Europe Power-Spot up, weather stays in wintry mode

FRANKFURT Mon Mar 18, 2013 11:52am EDT

Drivers stand outside their vehicles stranded in the snow on the M1 highway, west of Budapest, in this March 16, 2013 handout picture by the ORFK (National Police Headquarters). REUTERS/Szabo H. Sandor/ORFK/Handout

Drivers stand outside their vehicles stranded in the snow on the M1 highway, west of Budapest, in this March 16, 2013 handout picture by the ORFK (National Police Headquarters).

Credit: Reuters/Szabo H. Sandor/ORFK/Handout

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FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Prospects of more cold winter weather boosted power demand in mainland Europe at the start of the week, pushing up the prices of Tuesday delivery products in the wholesale market.

Weather reports said cold air masses would stay in place in the region, prolonging increased consumption of power for heating and lighting, although accompanying rain and more solar power were set to boost renewables supply.

German wind power was seen dropping to 7.5 GW on Tuesday and below 5 GW thereafter for the rest of the week, having reached levels of 10 to 15 GW at the weekend.

German baseload power for Tuesday delivery was 5.20 euros up from what was paid for Monday at 42.6 euros ($56.0) a megawatt hour. The equivalent French contract gained 2.25 euros to 60.25 euros.

French households rely largely on electric heaters, which explains why local prices are way above those in neighboring Germany, which heats with oil and gas.

German temperatures are forecast to move up by 1 degree Celsius to a range between 6 and 15 degrees by Thursday, compared with 5 to 14 degrees recorded on Monday.

This is below seasonal norms and there is no chance of a radical change later in the week.

French temperatures were also below seasonal averages.

In thermal supply notices, E.ON's website showed it will keep the 345 MW Scholven C coal-fired block offline until Wednesday for a planned measure, while RWE saw two gas-fired blocks of 355 MW each at its Gersteinwerk plant offline on Monday.

French nuclear capacity was still at 82.37 percent of the total, as the unplanned outage at Paluel 2 continued but it was expected to end on Monday.

Prices on the German power forwards curve fell as lower equities and a stronger dollar pulled down fuels markets, led by oil, with a weaker knock-on effect also seen in the carbon market.

The prices of related fuels and carbon impact on power as generators must add them to production costs.

The German Cal '14 baseload power contract was at 40.45 euros, down 15 cents from its close on Friday and just 25 cents away from its February 1 price of 40.20 euros, the 2013 low.

The same, far less liquid, French contract, Year 2014 base delivery, was steady at 43.60 euros.

($1 = 0.7654 euros)

(Reporting by Vera Eckert; editing by James Jukwey)

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