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Negative power prices the new standard in the Netherlands

Dutch electricity prices are likely to continue dipping well below zero for multiple hours during weekends with sun, wind and typically low demand. Predicted by analysts and traders, mainly due to the influx of solar capacity.

Dutch intraday power prices have dived below € – 700/MWh during various hours as huge renewable energy supply is unable to find demand offtake. The Netherlands has already seen more than 105 hours of negative day-ahead electricity this year till May, compared to 83 hours over the course of 2022.

“Negative prices are now a fact of life,” said Jean-Paul Harreman, director at energy consultancy EnAppSys, part of the Montel group. “On Saturdays and Sundays, we might see negative prices for six to eight hours on a regular basis.”

Overview negative prices 2019-2023

Value negative powerprices EPEX-Spot day-ahead NL 2019- May 2023

Source: Stratergy

On April 18th and May 26th, for instance, European power exchange Epex Spot was forced to hold a second day-ahead auction for the coupled European power market after the Dutch spot price failed to clear above the permitted floor price of € -150/MWh on both occasions. The exchange has told Montel that it is now looking to lower the threshold that triggers a second auction. It is currently discussing the change with its market coupling partner exchanges.

“Negative prices will be most extreme this spring and summer, and there will be more moderate negative spikes next year,” said Stefan Hassels Mönning, senior Energy Portfolio Manager at Dutch Energy Portfolio Management firm COMCAM.

Solar powerhouse

The Netherlands is Europe’s per-capita solar power champion with more than 1 kW installed per inhabitant. Dutch solar capacity reached 19.14 GW last year, a 28% rise on 2021, according to Statistics Netherlands, driven mostly by households installing rooftop panels. With around 80% of Dutch solar panels placed on rooftops or parking lots and their performance data locked away behind official meters, they present a forecasting challenge to TSO Tennet and traders active in balancing the market.

Plenty of solar power early in the year. Solar power yield in the Netherlands in gigawatt hours per day till April 2023.

Over recent weeks, the substantial increase in Dutch solar capacity has shown its full force for the first time as spring weather has brought long, sunny spells coupled with low-demand holiday periods. At the same time, the Dutch market is welcoming new wind capacity, with the nearly 1 GW of onshore turbines added last year and the first turbines of two large offshore wind parks with a combined capacity of more than 2 GW starting to produce electricity ahead of their official opening later this year.

The Netherlands is already exporting as much as possible during peak green production hours, a spokesman for TSO Tennet said. Building new interconnection capacity takes time but is planned, such as the recently announced 1.8 GW LionLink interconnector aiming to link the Dutch and British grids via Dutch offshore wind farms.

As Dutch oversupply is currently driven by weather patterns, surrounding countries often see similar situations, making exports uneconomic. One Dutch-based trading manager said this situation meant that the Dutch market would likely completely decouple from its neighbours more often.

“We will see an increase in the trend of surplus in the grids,” Tennet’s Jorrit de Jong said. “Producers will increasingly need to curtail and we need more flexibility in the system in terms of demand-side response in the industry, batteries, electrolysers and also an incentive for households.”


Flexibility solutions which could help dampen the renewable electricity influx are few and far between in the Dutch market.There is less than 100 MW of battery storage capacity installed, industrial demand-side response mechanisms are not yet widely applied and electrolysers producing green hydrogen are in the planning but will take years to start operating at scale.

“Flexibility solutions will increase and investments in infrastructure are picking up, so obviously that will dampen the effect a bit,” said Hans van Cleef, head of energy research and strategy at Publieke Zaken consultancy. “But at the same time, you will see the percentage of renewable energy sources increase so that will for sure lead to more volatility.”

One of the companies running and developing energy batteries in the Netherlands is Giga Storage, which aims to have at least 3 GW of storage capacity up and running by 2030.

“Around 2030, structurally more than 50% of energy supply will be sustainable and that’s where the tipping point will be, where flexibility will come out on top,” said Giga Storage CEO Ruud Nijs, adding that negative spot prices are helping make the case for building energy storage.

Renewable energy in the Netherlands in 2023 in PJ per month

The average Dutch energie consumption is 175 PJ per month.

Source: Montel, publication by Karolin Schaps & Jeff Coelho