Electricity Prices In France Have Turned Negative

A combination of decreased demand and increased renewable energy output has led to negative electricity prices in France, temporarily shutting down several nuclear reactors.

A Bloomberg model predicts that daily usage will drop by an average of 6 gigawatts from Thursday to Sunday. The grid operator has requested that Electricite de France SA (EDF) take multiple nuclear units offline due to favourable weather conditions that have increased solar and wind power.

“Sunny and blustery weather has driven up solar and wind generation,” the grid operator said, requesting EDF pause operations at some nuclear reactors. In compliance, EDF turned off the nuclear reactors at Golfech 2, Cruas 2, and Tricastin 1, and it has plans to shut down three more this weekend. In addition, some renewable energy producers will have to lower their output to avoid paying fines when prices are negative.

Since nearly two-thirds of France’s electricity comes from its nuclear fleet, the country is increasingly experiencing negative electricity pricing, especially on weekends. Other regions, such as Spain and the Nordic countries, also experience this problem. The absence of enough battery storage now requires reactors to occasionally shut down when demand is low and renewable output is high, even though the shift to clean energy is crucial for achieving climate targets.

French day-ahead power prices fell to -€5.76 per megawatt-hour in an Epex Spot auction, the lowest level in four years. In a similar vein, Germany’s contract dropped to €7.64.

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