BARCELONA - Power prices in northwestern Europe have remained weak, despite a recent oil market rally, due to low prices for fuels such as coal and gas, the chief executive of E.ON Energy Trading said on Wednesday.
On Thursday, benchmark oil contracts were trading at around $80 a barrel, up from $70 at the end of September.
During that period, German baseload power for 2010 delivery -- a market benchmark -- has been flat at about 47 euros per megawatt-hour.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Emart energy gathering of European energy traders in Barcelona, Tony Cocker said demand for power was also weak due to the recession, and that supply had increased due in part to growth in renewable energy sources.
Therefore you've seen (power) prices coming off and bouncing back, and they're hovering in a range at the moment, Cocker said in an interview.
Coal has decoupled a little bit from oil, and also gas has uncoupled somewhat from oil. Once those recouple, then the power price will recover, he added.
Cocker noted that signs of economic recovery in Germany, France and Britain could help drive power prices, but he could not say how long that may take.
Industrial demand will start to increase, but you have to put that against the fact that it dropped a lot, so a small percentage of growth from a low base is not enough to bring us back to where we were, he said.
(Reporting by Martin Roberts)