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What’s Behind Europe’s Skyrocketing Power Prices

Energy prices skyrocketed as economies emerge from the pandemic — boosting demand just as supplies are falling short. Coal plants have been shuttered, gas stockpiles are much lower than normal and the continent’s increasing reliance on renewable sources of energy is becoming a vulnerability. Even with mild weather, benchmark gas prices traded as high as 100 euros per megawatt-hour on Oct. 1, the first day of the official heating season for the European energy markets. That’s up almost 400% from the start of the year. Italy’s ecological transition minister, Roberto Cingolani, said he expected power prices to increase by 40% in the third quarter. In the U.K., CF Industries Holdings Inc., a major fertilizer producer, shut two plants, and Norwegian ammonia manufacturer Yara International ASA curbed its European production because of high fuel costs. Mining company Boliden AB says the record prices will boost costs for the industry for years to come. 

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