September 17, 2012 / 8:38 AM / 5 years ago

Europe Power-German curve benchmark down at 6-week low

* German Cal '13 base at lowest level since July 31
    * Prompt power plentiful, coal cheap

    FRANKFURT, Sept 17 (Reuters) - Germany's main contract on
the power curve dropped to a new six-week low early on Monday as
cheap coal lowered utilities' bills and plentiful prompt power
supply took any urgency out of covering ahead of the winter.
    Traders said a stronger euro cut buying-in bills of coal
delivered to north-west Europe and carbon emissions rights
prices were also depressed.
    "As long as there is no noticeable shortage of nearby power,
the curve could keep falling," one trader said.
    The German contract for baseload next year, Cal '13, lost 25
cents from Friday levels and traded at 48.45 euros ($64) a
megawatt hour (MWh), the lowest since July 31.
    The same French contract was indicated untraded in last
Friday's closing range of 50.70 to 50.80 euros, at a 2.30
premium over Germany. This reflects anticipated problems with
sustaining French nuclear capacity and production volumes over
the longer term.
    Spot power prices edged a little higher as wind power supply
eased in Germany, the expected maintenance outage of a big
nuclear plant was confirmed and another utility reported a big
coal block offline unexpectedly.
    South German utility EnBW confirmed it took the 1,400 MW
Neckarwestheim 2 reactor offline on Sept. 15 for a four-week
outage. 
    E.ON data showed the utility's 875 MW Heyden hard coal-fired
block will be offline until the early hours of Wednesday, due to
boiler trouble.
    Germany's baseload power contract for Tuesday was 60
cents up from what was paid for Monday delivery at 52.00 euros.
French Tuesday delivery was 30 cents up at 51.90 euros.
    German wind power output will be at low levels below 2 GW up
to close on Tuesday, weather data showed
    It had jumped to 15 GW on Friday when wind and solar
capacity combined exceeded 30 GW in a certain hour, according to
data from power exchange EEX.
    "That sort of situation was a one-off," a trader said.
    The bourse showed that traditional power load - that
produced from thermal plants run on coal, gas and nuclear -
amounted to 38 GW at that time, illustrating how much of supply
can already be derived from renewables, if weather patterns are
favourable.
($1 = 0.7606 euros)

 (Reporting by Vera Eckert; Editing by Alison Birrane)

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