Day-Ahead and Intraday Energy Trading

Day-Ahead and Intraday Energy Trading

Day-Ahead Trading

Day-ahead energy trading refers to the practice of buying and selling energy for delivery on the following day. This takes place in day-ahead markets, which ensure that there is a sufficient amount of energy available to meet expected demand.

In a day-ahead market, buyers and sellers submit bids and offers for a specific quantity of energy at a particular price. These bids and offers are then processed by the market operator, who uses different algorithms to match buyers and sellers and determine the final prices for the day-ahead market. The prices that are determined in the day-ahead market are then used as a reference for the real-time market, which is used to buy and sell energy for immediate delivery. 

The day-ahead market is never completely in line with the actual intraday price because of constant fluctuations in the requirement for energy, however, it provides a good reference for future energy prices one day in advance.

Intraday Trading

Intraday trading on the European electricity spot markets refers to the buying and selling of electricity on the spot market with a time horizon of the same day. This type of trading is done on an hourly basis, with electricity prices being set in real time based on supply and demand conditions.

Intraday prices in energy trading are determined by a number of factors, including supply and demand. This is influenced by market conditions such as weather, fuel costs, and availability of renewable sources of energy. In general, the intraday price reflects the current market conditions and is determined through a combination of market forces and the actions of buyers and sellers.

Intraday prices can also be influenced by other factors, such as the availability of transmission capacity and the use of storage facilities. For example, if there is limited transmission capacity, the price of energy may be higher, as there is less ability to move the energy from where it is produced to where it is needed. Similarly, if storage facilities are being used to store excess energy, this can also affect the intraday price.

Intraday trading allows electricity users to adjust their electricity purchases in response to changes in market conditions and to take advantage of short-term price fluctuations. It is an important part of the overall electricity market in Europe and helps ensure that the electricity system is able to operate efficiently and reliably.

How do spot markets promote decarbonization?

The spot market allows operators of low-cost energy production units, primarily renewables, to be chosen first to produce the electricity required by consumers. This is known as merit order.  This guarantees that they are utilized to the greatest extent possible.

Renewable power-generating units can also recoup a portion of their investment costs thanks to marginal pricing in the day-ahead auction, reducing the need for financial assistance from public budgets.

As renewable energy generation continues to grow, more solutions for when the wind does not blow or the sun does not shine will be required. Spot markets, particularly intraday markets, enable swiftly reactive technology such as peak electricity generation or battery storage, as well as reactive consumers to offer their flexibility over short periods of time when needed. In Europe, this process is managed via ancillary services markets. 

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Spot markets support low-cost, low-carbon power-generating sources, which aids in the EU's efforts to reduce its carbon footprint. They also assist in valuing the technologies and services required for the energy transition, such as demand response and electricity storage.

Cross border trading

In Europe, cross-border energy trading refers to the exchange of electricity and natural gas between countries. This is made possible through the development of a single market for energy, which allows for the free flow of energy across national borders. This is facilitated by a number of interconnected transmission networks, that enable the transfer of energy from one country to another.

Cross-border trading within the EU is developing in a way to strengthen energy security and balance prices. Different countries have different energy mixes that can complement each other and improve resilience. Cross-border energy trading in Europe helps to increase competition and reduce energy prices for consumers, while also ensuring that there is a reliable and secure supply of energy across the region.

Short-Term Trading

Short-term trading refers to the buying and selling of electricity on the European electricity network with a time horizon of one year or less. This can include the trading of electricity spot prices, as well as the buying and selling of futures and options contracts with shorter maturities. The goal of short-term trading is to provide electricity users with flexibility in their electricity purchases and to help balance supply and demand on the grid. It is an important part of the overall electricity market in Europe and helps ensure that the electricity system is able to operate efficiently and reliably.


Energy trading is a vital element in maintaining the dependable and efficient operation of the European electricity system. By facilitating the balance between supply and demand, trading enables the promotion of low-cost, low-carbon power-generating sources. Therefore, it is a critical component of the European energy market, ensuring its effectiveness and sustainability.