Average day-ahead, within-day and system prices in Q1 2022 all more than tripled compared to Q1 2021 as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, EnAppSys has found.
During Q1 2022, the average EPEX day-ahead price was £200.80/MWh, while the corresponding Nordpool price was £199.63/MWh — over triple the average prices for the same auctions in Q1 2021. Within day price averages also tripled from £59.62/MWh in Q1 2021 to £194.30/MWh.
Average system prices of £197.64/MWh, meanwhile, were the highest on record, although the peak price in an individual settlement period fell around £2/MWh short of the all-time high peak system price seen in Q3 2021.
The Q1 2022 average day-ahead, within-day and system prices were also more than six times the levels seen in Q1 2020.
While supply levels have not varied, the risk of interruption against a background of increased demand coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic led to high levels of ‘risk’ being priced into the market, EnAppSys said.
Although Great Britain doesn’t import as much coal and gas from Russia as some other countries, the interconnected nature of European markets means that the GB system feels the effects of the uncertainty on global gas prices.
These rising fuel prices fed into the wholesale and system prices, meaning the historic highs of Q4 2021 were maintained despite increases in renewable generation.
Rising power prices across the latter half of 2021 saw a significant number of energy suppliers go bust, with 27 collapsing during 2021 while Bulb entered special administration, and the price cap raised by £694 — over 50%.
It is expected this could rise by a further £600 in the autumn as a result of the sustained high prices.
Paul Verrill, director of EnAppSys, said: “The Russian invasion of Ukraine resulted in uncertainty over the supply of fossil fuels, and subsequently gas and coal prices rose to their highest ever levels. This meant that the least efficient coal units were more cost-effective to run than the most efficient CCGT units for extended periods during the quarter.”
However, less coal generation was seen this quarter than in any other Q1 on record even with the coal units achieving lower breakeven costs than CCGT units for extended periods.
Meanwhile, more wind generation was seen during Q1 2022 than any other quarter on record, with the reduction of CCGT output and increase in wind meaning that the difference between the two was only 1.36TWh.
High wind output – which totaled 23.3TWh in the quarter – also meant that renewables exceeded aggregate fossil fuel generation for a calendar quarter, which has only ever happened once before in Q1 2020.
Wind comprised 68.2% of all renewable generation during the quarter, which EnAppSys said was another all time high.
Overall, gas-fired plants contributed 31.8% to GB’s generation mix in 2021, while wind accounted for 30.7%. This was followed by nuclear (15.1%), biomass (9.2%), imports (6.7%), solar (2.6%), hydro (2.5%) and coal (2.4%).
It follows wind output falling by 5.9TWh during 2021– the largest year-on-year decrease in wind generation in history for Britain. However, during the year renewables’ total was still higher than in 2019.