Jean-Paul Harreman

Belgian FCR prices
hit new record

15th – 16th May 2021

Tight weekends in Belgium, nuclear providing some alleviation.

Due to low demand and expected high wind, the market was well supplied in Belgium.

The Tihange 2 nuclear plant ramped down for maintenance, which created a little more room for flexible gas assets to run and provide the much-needed flexibility to the system. Next weekend will also see Doel 1 ramp down for maintenance, creating more room for gas assets.

Room was also being created for gas assets by selling power abroad. This can be seen in the prices paid for export capacity to Great Britain through Nemolink. The hourly day-ahead capacity price peaked at € 78, well over the € 19 monthly JAO capacity auction.

The fact that flexibility was scarce, reflected in capacity prices for FCR, which reached record levels of over € 1.000 per MW per hour. aFRR did not reach quite those levels, but at highest availability price of well over € 200, prices were extreme there as well.

These extreme prices can be partly explained by the fact that even though the contracted volumes are limited in a small market like Belgium, these services can only be delivered by online plants, which will have a higher output than the sum of required FCR and aFRR, it will therefore require a higher remuneration for the contracted capacity.

Based on the currently available information, the plants Knippegroen and Ringvaart have been kept running over the weekend, whereas Saint Ghislain was started explicitly for the weekend.

This tight situation was caused by a huge over-forecast of renewables, which started in the afternoon of the 15th and lasted until the evening of the 16th.

Things could have been worse if solar and wind had delivered the expected generation levels. Weekends in Belgium will remain very tricky, at least until the pumped storage plant at Coo will return to service, with nuclear switching off, it will be interesting to see what happens the following weekends.

Are you interested in the FCR market?

Our FCR Market Outlook Report provides an analysis of the European FCR market which is also known as Primary Reserve, R1 or Primärregelleistung (PRL). It currently includes Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands, Slovenia and Switzerland.


This report includes indispensable information for active and future FCR market participants such as forward forecasts of the evolution of market prices and details for the various auction structures and results to date.


Make the most of the report: If you purchase the report, you get three months free access to our Ancillary Service platform that provides you with real-time insight into the market.


Contact us for more information.