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Europe is living in unprecedented times. The COVID-19 crisis is putting our lives and businesses to the test.
Oesterreichs energie notes that works on refurbishment projects have resumed and are conducted in accordance with strict health and safety measures. Refurbishment projects were on standstill, due to unclear governmental guidelines and closed borders with Italy and Germany, which triggered delays in the delivery of supplies. Read more
Electricity demand increased during the first weeks of May, following a progressive relaxation of lockdown measure. According to the Belgian TSO, Elia, electricity consumption is 11% below the normal levels for this period. In April, electricity demand fell even 16% below the average levels.
Electricity generation fell 10.47% on year, between January and May 2020. While electricity exports dropped 22.43% to 2,585 GWh & imports soared 62.23% to 1,700 GWh. The share of renewables in the electricity generation continued to increase, reaching 1242 GWh.
Clean energy sources accounted for 61% of Eesti Energia’s electricity generation in the first quarter of 2020. The share of renewables increased by 14% this year, while the CO2 emissions dropped 65% to the level of 0.9 million tons.
Customer service centres reopened last week. But health and safety measures continue to be applied, while customers are encouraged to use the online services for both safety and comfort. Applications for new customers, connections, disconnections and transfers can be made via e-mail and fax. Read more
Power demand dropped 18.1% year on year during the last week of April. Czech baseload prices dropped to 8.18 €/MWh, on 1 May, after a having climbed to 27.11 €/MWh on April 27, following the reopening of some industrial consumers.
Electricity consumption fell 10% in the first quarter, against the backdrop of unusually mild temperatures. This lead to the lowest first quarter peak demand of the century, reaching 12.4 GW on 28 February. Electricity prices also declined, as a result of low demand and high hydro and wind availability. Read more
France is set to announce the support to automotive industry, which could include measures to incentivise the customers to buy cleaner vehicles. Measures are also expected to uplift the developments of electric car batteries.
Import constraints and electricity demand well below the seasonal norm kept the day-ahead power prices at low levels during the last two weeks of April. The day-ahead base on the HUPX exchange, which briefly reached about 30 €/MWh during week 17, reverted to Eur25/MWh for much of following week.
A study conducted in Iceland found that more than 90 % of corporate executives believe revenues will decline between the second quarter of 2019 and the same quarter this year. Due to the impact of COVID 19 on the Icelandic business community, they estimate an average drop of revenues of 50%. Read more
The Electricity association of Ireland flags the need to enable COVID19 testing for critical workers in the power sector, to ensure their ability to carry out their roles. Current restrictions have brought construction projects to a standstill and caused delays in the delivery of new clean energy installations. Read more
Power demand soared beginning of May, as lockdown restrictions were loosened. According to the Italian TSO, Terna, on Monday the peak power consumption rose 11% compared to the previous week.
Wholesale electricity prices increased, as wind power supply sharply dropped. Data from Refinitiv Eikon showed that power generation from wind turbines was forecast to fall to 3.8 GW on Tuesday after 22.8 GW predicted on Monday.
Greek power demand slides down for the seventh month in a row, as a result of mild winter complemented by the lockdown measures announced in March. Before the COVID19 outbreak, the two-month demand was already 4% down on the year and it continued to fall in March, decreasing 6% on year. Lignite-fired generation dropped 65% on year, as a result of high carbon process, aging infrastructure and government objective to phase it out by 2028.
Latvenergo notes that the construction of new power plants or the modernisation of existing ones are affected by travel restrictions, followed by imposed self-isolation, applied to foreign contractors. In addition to border crossing restrictions, the shutdown of Italian and French factories triggered delays in the production and delivery of components and equipment. Read more
Lithuania celebrates 128 years since the opening of its first power plant. Since the confinement measures do not allow for a physical visit, “Ignitis gamyba” offers a virtual tour of the Kaunas hydroelectric power plant, which has also celebrated its 60th anniversary on April 18, 1960. Take the virtual tour here.
The government has announced plans to meet the CO2 emission reduction targets once the economy has recovered post-coronavirus. The ceiling on emissions on coal-fired plants will be reviewed this autumn, to include the emissions reductions resulting from the economic slowdown, but also the fuel-switch pre-dating the health crisis.
Nord Pool data shows that reservoirs across Norway, Sweden and Finland continue to be well stocked, holding around 9 TWh more than in April 2019. In Norway, whose hydro stocks account for three quarters of the Nordic total, the spot power price reached the 4.11 €/MWh, a 20-year historic low. Read more
Electricity consumption remained stable during the last two weeks of April, after a period of continuous drop triggered by the lockdown measures. Data from Entso-E shows that the maximum load April 30 was down 8% year on year, to 19,457 MW. PGE estimates that power consumption in April fell 10 % year on year.
Electricity distribution operators have developed online conference services, providing advice to customers on how to register connection requests, thus reducing the direct contact between customers and employees. This approach proved to be efficient throughout the crisis, triggering the continuation of online and digital services.
Slovenské elektrárne cautions about the risk of significant supply chain disruptions, triggered by a domino effect of plant and factories closures, coupled with supply shortages. In the short term, supply chain could continue due to difficulties in re-launching the production. Among them: delayed workforce return, lack of means of transport for personnel, traffic restrictions. Read more
The Slovenian Energy Agency introduced an extraordinary measure to change the network tariff and reduce the electricity bills. Between 1 March and 31 May 2020, small business and household consumers will not be charged a tariff for capacity. Also network charges for these users will be 33% lower. This measure is likely to affect the revenues of the electricity distribution companies.
Spanish nuclear operating rates are 40% lower than normal. Asco1 and Almaraz 1 are offline for refuelling, with outages due to conclude in June. Such measures would enable the plants to operate and to meet increased demand once the lockdown measures are lifted the economic activities are resumed. Other plants have trimmed their output due to a sinking demand, low pool prices and increased renewable generation. Read more
The Swedish Government announced additional measures to support the companies hit by the coronavirus outbreak. First, it will temporarily alleviate the employer’s contribution through a monthly reduction of 500 € per employee. Secondly, it will cover the first day of sick leave, which was previously supported by companies. A third measure consists of covering a bigger portion of the salary for employees that are temporarily laid off.
Volker Lischke, Head of Business Unit Trading at BKW, talks about new ways of improving exchanges between different teams working remotely. The company moves forward in the preparation to respond to specific emergency scenarios. Employees are now engaged in “VersusVirus”, a hackathon aimed at finding new approaches and solutions to provide decentralised electricity supply during a crisis. More from AES
In April, power process plunged into negative territory 66 times, more than twice the number of occurrences in any previous month of the last 10 years. Demand dropped 15% in April, prompting retailers to pay customers to consume electricity, and charge their EVs.
On 15 April, Kristian Ruby told POLITICO's America Hernandez that:
"A recurring issue in the discussion was unleashing the power of the market by lifting taxation. Right now member states are in a crisis situation, income from labor taxes is declining because people aren’t working, and it’s very tempting to tax electricity more."
"The unified view in our sector was to take the things we know we have to do, and deploy them more and more: invest in renewables, in charging infrastructure for the new electrified transport sector, in district grids that can connect renewables and electric vehicles and electrified heating systems."
"As we close conventional coal plants in Europe we see increased import of unabated, untaxed coal electricity from Russia, Morocco, Bosnia Herzegovina and they don’t have an ETS system so they don’t have this transitional price signal, [...] that creates distortionary competition, and there are appeals among CEOs to the Commission to consider a carbon border adjustment mechanism to avoid this happening."
In a discussion with Giulia Bedini, MLex Brussels correspondent, Kristian Ruby said:
"Power demand has dropped, and so have power prices. This means that revenues for utilities will decrease significantly as a consequence of the crisis,"
"To protect customers, governments issued moratoria on electricity bills. From the utilities’ perspective, this means lower prices and lower revenues, as we can’t collect money from the consumers that own us money."
Their investment capacity will be reduced as consequence of this "twin challenge," Ruby said referring to government measures aimed at protecting vulnerable customers and lower revenues prompted by decreased demand.
"This leads to an investment rate risk for the energy transition."
Kristian Ruby discussed with POLITICO's Aitor Hernandez about COVID-19 impact on investments. Subscribers can read the full Pro Morning Newsletter released on 06 April here.
" With temporary moratoriums on energy bills, plummeting electricity demand and lower power prices, the COVID-19 crisis is likely to affect utility investments throughout Europe. There could be a 10 percent to 15 percent decrease in new investments — something Brussels needs to keep in mind as it begins work on an EU recovery plan. “There is a lot of money in play — ultimately, far more than is being talked about for the Multiannual Financial Framework — and we need to make sure that it’s spent in a green way,” such as electrifying transport and greening buildings. "
InvestEnergy quoted Eurelectric's report on COVID-19, as well as the call of the Electrification Alliance and their partners, to use the Green Deal to restart EU's economy.
Read here the full article, in Romanian, published on 1 April.
Eurelectric report quoted in POLITICO's Pro Morning Newsletter, released on 01 April. Subscribers can access the full text here.
" Even if there are currently no system-threatening situations at hand, the power sector is naturally impacted by the restrictions introduced by EU governments … Low prices, government interventions and customers struggling to pay will inevitably affect the balance sheet of utilities."
"What’s happening in Belgium: 1) Power prices are “very low for the time being.” 2) Power demand has dropped substantially as companies and industries shut down; residential electricity only accounts for 25 percent of Belgium’s power consumption. 3) “Cash collection and bad debts will be a key issue for the suppliers who have very low if not negative margins.”
Kristian Ruby told Sarantis Michalopoulos (EURACTIV) that:
"Contrary to the power sector, transport emissions have continued to increase despite all efforts. To address this, the Commission should forge a coherent, Paris-aligned strategy backed by effective measures as part of the Green Deal.“
“If we put electrification at the heart of Europe’s economic recovery strategy, we have a unique opportunity to deliver on decarbonisation and counter the economic crisis spurred by Corona.”
“During the last economic crisis, governments initiated subsidised car scrapping programmes to sustain demand for new cars. At times, these schemes accounted for the majority of new car sales. If such schemes are tied to purchasing of electric cars, we can accelerate the shift to a decarbonised car fleet and stimulate a crucial industry.”
“Charging infrastructure is another crucial area. We will need to install at least one million charging points over the next five years. Here is another opportunity for policy makers to stimulate the economy while accelerating the decarbonisation of transport.”
Read here the full article published by Euractiv on 30 March.
Answering questions from Tanja Srnovrsnik (energetika.net) Kristian Ruby said:
When designing recovery programs and investment packages to tackle the Corona crisis it is crucial that member states and commission target the programs to areas that will help accelerate the green transition while at the same time ensure economic recovery.
This can for instance be done with subsidised “old-diesel for new-electric” car scrapping programmes or by investing in charging infrastructure for electric vehicles, distribution grids, renewable energy and similar areas.
For more information, read the full article, published by Montel Energetika.net on 27 March.
Kristian Ruby told Bernd Radowitz (Recharge) that:
We see no risks regarding security if supply for the moment. Utilities have been swift in taking action to isolate and protect workers in critical functions. But is it important that specialised personnel has the possibility to travel if necessary. Even if there are currently no system-threatening situations at hand, it is important to allow specialised personnel to travel for specific purposes such as inspection, operation and maintenance of critical installations.
In a discussion with Laurenz Gehrke (POLITICO Europe), Kristian Ruby said:
Utilities realise that governments have a big crisis to deal with and we have to do our bit to help." But, "governments should avoid creating a “situation where utilities get big losses … because they are just like any business in that they have to be paid for the services or commodities they provide." In addition, he explained that he does not doesn’t expect electricity consumption to rise, while bills are suspended because demand has actually gone down as industrial production has stalled.
The information was published in the Energy and Climate monrning newsletter on 19 March.
During an interview with Rainer Lutkehus (Energate), Kristian Ruby said:
A general reduction of societal activity may lead to lower electricity demand, but other factors such as wide-spread teleworking may point in the opposite direction. The impacts will be more immediately evident for other energy vectors. Demand for kerosene, for instance, will see a much sharper decline.
In Europe, the buildout of renewables is mainly driven by political targets. The Corona virus will therefore not have an immediate effect on the incentives for RES deployment. Political restrictions on movement of workers and assembly in larger groups may well cause project delays, however.
As regards negative impact on transition incentives, our concern is mainly in relation to the electrification of transport. Very low oil prices may present a disincentive for road transport electrification.
The full article, in German, was published on Energate's website on 18 March.
Electricity supply ensured, payment solutions offered to vulnerable #customers & #businesses with severe difficulties.— Eurelectric (@eurelectric) March 31, 2020
The #electricity industry acts to alleviate the impact of #COVID19 on customers & society.
Read our assessment here ➡️ https://t.co/VCK79xRCOi#coronavirus
#COVID19 crisis.— Eurelectric (@eurelectric) April 3, 2020
Across Europe, companies are working hand in hand with governments to ensure that #customers can keep access to #electricity even if they can’t pay the bill.
Live news per country here ➡️ https://t.co/nswSkEskFM#COVID2019 #coronavirus #europe
In Belgium day-ahead #electricity price decrease of 60% compared from the average price of April 2019.— Eurelectric (@eurelectric) April 22, 2020
Check our latest news from EU countries here ➡️ https://t.co/os7ldqznFE#coronavirus #electricity #customers
New episode of our podcast ‘Leading the Charge - Episode 3: 'The exit way for the crisis. Is there a way to a Green recovery?'’ with @kristianruby on #SoundCloud.— Eurelectric (@eurelectric) April 27, 2020
🎙️ Check it out here: https://t.co/UKgo3DGXFL#coronavirus #electricity #EUGreenRecovery #energytransition
29/04/2020 updates!— Eurelectric (@eurelectric) April 30, 2020
Dutch government has announced plans to meet the CO2 emission reduction targets once economy has recovered post-coronavirus.
In Spain spanish nuclear operating rates are 40% lower than normal.
All news here ➡️ https://t.co/bYnF9SdFrs#covid19 #electricity
#coronavirus crisis. Our industry is determined to take its part of the challenge.— Eurelectric (@eurelectric) April 7, 2020
Utilities acted fast to ensure that operations & critical staff are protected. As a result, security of supply remains today ensured in all Member States ➡️ https://t.co/Y6kWrvGDzD #COVID2019
#electricity demand is dropping in most markets due to slowdown of #europe’s economy.— Eurelectric (@eurelectric) April 10, 2020
We and our members are working on a more thorough analysis of the situation.
Live update ➡️ https://t.co/EqultSfqZF#COVID2019 #coronavirus #energytransition
Throughout Europe security of electricity supply remains ensured.— Eurelectric (@eurelectric) April 20, 2020
Today we have some new updates from Hungary, Italy, Germany, Poland, Czech Republic.
Live news here ➡️ https://t.co/qEWJIXn9zJ#coronavirus
#coronavirus crisis impact on #electricity.— Eurelectric (@eurelectric) April 23, 2020
Spanish power demand plunged 19% below the 2019 levels.@ElectricityAI flags the need to enable #COVID19 testing for critical workers in the power sector.
Check all the other updates here ➡️ https://t.co/fr2gFN1GBH@aelec_es
#coronavirus crisis. @kristianruby at @rechargenews: "We see no risks regarding security if supply for the moment. Utilities have been swift in taking action to isolate and protect workers in critical functions…"— Eurelectric (@eurelectric) April 2, 2020
Read more here ➡️ https://t.co/YFpRk28SrN#COVID2019
Even if we live in unpreceded times and things are a little different at the moment, our homeworking team continues to get together! Stay strong and safe! 👍 #covid19 #coronavirus pic.twitter.com/66sfwPgKrF— Eurelectric (@eurelectric) April 3, 2020
Have you heard ‘Leading the Charge - Episode: 'Covid19'’ on #SoundCloud?— Eurelectric (@eurelectric) April 8, 2020
In this new podcast @kristianruby analyses the impact of #coronavirus crisis on our industry.
🔊 Podcast here ➡️ https://t.co/2qNsBquJKK#np #COVIDー19 #electricity #podcast
#coronavirus crisis.— Eurelectric (@eurelectric) April 14, 2020
Check the latest news on the impact of COVID-19 on customers and societies here. For country specific information check the "News from our members section" on our dedicated page ➡️ https://t.co/TwIeQmuaRx#COVID2019 #electricity #energytransition
Favourable weather conditions pushed wind and solar output to record highs and triggered negative spot and day-ahead #electricity prices in France, Germany, Ireland and UK.— Eurelectric (@eurelectric) April 17, 2020
Read the article here: https://t.co/pMJyhFoLrq
#coronavirus crisis has put the 🌍 in lockdown & economy on hold.— Eurelectric (@eurelectric) April 23, 2020
The #EUGreenRecovery can restart #Europe and drive its economy with a focus on #renewables, #energyefficiency and #flexibility.
Read our joint call to the EU Institutions: https://t.co/fd1RP5TZqv@EU_Commission
How to stay in touch with your colleagues during #COVID19 lockdown and have some fun?— Eurelectric (@eurelectric) May 8, 2020
This song was composed from 40 different locations. Tomorrow is #EuropeDay and we #StayStrong & united. Enjoy the video!
Full video here ➡️ https://t.co/mMc6GuZprK via @YouTube#FridayFun pic.twitter.com/RxUrSHMHML