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Decrease in conventional generation - Electricity generation and electricity trading in November 2020

11 December 2020 – Total electricity generation in Germany in November was 2% lower compared with a year earlier. While renewable electricity generation was up by 9.3%, conventional generation fell by 8.1%. Electricity consumption was down by 0.5% compared with the same month of the previous year. Overall, Germany was a net exporter in November.

Germany's total electricity generation from renewable and conventional energy sources in November amounted to 44.3 TWh, which was around 2% below the November 2019 amount of 45.3 TWh.

Electricity consumption fell from 42.1 TWh in November 2019 to 41.9 TWh this November, a decrease of 0.5%.

Highest and lowest outputs of renewable electricity generation

Electricity generation from renewable energy sources reached its highest level of around 54 GWh on Monday 2 November between 12pm and 1pm when electricity consumption totalled 71.8 GWh. This was around 14% above the previous year’s highest level of generation (47.4 GWh). During this time there was a high level of onshore wind generation at 32.9 GWh (60.9%). Solar generated a further 9.3 GWh (17.2%) and offshore wind farms generated 5.5 GWh (10.2%). Generation in this time period from biomass and hydropower was 4.4 GWh (8.2%) and 1.8 GWh (3.3%), respectively. The remaining 0.1 GWh (0.2%) came from other renewables.

Generation from renewable sources was at its lowest level of 7.1 GWh on Friday 27 November between 6am and 7am when electricity consumption totalled 60.9 GWh. In this hour biomass accounted for the largest portion of renewable generation with 4.5 GWh (63.4%), followed by hydropower with 1.5 GWh (21.1%) and onshore wind farms with 0.7 GWh (9.9%). Offshore wind farms and other renewables generated 0.4 GWh (5.6%).

The wholesale electricity price in Germany

Wholesale prices for electricity were lower compared to a year earlier. In November, the hourly products on the EPEX Spot day-ahead market were traded at between minus 10.48 and plus 110.13 euros per megawatt hour (€/MWh), resulting in an average price of €38.79/MWh. This was €2.22/MWh lower than the average price in the same month of the previous year (November 2019: €41.00/MWh). The increase in generation from renewables and the resulting negative wholesale prices both contributed to the lower monthly average.

The lowest price on the electricity exchange of minus 10.48 euros per megawatt hour occurred on Monday 2 November between 3am and 4am. During this time strong winds contributed to correspondingly high renewable energy generation (37.9 GWh). Negative wholesale electricity prices were recorded in 9 of the 720 hours of trading this November. In the same month of the previous year there were no negative wholesale electricity prices.

The highest exchange price was recorded between 5pm and 6pm on Thursday 26 November and was 110.13 euros per megawatt hour. Electricity consumption was high (70.1 GWh) and there was a low level of generation from renewables (10.8 GWh) during this time.

Wholesale prices in Germany

November 2020

November 2019

Average [€/MWh]



Minimum [€/MWh]



Maximum [€/MWh]



Number of hours with negative prices



Data basis: smard.de

Commercial foreign trade

In total, Germany exported 3,259.6 GWh more electricity than it imported in November, making it – as in the same month of the previous year, when it exported 4,082.9 GWh – a net exporter. Net exports in November were thus significantly less this year.

Changes in imports and exports are the result of frequent price fluctuations and are part of normal market activity. They reflect the interaction of supply and demand throughout the whole of Europe. At what point in time electricity is imported or exported does not depend solely on supply and demand, but also on the electricity prices of the other countries. Wholesale prices determined as a part of market coupling result from what are known as the relative generation costs, which vary over time. Among other things, wholesale prices reflect the costs for fuels or C02 certificates, which in turn depend on other factors.

Commercial trading on the Aachen Lüttich Electricity Grid Overlay (ALEGrO) began on 18 November. This is the first direct electricity link between Germany and Belgium.

The chart shows the daily commercial foreign trade between Germany and Belgium, and the Belgian wholesale price from 18 November to 30 November. (Data source:  ENTSO-E)

Germany was a net importer this month only from Denmark (around 692 GWh) and Sweden (100 GWh). Germany was a net exporter to both countries in November 2019. The reason for the shift from net exporter to net importer in trading with Sweden is the wholesale prices; the average wholesale price in Sweden (€34.60/MWh)) was lower than in the same period of the previous year (€42.31/MWh) and also lower than the average German price. Electricity from Sweden was cheaper in 374 of the 720 hours of trading (2019: 220 hours).

At €23.75/MWh the wholesale price in the Denmark 1 zone was significantly lower than the German wholesale price (a difference of €15.04/MWh) and was cheaper in 385 of the trading hours (2019: 82 hours with an average price of €41.75/MWh).  Since September there has been no electricity trading with the Denmark 2 zone due to maintenance work on the Kontek interconnector.

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