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Energy prices in France turn negative as surging renewable output takes nuclear plants offline

Energy prices in France turn negative as surging renewable output takes nuclear plants offline
  • French energy prices fell into negative territory on an overflow of renewable power, Bloomberg reported.

  • Day-ahead prices hit a four-year low of -€5.76 per megawatt-hour in one auction.

  • That caused some French nuclear plants to go offline ahead of the weekend.

Day-ahead energy prices in France fell into negative territory amid surging renewable power production, Bloomberg reported.

The prices, which are locked in before their operating day, fell to a four-year low of -€5.76 a megawatt-hour in an Epex Spot auction.

While soaring wind and solar generation are to blame, demand is also expected to fall between through the weekend. The imbalance has pressured a state-owned utility company Electricite de France to shut off a number of nuclear reactors. Already, three plants were halted, with plans to take three others offline.

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According to Bloomberg, this isn't infrequent and can commonly occur on weekends in France. It's also a pan-European phenomenon, with reactor shutdowns occurring in Spain and the Scandinavian region.

Across the continent, a push to decarbonize energy grids has accelerated a boom in renewable infrastructure. Yet, without the battery technology and investment to store the energy surplus, it's creating pricing inefficiencies.

Negative prices have also hit Germany, where solar inventory has outpaced demand, SEB Research reported in May.

The situation in France is different in that the rollout of renewable power has been slower than in other countries in the region, Reuters said. Paris has installed around 45 gigawatts of wind and solar capacity, and is behind European Commission targets.

A bigger slowdown could be on the horizon amid recent political headwinds, as France's far-right looks set to win in domestic elections.

If the National Rally party wins, it has pledged to slash renewable subsidies and end the wind power industry's expansion.

Read the original article on Business Insider