European countries slammed with record energy prices as winter weather arrives
France will shut down 14 of its 56 nuclear reactors until Jan. 23
European electricity bills have surged as fears of a gas supply shortage drives up the price of power across the continent.
Russia’s inactive Nord Stream 2 pipeline and cooler weather sparked concern in Europe that has given way to a harsh reality: Every country except Poland and some of the Scandinavian countries have recorded a price of over 300 euros per megawatt hour (MWh) for the coming week.
France and Switzerland recorded prices closer to 400 euros per MWh, Javier Blas, Chief Energy Correspondent at Bloomberg, tweeted.
The price surge resulted from a number of factors, including a sharp drop in temperature while countries suffered low winds and some nuclear outages in France, increasing the reliance on natural gas power.
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"The weather scene in Europe has been dominated by a blocking high-pressure which could persist," Marex said in emailed note to Bloomberg on Friday.
The trend started just after summer, with France and Germany recording prices at around 160 euros per MWh in September, according to The Economist. Those prices represented a 48% and 36% rise in price at the time.
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Germany in November then suspended approval for Nord Stream 2, citing concerns over the operation of the pipeline, The Guardian reported.
Germany’s energy regulator said that the approval would resume once the Nord Stream 2 Company, registered in Switzerland, transferred assets and staffing budget to its German subsidiary.
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"A certification for the operation of Nord Stream 2 will only be considered once the operator is organized in a legal shape compliant with German law," the regulator said.
But Germany had doubled its reliance on the pipeline prior to the suspension, putting it and other European countries in a tight spot heading into the winter season.
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And France shut down the operation of four of the country’s biggest nuclear reactors over safety concerns. The shutdown, which started Sunday at noon local time, will remain in effect until Jan. 23.
France will overall halt operation of 14 of its 56 reactors starting Monday.