The Week in Flexibility: COVID-19 crisis suppresses system price and UK snaps up French power

We saw supressed system prices all last week, as the COVID-19 crisis and the national lockdown combined with sunny and relatively warm weather to relax demand.

Last Wednesday, in particular, saw a notably long system with the NIV averaging 333 MWh long. The day’s highest system prices were in Settlement Period 38 at £50.95/MWh, with demand peaking in the Settlement Period after (39) at 37.7GW.

It is also worth mentioning that the UK was a constant importer of French power all week, using the maximum capacity of the IFA Cross-Channel interconnector.

Demand has dropped in both the UK and France, however the UK has more flexible capacity in the stack – mainly gas, whereas French supply is dominated by inflexible nuclear power which provides around 50% of power. Renewables and nuclear, in France, make up around 75%, hence prices often tend to be lower in France when there are high levels of solar/wind and they export to the UK. In the UK, gas makes up circa 40% of the installed capacity – hence the UK can absorb additional output by turning off more expensively priced fuel plants and importing cheaper power.

On the approach to the weekend, demand remained over forecast with imbalance being close to zero on Thursday. As the weekend arrived, Saturday was a day of high wind, with an expectation of very low negative prices. However, solar under-delivery meant the system was (broadly speaking) short. Sunday was similar, only this time the notably colder day made demand stronger and the system short.

The dramatic changes taking place in our society as we shift to being a stay-at-home nation, for however long, continue to have a knock-on impact on our power demand patterns.

Stay tuned to our blog for the latest insights.

Flex in numbers:

Top System Price of the week: £50.95/MWh

Lowest System Price: -£6.07/MWh

LJ Instructions: 66