Exports to France push German record power trade surplus in January
Germany’s export surplus of electricity reached a new monthly record level in January, Bernward Janzing writes in the Tageszeitung (taz). According to Germany’s transmission grid operators, the country exported about seven billion kilowatt hours (kWh) more than it imported during the first month of the year. “Due to the high demand from abroad, Germany’s gas and hard coal plants had an output that they last reached two years ago,” Janzing writes. In France, eight of the country’s 58 nuclear reactors were not operational in the first month of 2019, which is why nearly 1.5 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) were sent across the Rhine River from Germany to cover France’s high demand for heating electricity in the cold month. The annual electricity trade balance between the two countries usually favours France, which in 2018 exported 8.3 billion kWh to Germany. One reason for Germany’s high export volumes to France, the Netherlands and other neighbouring countries are the prices for wholesale power in Germany, which are the lowest for all member countries of the European power exchange market, energy policy think tank Agora Energiewende says.
Due to a very high share of fees and surcharges, power prices for households in Germany were the highest in Europe in 2018. However, the situation is quite different for wholesale power prices paid by electricity retailers and energy-intensive industries. These are much lower than in many other countries, not least thanks to the growing capacity of renewable energy installations.