The Tihange 3 nuclear reactor has been unexpectedly shut down since Monday, and it is not expected to be reconnected to the grid until October 15. On Thursday, Doel 2 pulled out after that. This means that only 3.5 gigawatts of nuclear capacity is available.
However, negative electricity prices will be implemented in the short-term Belgian market on Saturday. This is what is called the next day market. On Friday, an average of 140.66 euros per megawatt-hour is paid for electricity the next day. However, on Saturdays between 12:00 and 15:00, electricity prices drop below zero, to -76 euros. Big customers – think energy-intensive companies – are paid to use electricity.
On Saturday afternoon, the Doel 2 is usually already online again, but the power plant is only running at a third of its capacity. So negative prices are paid while the Tihange 3 is not generating electricity and the Doel 2 is only partially generating electricity.
This is due to the large amounts of renewable energy expected on Saturday. It’s going to be a sunny weekend, with warm temperatures and winds that won’t go away until the afternoon. In other words: if the Doel 2 and Tihange 3 were operating at full capacity, the price of electricity would have gone down even more.
The price of natural gas has also fallen significantly. In the next day’s market for natural gas, the price has dropped to €80 per megawatt-hour this week. The sanctuaries are full and the nights are still warm. This means that electricity generated from gas-fired power plants is also cheaper than it was in late August and early September.