Sunday 20 January 2019

Wholesale electricity prices increase 10pc month on month

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Ellie Donnelly

Ellie Donnelly

Irish Wholesale electricity and gas prices increased by 10pc and 8pc respectively over the last month, according to the latest Vayu Energy Report.

Factors behind the price increase include the strengthening of sterling over the euro in September.

The recent odourless has incident Corrib gas field, which resulted in an unplanned outage causing gas prices to increase in the UK, also impacted the price.

While there was an increase in wind generated power on the island of Ireland, this increase was not enough to off-set the impact of the rising cost of gas on the power market, as prices there also rose by 10pc when compared to August.

In September wind energy has accounted for approximately 27pc of overall electricity generation on the island of Ireland, compared with 22pc in the previous month.

Wind generation peaked at 2,959 MW on 23rd of September. This peak generation had the potential to meet 67pc of total electricity demand on the island of Ireland at that time.

The average day ahead price for gas was 1.76 c/kWh (cents per kilowatt hour) for September. This compares with an average price of 1.14 c/kWh in September 2016.

The average wholesale price of electricity in the Irish market in September was 4.63 c/kWh, an increase of 28pc compared with September 2016.

"Irish customers were not only exposed to the increasing gas prices, a faltering euro against sterling added to price pressure in euro terms," Keith Donnelly, senior energy analyst at Vayu, said.

Overall wholesale energy prices are considerably higher than 12 months ago, with increased maintenance and outages at gas fields and processing plants across Europe having resulted in wholesale gas prices increasing by 50pc in Ireland and wholesale electricity prices by 28pc year-on-year.

Looking forward a number of issues at French nuclear power plants are threatening to cause havoc with energy markets again this year, as gas prices rallied once news of a shutdown at the Tricastin plant was reported, Vayu said.

Gas is being sourced to replace the power lost due to the closure of generating units at the plant.

"This, combined with the UK facing its first winter without the large gas storage facility, Rough, means that businesses should be prepared for a very volatile market in the coming months," Mr Donnelly said.

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