High electricity costs loom over northern Sweden

Highest electricity prices in four months in the north. Archive image.
Highest electricity prices in four months in the north. Archive image.

Electricity prices are rising on the Nordpool power market. For electricity customers in northern Sweden, Tuesday's price is the highest in more than four months. Bad weather could push prices even higher, warns expert Christian Holtz of Merlin & Metis.

Ekonomi 6 november 2023 16:15

On Tuesday, the price of electricity on the Nordpool power market will rise to a daily price of 97 kronor per kilowatt-hour in all price zones. The hourly price peaks at 1.69 kronor per kilowatt-hour during the so-called peak hour between 18:00 and 19:00.

In the two electricity price zones in southern Sweden - SE3 and SE4 - prices were even higher on October 27. But in the SE1 and SE2 areas - roughly north of the Dalälven River - the price is now at its highest level since the end of June.

Not enough wind

Ice problems for hydropower, too little wind on the continent, and an increasing need for heating as temperatures drop are behind the upward pressure on electricity prices, according to Christian Holtz, electricity market analyst at consulting firm Merlin & Metis.

– Tomorrow there will be slightly less wind than today, and consumption will be slightly higher. Then, thirdly, there are higher electricity prices on the continent. This means that in the hours when we are connected to the continent, there will also be higher electricity prices in Sweden, says Holtz.

There have been reports of ice problems at the Stornorrfors hydropower plant. This is a seasonal factor that occurs when temperatures drop and the water in the reservoirs freezes.

– It has some impact, says Holtz.

Hydropower plants often temporarily shut down production before winter to allow for controlled ice formation.

–  So that big chunks of ice don't get into the turbines and slow down production, Holtz explains.

Better-filled reservoirs

The situation for this winter looks better than last year. But Holtz says it is not out of the question that power prices will continue to rise, and we could see another winter of unusually high prices.

– There is more geopolitical uncertainty than usual at the moment. But at the same time, the situation for this winter is much better than last winter. First of all, we have more gas in the storage facilities on the continent. So for the hours that we are dependent on imports, there are better conditions this winter to import electricity at reasonable prices," he says.

In addition, the water reservoirs in the Nordic hydropower system are better filled this year than last year, according to Holtz.

Also, the problems with nuclear power in Sweden, Finland, and France that characterized the beginning of last winter do not seem to be a problem this year.

– Conditions look good, he says.

But he says it would be wrong to dismiss the danger.

– Last winter we were saved by a mild and slushy winter. If instead we have a cold and dry winter with little wind - well, then there is a lot of upside potential for prices this winter as well.

Ämnen du kan följa