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Analysis and Environment

Electricity prices in Europe are going negative - and that's bad

Periods of excess electricity production are on the rise thanks to the growth of renewable energy, forcing commercial power generators to sell for negative prices. Unfortunately, this doesn't mean lower household bills

By Madeleine Cuff

21 June 2024

Negative electricity prices can make more economic sense than switching wind turbines off

Peter Brogden/Alamy

The huge growth in renewable energy across Europe means electricity plants are generating more power than is needed, forcing them to pay energy firms to discharge it – effectively, selling at a negative price. On the face of it, this might seem like a good thing for cash-strapped households, but negative prices don’t necessarily bring down people’s electricity bills, and can also bring a host of downsides, including disrupting the business case for building more renewables.

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