October 5, 2016 / 9:16 AM / a year ago

EUROPE POWER-French spot soars on tight supply worries after outages

* Two unplanned outages reported in France overnight

* Lingering worries over tight French supply

* Strong power demand expected on Thursday

* Forward curve track gains in oil and other fuels

PARIS, Oct 5 (Reuters) - European spot electricity prices for next-day delivery rose on Wednesday with the French contract hitting its highest level since January on tight supply concerns as two unplanned outages were announced overnight.

Unplanned outages were reported at EDF’s 1,300 megawatt (MW) Paluel 4 reactor and at Engie’s 428 MW Cheylas 2 gas-fired plant, French power grid operator RTE said on its website.

Both plants are expected to resume full production by Thursday.

“It is all on concerns over French supply. That is what is driving the market,” a Paris-based trader said.

European power prices have soared to one-year highs in the past week on French nuclear power supply worries ahead of winter when demand for heating is set to increase.

Nuclear power accounts for about 75 percent of French electricity needs. According to Reuters tabulation, 22 out of 58 French nuclear reactors are currently on planned or statutory outage representing about 36 percent of its installed nuclear power capacity.

French baseload power price for Thursday delivery rose 9.75 euros or 25 percent to 48.75 euros /MWh. The German contract also gained 1.25 euros or over 4 percent to 32.25 euros /MWh.

French power demand is seen rising day-on-day on Thursday by 1.2 gigawatts to over 50 GW as temperatures fall 1.9 degree Celsius to average 13 degrees. In Germany, demand will rise by 850 MW day-on-day to over 70 GW.

Along the forward power curve, prices rose on Wednesday tracking gains oil and other fuels.

Oil prices rose in early trading on Wednesday after a report that U.S. fuel inventories may have fallen for a fifth straight week, but contracts remained near the $50 marker where many traders currently see fair value for crude.

The German benchmark Cal‘17 year-ahead baseload contract was up 2 cents or 0.67 percent to 30.15 euros a megawatt hour (MWh).

The less liquid equivalent French contract also gained 3 cents or 0.76 percent to 39.60 euros /MWh.

Front-year EU carbon allowances was up 2.5 percent to 5.34 euros a tonne.

Coal, which accounts for more than 40 percent of German power generation, rose 0.92 percent to $65.65.

In eastern Europe, the Czech year-ahead 2017 contract was untraded with a bid/ask price of 30.50/31.00 euros /MWh.

The spot price for Thursday gained 16.5 euros or 53.23 percent to 47.50 euros/MWh after utility Cez said its 1,080 MW Temelin unit 2 nuclear plant was still offline and was expected to resume production around mid-October

$1 = 0.8952 euros Reporting by Bate Felix; Editing by Keith Weir

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