INTERACTIVE: European power demand improving but outlook mixed

Author: Laura Mendes

2020/10/14

• Slow power demand increase throughout Europe

• Highest increase in some CEE/SEE countries

• Second wave of coronavirus could pressure demand once again

• Heating demand to play key role

LONDON (ICIS)--Power demand across Europe has slowly recovered since June with lockdown restrictions easing, the end of the holiday period as well as businesses and schools reopening.

In September, demand across the 13 European countries analysed by ICIS stood only 2% below the five-year average, up almost five percentages points compared with June.

Since the coronavirus pandemic started, April saw the biggest European power demand drop of 13% below the 2015-2019 average.

So far in October, demand has remained at 2% below the five-year average across Europe. But in some countries like Germany, Denmark, Greece and Hungary, consumption rose above the 2015-2019 average in week 41.

The data does not take into account temperature fluctuations across the different years.

Therefore, the increased demand seen in those countries may also be influenced by temperatures below seasonal norms during this period which boosted heating demand.

SECOND WAVE IMPACT

The data suggests that while overall European power demand is improving, the coronavirus second wave is likely to keep a cap on the recovery in the countries with stricter lockdown measures.

Spain, France, the UK and Italy were the European countries with the highest number of coronavirus cases on 13 October, according to data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

In Spain, the demand drop was around -4% in September, while during the first two weeks of October it was -3%.

Meanwhile in France, the demand drop was the same as in Spain last month. But during the last week it was 2% below the five-year average.

This could potentially be related to the higher use of electricity in France for heating purposes, as temperatures dropped.

In Germany, electricity demand also averaged -4% compared to the five-year average in September. During last week, German power consumption was slightly above the 2015-2019 average for October.

In the UK, the demand drop was around -8% in September, double the amount of Spain and France. This was the same consumption drop as in July.

On the other side, Italian power demand stayed close to the five-year average during September, but then dropped to -2% in the first two weeks of October.

CEE/SEE

Once again, the region which saw the biggest improvement was centraleastern and southeastern Europe.

Demand in Romania, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Greece increased to close to or above the five-year average during September.

However, Bulgaria’s power demand remained 5% below the 2015-2019 average in September and has further dropped to -10% during the last two weeks.

OUTLOOK

European power demand recovery will remain subdued as more restrictive measures are put in place because of the recent increase in the number of coronavirus cases.

However, with cooler weather settling in as winter progresses, heating demand is likely to play a bigger role in overall consumption rates.