France overtook Sweden to become Europe's largest net exporter of electricity, while Germany switched from being an exporter to an importer in the first half of the year.

These are the highlights of a new report on European electricity markets published by energy analyst EnAppSys.

The report describes European imports and exports for the first six months of 2023.

The report found that France's net exports totaled 17.6TWh, with the majority of electricity going to the UK (8TWh) and Italy (9TWh).

Jean-Paul Harreman, director of EnAppSys BV, said: "The increase in French exports compared to the previous year is due to the increased availability of the country's nuclear assets. Although the availability is still 10-15% below normal, the installed capacity has increased compared to last year 5 to 10GW, helping France's energy balance shift again towards exports."

It started exporting to the UK again as cheaper power generation products became available on the French market. The price difference ensures that cheaper electricity flows from France to the UK.

Meanwhile, Swedish exports remained stable compared to the second half of last year.

Sweden was the second largest net exporter of electricity in the first half of this year, sending 14.6 TWh of electricity net to other countries, while Spain overtook Germany to become the third largest net exporter, with a total net export of 8.8 TWh.

Harleman added: “Spain still benefits from lower gas prices for electricity generation and large-scale renewable energy generation. A significant increase in Spanish solar capacity has boosted exports.”

"At the same time, in Germany, the closure of nuclear power plants is the main reason for the shift in the energy balance to imports. These closures mean that Germany has to source additional electricity from other countries during periods of low renewable generation."

When considering net exports as a percentage of demand, Bosnia surpassed Bulgaria as the country with the highest percentage of electricity generation exports (44.8%).

Gabor Szatmari, Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) country manager at EnAppSys, said: "Due to the fall in European gas prices from August 2022, Bulgaria's lignite production is priced out of priority by wider European gas production, so the decline in Bulgaria's exports is just as important as Bosnia's. From the second half of 2022 to the first half of 2023, the total amount of hydropower generation will double, with about 87% of the increased production exported to other countries."

In the first six months of 2023, Italy remained the largest net importer, purchasing 25.9 TWh from abroad, of which 9.9 TWh came from Switzerland and 9.5 TWh from France.