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UK wholesale power prices soar on shortage concerns

[LONDON] British wholesale power prices soared on Wednesday as a number of power plant outages and low wind power forecasts led to concerns over supply.

Day-ahead prices almost doubled to 148 megawatts an hour (MWh) at 0248 GMT, compared with the previous day's close, having hit a session high of 160 MWh.

"There are numerous plants out of action. Some coal and gas plants which are having scheduled maintenance while two unplanned outages are exacerbating the price movement," said Wayne Bryan, analyst at consultancy Alfa Energy.

The Hunterston B-7 nuclear power station suffered an unplanned outage on Wednesday, joining the Hartlepool 1 nuclear plant which began an unplanned outage last week.

Operator of the plants EDF Energy said in a market update Hunterston B is expected to return on Sept 21, while the Hartlepool 1 unit is due to return on Sept 20.

Meanwhile peak wind power output was forecast to be around 1 gigawatt (GW) on Thursday, down from as high as 3 GW earlier in the week.

Britain has an installed wind capacity of around 9 GW.