European gas-fired generation soared since July despite record high gas prices and rapidly tightening Russian supply.
Preliminary data indicates that EU+UK gas-fired generation was up by a stunning 25% yoy since July.
The strong call on gas-fired power plants is driven by several, mainly weather-related factors:
(1) feeling the heat: Europe’s burning heatwave is driving up aircon demand, adding to electricity consumption;
(2) down the drought: hydro generation is down both in Southern Europe and in Scandinavia;
(3) low Rhine levels are adding pressure on coal logistics in Germany;
(4) French nuclear worries: outages, maintenance and inspection are driving down French nuclear output to decade lows.
In essence, Russia’s supply squeeze (flows down by 70% yoy these days) coincides with a surge in gas-to-power demand.
This also highlights, that there is practically no flexibility left in the European power sector, as fuel-switching potential has been gradually eroded through the last few decades.
Today, almost all of Europe’s demand-side flex comes from industry: industrial gas demand is down by an estimated 20-25%.
Most worrisome is that around 70% of Europe’s fertilizers production is already curtailed.
This certainly helps to save gas and fill-up storages, but is likely to exacerbate the food supply crisis…
What is your view? How will the European market evolve in the coming months? Will gas burn in the power sector remain high over the winter?
Source: Greg MOLNAR