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Electricity consumption slightly lower - Electricity generation and electricity trading in November 2021
10 December 2021 - Compared with November of last year, electricity consumption was down 1.2% and overall generation was up 0.7%. The average wholesale electricity price was €176.15/MWh and Germany was a net exporter in commercial foreign trade.
Electricity consumption and electricity generation
Electricity consumption (the grid load) this November was 42.6 TWh, 1.2% lower than in November 2020 (43.1 TWh).
Electricity generation totalled 44.7 TWh in November (2020: 44.4 TWh). Generation from renewable energy sources was around 9.9% lower and generation from conventional sources was 7.1% higher than in November 2020.
Among the conventional energy sources, hard coal-fired generation in particular was higher, up 41.2% compared with the same month of last year. Generation from nuclear energy increased by 17.1%, pumped storage by 8.6% and other conventional energy sources by around 3%. By contrast, generation from natural gas was down 12.8%.
In November 2020 the Gundremmingen nuclear power plant, which has a power rating of 1,288 MW, was not in operation due to refuelling. In November 2021 it was feeding electricity into the grid again.
Higher gas prices compared with last year continue to result in reduced generation from natural gas and increased generation from hard coal.
Pumped storage power station "Wehr" fully operational again
Maintenance work was being done since April on Germany's fourth largest pumped storage power station "Wehr". It has been back in full operation since mid-November.
Work on the "Vianden" pumped storage station in Luxembourg is expected to continue until the middle of next year. Various blocks of the station, which feeds into the German control area of the TSO Amprion, are gradually being updated.
Overall, however, the pumped storage stations' available capacity is higher than in November 2020, which explains the higher generation.
High level of wind power generation from storms "Christian" and "Daniel"
Electricity generation from onshore and offshore wind power stations reached its highest level for the month on 30 November. They generated 886.6 GWh that day, meeting about 55.6% of electricity demand (network load) in Germany. Various storms had already been passing through Germany in the final days of November. High output on 30 November was initially caused by the storm "Christian", followed by the storm "Daniel".
In the month of November, onshore wind generation was nevertheless down 9.7% and offshore wind generation was down 1.6% compared with the same month of the previous year, when several storms had caused generation from wind to be particularly high.
Overall generation from photovoltaic systems was 26.5% lower this November compared with November 2020, which was the third-sunniest November on record (DWD).
Generation from hydropower was also down 29.9% on last year, as was generation from renewables (down 11.8%) and biomass (down 1.9%).
The lower generation from hydropower is due to maintenance and modernisation work being conducted on several power stations in Germany's control areas.
German wholesale electricity price
With an average wholesale price this November of €176.15/MWh, the trend of rising wholesale prices seen in Germany in recent months continues. In November 2020 the average price was €38.79/MWh.
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. 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. In addition, there has been a lower level of feed-in from renewables.
There were no hours of negative prices on the day-ahead market this November. The number of hours with prices above €100/MWh (596 of the 720 hours of trading in November) contributed correspondingly to an increase of the average price.
The lowest price was recorded between 4am and 5am on Sunday 7 November and was €1.47/MWh. During this hour, generation from renewables covered 93.9% of electricity consumption (the grid load).
SMARD data cannot provide a reliable answer as to whether continuous conventional generation prevented renewables from fully covering electricity consumption in this hour. The Bundesnetzagentur examines such situations in its reports on minimum generation.
The highest price of the month (€421.87/MWh) occurred on Wednesday 29 November between 5pm and 6pm. During this hour, electricity consumption was 72.1 GWh. Generation from renewables was 15 GWh and generation from conventional energy sources was 53.5 GWh.
Day-ahead wholesale prices in Germany
Number of hours with negative prices
Number of hours with
Commercial foreign trade
In November the average price in Germany's neighbouring countries (€166.60/MWh) was similar to Germany's average price. The lowest average price of €111.60/MWh was registered for Sweden 4, and the highest average price of €226.89/MWh was registered for Switzerland.
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 Austria, for example, shows that generation is cheaper here and therefore electricity is exported to Austria. The coupled market causes the prices to converge. Price differences remain whenever there is a shortage of options for transmitting electricity.
In commercial foreign trade Germany was a net exporter for the month of November. Germany exported 2,399.5 GWh more electricity than it imported. In November 2020, net exports totalled 3,259.6 GWh.
Germany was a net exporter of electricity to:
• Austria, with 2,162.8 GWh (November 2020: 2,278.9 GWh)
• France, with 1,786.3 GWh (November 2020: 535.2 GWh)
• Switzerland, with 523.7 GWh (November 2020: 205.6 GWh)
• Luxembourg, with 358.4 GWh (November 2020: 336.6 GWh)
• the Netherlands, with 207.5 GWh (November 2020: 396.2 GWh)
• Belgium, with 149.5 GWh (November 2020: 22.7 GWh, trading has been possible since 18 November 2020)
Germany was a net importer of electricity from:
• Denmark, with 1,408.7 GWh (November 2020: 691.5 GWh)
• Poland, with 502.9 GWh (November 2020: net export of 141.2 GWh)
• Sweden, with 348.6 GWh (November 2020: 100.1 GWh)
• Norway, with 335.0 GWh (trading was not yet possible in November 2020)
• Czechia, with 194.4 GWh (November 2020: 134.9 GWh)
Net exports in trade with France were three times as high this November due to the two countries' wholesale electricity prices. Electricity generated in Germany was less expensive in 459 of the 720 hours of trading, making it cheaper for France to import electricity from Germany. This was the case in only 297 hours in November 2020. Furthermore, the average wholesale price in France (€217.06) was also higher than the average wholesale price in Germany. One reason for this was the higher demand for electricity due to cold weather. Many households in France have electrical heating. The higher consumption was accompanied by a lower overall generation in comparison with November 2020.
Another reason the average wholesale price in France was higher than in Germany was that France's electricity generation from natural gas was up 15% compared with the same month of the previous year. As described above, with gas prices as high as they are currently, this strongly affects the wholesale price of electricity. Electricity generation from nuclear energy decreased by 3.8% (source: ENTSO-E).
Net imports from Denmark were higher than in November 2020 in part because electricity trading with the Denmark 2 zone was not possible at that time due to maintenance work being done on the Kontek interconnector.