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Electricity generation and electricity trading in October 2021

10 November 2021 – Generation from photovoltaic (PV) installations was higher this October than in any October on record. Overall electricity generation was down 1.1% compared with the same month of the previous year, and electricity consumption was down 1.6%. Germany was a net exporter in commercial foreign trade and the average wholesale price was €139.49/MWh.

Electricity consumption and electricity generation

Electricity consumption (the grid load) this October was 42.3 TWh, 1.6% lower than in October 2020 (43.0 TWh).

Generation from conventional sources was 0.2% lower and generation from renewable sources was 2.1% lower, resulting in overall generation down 1.1% compared with October of last year.

A look at the individual conventional energy sources shows that, as was the case in September, hard coal-fired generation in particular was higher, up 43.4% compared with October 2020. Electricity generation from other conventional energy sources was up 4.6% and generation from nuclear energy was up 3.2%. By contrast, generation from natural gas was down 29.8%, generation from pumped storage was down 13.6% and generation from lignite was down 3.2%.

The profitability of gas-fired power plants has declined because gas prices are higher compared with last year, and that in turn has increased the competitiveness of hard coal-fired plants in spite of the high costs for emission allowances. The cost advantage of gas-fired power plants with regard to emission allowances has been superseded by the higher costs of gas.

The decrease in electricity generation from pumped storage is due to the ongoing maintenance work at Germany's fourth largest pumped storage power station "Wehr", which belongs to Schluchseewerk AG. The maintenance work is due to be completed in mid-November. Various blocks of the "Vianden" pumped storage power station in Luxembourg, which feeds into the Amprion control area, are also gradually being updated. That work will likely continue until the middle of 2022.

Golden October – lots of sun and a whole lot of solar power

Looking at renewables, electricity generation from photovoltaic installations has changed significantly. Generation from PV installations (3,220.4 GWh) was up 48.9% compared with October 2020 and at its highest level on record for the month of October. In addition to October 2021's favourable weather conditions, continuing expansion also played a role.


Overall generation from renewables was, however, down 2.1% from October 2020 and covered 48.5% of electricity consumption (the grid load).
Generation from hydropower, in particular, was 36.3% lower. This is due to maintenance and modernisation work being conducted on several power stations in Germany's control areas. For example, since late September work has been underway to fully modernise the Töging hydropower plant, which has a rated capacity of 85.3 MW. The work is due to be completed by the end of January 2022.

Electricity generation from other renewables was down 12.7% compared with October 2020, onshore wind generation was down 6.1%, offshore wind was down 5.5%, and biomass generation was down 4.5%.
Feed-in from wind power plants was especially high in October 2020 and accounted for 31% of total generation. This October, wind power plants accounted for 29.4% of total generation.

The charts below show the hours of the month with the highest and lowest levels of generation from renewable energy sources. The highest levels came during the two storms "Hendrik" and "Ignatz".

Wholesale electricity prices

The average wholesale price in Germany this October was €139.49/MWh, which was four times higher than in October 2020 (€33.97/MWh). The trend of rising wholesale prices seen in recent months continues.

The lowest price (minus €2.02/MWh) was recorded on Sunday 3 October between 4am and 5am. During this time, 95.9% of electricity consumption was met by renewable generation. SMARD data cannot provide a reliable answer as to whether continuous conventional generation prevented renewables from fully covering electricity consumption. The Bundesnetzagentur examines such situations in its reports on minimum generation.

The highest price of the month (€442.90/MWh) was recorded on Thursday 7 October between 7pm and 8pm. This was also a new record for the highest price since the introduction of the Germany/Luxembourg market area.
During this hour, a very low level of renewable generation (7.8 GWh) coincided with a high level of electricity consumption (65.6 GWh).

Day-ahead wholesale prices in Germany

October 2021

October 2020

Average [€/MWh]

139.49

33.97

Minimum [€/MWh]

-2.02

-54.97

Maximum [€/MWh]

442.90

78.68

Number of hours with negative prices

7

18

Number of hours with
prices >€100/MWh

506

0

As in the previous months, the overall reason for the higher prices is the conventional power stations' high generation costs. These costs include the costs for fuels and emission allowances, both of which remain high and strongly influence the wholesale price. In addition, there has been a lower level of feed-in from renewables.
In October 2020 the high amount of feed-in from renewables resulted more frequently in negative prices, which led to a lower average.

Commercial foreign trade

There is an interaction between supply and demand across the whole of Europe. Electricity is produced within Europe wherever it is cheapest. When Germany imports electricity, it benefits from the more favourable conditions for generation in other countries, and vice versa. The respective countries' wholesale prices on the day-ahead market are the result of this interplay. A lower price in Germany than in the Netherlands, for example, shows that generation is cheaper here and therefore electricity is exported to the Netherlands. The common market causes the prices to converge. Price differences remain whenever there is a shortage of options for transmitting the electricity.

The average price in October in Germany's neighbouring countries was €138.35/MWh, which was again nearly as high as Germany's average price (€139.49/MWh). The lowest average price of €86.20/MWh was registered for Sweden 4, and the highest average price of €198.27/MWh was registered for Switzerland.


Germany was a net exporter in commercial foreign trade. Germany exported 2,393 GWh more electricity than it imported.

Germany was a net exporter of electricity to:
•    Austria, with 2,539.3 GWh (October 2020: 1,606.3 GWh)
•    France, with 933.7 GWh (October 2020: 843.7 GWh)
•    Switzerland, with 607.1 GWh (October 2020: 365.1 GWh)
•    the Netherlands, with 406.8 GWh (October 2020: 413.4 GWh)
•    Luxembourg, with 340.8 GWh (October 2020: 336.7 GWh)
•    Belgium, with 106.4 GWh (trading was not yet possible in October 2020)

Germany was a net importer of electricity from:
•    Denmark, with 1,285.5 GWh (October 2020: 721.2 GWh)
•    Poland, with 468.2 GWh (October 2020: net export of 283.7 GWh)
•    Sweden, with 309.6 GWh (October 2020: 282.6 GWh)
•    Czechia, with 283.0 GWh (October 2020: net export of 407.7 GWh)
•    Norway, with 195.7 GWh (trading was not yet possible in October 2020)

The market situation is the reason why Germany was a net importer in trade with Denmark. With an average wholesale price of €116.90/MWh in the Denmark 1 zone and €106.68/MWh in the Denmark 2 zone, it was profitable for Germany to import electricity from Denmark. Also, in October 2020 electricity trading with the Denmark 2 zone was not possible due to maintenance work on the KONTEK interconnector.


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