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GB wholesale market summary – January 2021

This wholesale market summary presents the January 2021 market data for GB. Metrics include power prices, demand emissions by technology, and company and plant performance.

Key highlights in January 2021 include:

  • January 2021 saw the monthly average power price soar to a decade-high of £71.2/MWh. The £17.1/MWh (or 32%) increase from December 2020 and £36.4/MWh (or 104%) increase from January 2020 was the result of a combination of higher fuel prices, carbon prices and demand
  • Due to colder temperatures, low renewable output levels and limited generator availability, January saw several periods of tight system margins. This resulted in National Grid ESO issuing both Capacity Market Notices (CMN) and Electricity Margin Notices (EMN) and turning to higher marginal cost generators. Consequently, these periods saw wholesale prices in excess of £500/MWh
  • Colder temperatures caused monthly transmission power demand in January to increase by 1.0 TWh (or 4%) relative to December 2020, while the share of low carbon generation fell 8 p.p. to 51% of total generation in January
  • Thermal generation in January increased by 2.3 TWh relative to December to meet the increase in demand and meet the shortfall from lower renewables output. As a result, carbon emissions rose by 1.2 MtCO2e (or 26%) compared to December
  • Wind assets saw an increase in their profitability in January as the significant increase in wind capture prices (£15.1/MWh or 31% relative to December) outweighed the 5 p.p. decrease in load factors (to 37%)

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