* French spot for Monday hits 100 euros/MWh
* Concerns over French nuclear power supply persist
* Cold snap expected early next week
* Forward prices down alongside fuels
(Adds details, price updates)
By Bate Felix
PARIS, Oct 7 European prices for spot power
delivery early next week hit new highs on Friday with the French
price briefly touching a four-year high on strong demand due to
forecasts for cold weather and lingering uncertainty about
outages at French nuclear plants.
France's spot power price for Monday delivery
jumped 52 euros early on Friday to 100 euros ($111) per megawatt
hour (MWh), its highest since February 2012 in a rare spike more
typically seen during peak demand on very cold winter days.
The French baseload power price for Monday later
retreated to 73.25 euros a megawatt hour (MWh) but still closed
19 euros higher than the price paid for Friday delivery. The
German contract gained 7.75 euros 46 euros/MWh,
compared with the price paid for Friday delivery.
Prices for other short-dated French power futures eased back
from earlier highs, but remained at high levels, with the
two-week contract at 65.40 euros and the four-week contract at
53 euros. Very short-dated power supply contracts can spike
Spot and forward electricity contracts have surged in the
past week on worries that France, which depends on nuclear for
75 percent of its power needs, could face tight supply on
increased outages and output cuts from its 58 nuclear reactors.
French nuclear power availability was about 39.9 gigawatts
(GW), or 63.17 percent of capacity on Friday, compared with 44.8
GW, or about 71 percent, the same time a year ago according to
Thomson Reuters tabulation
"Many plants are scheduled to resume production soon: if
they don't, prices will keep pushing up," a trader said, adding
that concern about supply from France's EDF was the main driver.
The French state-controlled utility declined to comment.
The company has cut its power output estimate for 2016 and
2017 after saying it had to carry out more tests on 12 nuclear
reactors during their planned outages in the coming months,
which could affect the length of the outages at some plants.
French grid operator RTE reported an unplanned outage at
EDF's 900 megawatts (MW) Cruas 2 reactor on Friday. It
was expected to resume production later on Friday.
A restart at the 1,500 MW Chooz 2 reactor, offline since
Thursday, was delayed until Monday and at the 1,300 MW Paluel 3
reactor, restart was also delayed until Saturday.
German wind power availability for Monday is expected to
fall by 5.2 GW to 1.6 GW, contributing to the scarcity.
Along the forward power curve, prices fell alongside carbon,
coal and oil futures.
The German benchmark Cal'17 year-ahead baseload
contract was down 2.56 percent at 30.50 euros/MWh, while the
less liquid equivalent French contract edged down 1.2
percent to 41 euros /MWh.
Front-year EU carbon allowances fell 2.73 percent
to 5.70 euros a tonne.
Coal, which accounts for more than 40 percent of German
power generation, fell 2.68 percent to $66.25.
(Reporting by Bate Felix; Editing by Ruth Pitchford and Geert