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The electricity market in the fourth quarter of 2023

High wind generation

07.02.2024 – In the fourth quarter of 2023, electricity consumption was only slightly lower than in the same quarter of 2022. Renewable generation was up 25.7% and conventional generation down 21.9%. The average wholesale price was €82.25/MWh, less than half the average price in the fourth quarter of 2022. Germany was a net exporter in commercial foreign trade.

In 2023 electricity consumption (grid load) levels in the months up to October had been lower than in 2022. In October consumption was slightly higher and in November much higher than in the previous year, while in December it fell below the previous year's level again. Overall, consumption in the fourth quarter of 2023 was down around 0.2%.

Record onshore wind generation

Total renewable generation was up 25.7% and conventional generation down 21.9%.

The biggest change among renewables was in onshore wind generation, which was 51.8% up on the same quarter of 2022. This increase was due to growth in capacity as well as favourable weather conditions (DWD). There was a particularly high level of generation in December.
Onshore wind generation amounted to 42.3 TWh in 2023, setting a new record annual high.

Hydropower generation was 18.2% up on the fourth quarter of the previous year. This was due to comparatively high rainfall levels following the very dry weather in 2022.

By contrast, solar generation was down 5.9% compared to the particularly high level of generation in the fourth quarter of 2022, which was due to sunny weather.
There were also decreases in generation from biomass (down 3.7%) and other renewables (down 3.0%).

As regards conventional energy sources, generation from lignite was down 22.9% and from hard coal down 34.9%. The decrease in coal generation was due to the increase in generation from renewables, especially from onshore wind, and to coal plant closures.

By contrast, gas generation was 69.3% up on the fourth quarter of 2022. This increase is mainly due to comparatively lower gas prices, which make gas-fired power stations more cost-effective to run and potentially ahead of coal plants in the merit order. Another reason for the use of gas power plants is their flexibility. They can be switched off and fired up again much faster than coal plants.

Overall, electricity generation in the fourth quarter was only slight lower than in the same quarter of 2022 (down 0.3%), despite the closure of the last nuclear plants.

Average wholesale electricity price half as high as in 2022

The average wholesale price was €82.25/MWh, less than half the average price in the fourth quarter of 2022. There had been large increases in the prices on the wholesale markets for electricity, gas and coal in 2022 following the beginning of Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine. Electricity prices were extremely volatile and closely connected to gas price trends. The fourth quarter of 2022 saw a decrease in electricity prices, which then continued in 2023.

The decrease in prices is due to the high level of renewable generation and the decrease in prices for coal and gas. Coal plants returning to the market or extending operation led to an increase in supply and in turn to lower prices. In addition, there were more instances of negative prices because of the continuous generation from conventional plants.

Day-ahead wholesale electricity prices in Germany

Q4 2023

Q4 2022

Average [€/MWh]



Minimum [€/MWh]



Maximum [€/MWh]



Number of hours with negative prices



 The highest price in the quarter (€265.00/MWh) was recorded between 5pm and 6pm on Thursday 30 November. The high price was due to the small share of generation from renewables (9.9 GWh) and the consequently large share from conventional energy sources. The average price in Germany's neighbouring countries in this hour was €254.00/MWh.

The lowest price in the quarter (negative €13.37/MWh) was recorded between 4am and 5am on Monday 25 December. During this hour, electricity generation exceeded consumption. Generation just from renewables (44.8 GWh) was higher than consumption (38.0 GWh), due to a low-pressure area over Germany (DWD), with wind generation alone reaching 38.6 GWh.

Commercial foreign trade

In the fourth quarter of 2023, Germany had net exports amounting to 1,097.8 GWh, compared to 7,526.6 GWh in the same quarter of 2022. In the third quarter of 2023, Germany had been a net importer.
There is an interaction between supply and demand across the whole of Europe. Electricity is produced within Europe wherever it is cheapest. Germany and the other European countries can all benefit from the most favourable conditions for generation in each case. The wholesale electricity prices and trading are the result of this interplay.

An overview of Germany's commercial foreign trade of electricity in the fourth quarter of 2023:

  • Belgium:
    Exports: 679.1 GWh        Imports: 636.4 GWh
  • Denmark 1:
    Exports: 1,045.6 GWh    Imports: 1,976 GWh
  • Denmark 2:
    Exports: 331.7 GWh        Imports: 324.5 GWh
  • France:
    Exports: 1,321.6 GWh    Imports: 3,125.9 GWh
  • Netherlands:
    Exports: 1,207.3 GWh    Imports: 816.2 GWh
  • Norway:
    Exports: 635.5 GWh        Imports: 1,220.2 GWh
  • Austria:
    Exports: 3,011.2 GWh    Imports: 373.2 GWh
  • Poland:
    Exports: 911.7 GWh        Imports: 574.3 GWh
  • Sweden
    Exports: 179.7 GWh        Imports: 762.3 GWh
  • Switzerland:
    Exports: 1,263.8 GWh     Imports: 898.6 GWh
  • Czechia:
    Exports: 979.8 GWh        Imports: 676.2 GWh


*The actual generation is the net electricity generation. It is the electricity fed into the general supply network less the electricity consumed by power plants themselves. It does not include electricity generated in the Deutsche Bahn network or within industrial networks and closed distribution networks.

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