, according to ICIS assessments. On Tuesday the Day-ahead Peak contract reached 81.00/MWh.
As the country’s actual nuclear generation around at 50GW is about 10GW below the theoretical maximum nuclear plant available capacity, the country relies on imports to meet demand which was put around 84GW during peak hours this week by grid operator RTE.
Traders say they do not expect nuclear availability to improve significantly before January. Matilde Mereghetti
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