FRANKFURT, Dec 5 (Reuters) - European spot electricity firmed on Wednesday, with next week peakload delivery in France leaping 16 euros, or 17.4 percent, on the day to 108 euros ($140) per megawatt hour, the highest since Feb. 10.
Traders said cold weather was gripping the region, pushing up private consumers' heating demand especially in France which relies on electric heating devices far more than Germany with its heating-oil and gas-based infrastructure.
Week ahead peak power in Germany traded at 76.50 euros, 1.65 euros up on the day and the highest level since Feb. 9, during a cold snap last winter.
Traders cited upwards momentum as the position attracted buyers hoping to export to France. 'Demand is strong in France and that is lifting the entire region's prices,' one said.
Nearer positions such as day-ahead baseload power in Germany also gained as the demand surge overcompensated rising supply.
German day-ahead baseload power was up 40 cents at 54.25 euros, while the same French contract jumped 4 euros to 62.50 euros.
Wind output in Germany during peak hours was seen at 10 GW on Thursday and 7.5 GW on Friday and solar midday peaktime output was seen at 10 GW.
Thermal supply would have been adequate for the time of year, had temperatures not fallen below average.
Barely above zero now, by Saturday German temperatures will go down to -5 degrees in parts of the country.
Nuclear availability in France remained at 93 percent.
Along the forwards power curve, the French contract for 2013 delivery baseload rose 15 cents to 49.05 euros.
The equivalent German contract, the power curve's benchmark position, gained 7 cents to 46.10 euros. This was barely above its most recent two-year low of 46 euros, hit on Nov. 30 and again on Dec. 3.
In related fuels markets, gas, oil and carbon prices firmed while coal trended weaker.
Brent crude rose to just above $110 per barrel on hopes of stable growth in China, with gains capped by weak euro zone retail data and U.S. jobs figures.
($1 = 0.7642 euro)
(Reporting by Vera Eckert; Editing by Dan Lalor)
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