LITHUANIA – ENERGY
Warm January weather across the region has resulted in stable natural gas prices, relatively low consumption and unexpectedly high electricity production at power plants. All of this has reduced wholesale market electricity prices by more than half compared to the December average, according to a press release from Lithuanian electricity transmission system operator Litgrid.
In January, the average wholesale electricity price in Lithuania was 103 EUR/MWh. This is 61% less than in December, when the price was €264/MWh. According to Aistė Krasauskienė, head of market development at Litgrid, at the end of January we can say that we avoided a cold winter.
“Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, this winter was considered one of the biggest energy challenges for Europe, so we prepared for the worst-case scenario and intensively filled our gas storage facilities. However, by the end of January we see that the worst-case scenario did not come true and that the winter is still warm.
In Lithuania, the average temperature in January was positive and about 3°C higher than the long-term average. Partly as a result, electricity consumption in January was 2 percent lower than in December. Because of the warm winter, European gas storage facilities have been emptied more slowly and gas prices have been stable and on average half as much as in December,” said Krasauskienė.
The significant increase in electricity production from renewable sources has also contributed to lower gas consumption, she said.
“In January, Lithuanian wind farms produced about 60 per cent more electricity than in December. Imports from Latvia also almost doubled, replacing imports from Poland and partly from Scandinavia. Due to unusually high water levels in January Latvia’s hydro power plants produced 4.5 times more electricity than in December, increasing output from 142 GWh to 629 GWh. Generation is usually this high only in late spring, during the thaw. This amount alone would have been enough to cover our entire January consumption, so the cheap surplus electricity from Latvia has significantly contributed to lower prices in the region,” said Litgrid’s Market Development Manager.
In January, electricity prices decreased in all Nord Pool exchange areas, with the biggest price decreases in Sweden and Finland. In the Baltic Sea region, the most expensive electricity was registered in Poland, where the wholesale electricity price reached 132 euros per MWh in January.
Electricity consumption in Lithuania last month was estimated at 1,066 GWh, down 2 per cent from around 1,090 GWh in December. Compared to January 2022, when consumption was 1,187 GWh, this year’s January consumption is about 10% lower.