Western Europe's power sector gas demand rises
London, 6 March (Argus) — Western Europe's power sector gas demand was higher than a year earlier last month for the first time since August.
Cold weather boosted electricity demand across much of Europe, although the increase in gas burn was small in most countries.
UK power sector gas demand climbed in the first half of February but fell later in the month. A cold snap pushed NBP prompt prices up enough to encourage running the remaining coal-fired plants ahead of gas-fired units.
Gas has been consistently ahead of coal in the merit order in recent years, aside from brief periods of strong gas demand or unplanned outages such as last month.
But gas had also been uncompetitive with coal in early February 2017, while strong wind generation limited demand for thermal output last month.
Gas burn climbed to 662 GWh/d from 609 GWh/d while coal-fired generation dropped to 4.04GW from 5.19GW.
Dutch power sector gas demand appeared to edge higher, although government data are not yet available. Industrial consumption, which includes the power sector, increased and was the highest for any month since February 2012.
Low wind generation and high power demand boosted German and Spanish gas-fired output.
But French gas-fired generation edged lower, despite the cold weather. Nuclear and hydroelectric output climbed last month, limiting the need for gas and coal burn to meet the high power demand.
Italian power sector gas demand also dropped after being strong last winter because of low hydroelectric generation and weak power imports from France.
Western Europe's power sector gas burn rises GWh/d
NBP day-ahead climbs above fuel-switching in late February p/th
French generation mix GW