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The wholesale market is a series of buyers and sellers, the sellers being the generators and the buyers being the suppliers.
The suppliers have a 'demand' for energy according to their portfolio of customers and how and when those customers use their energy.
Some suppliers need to buy all their energy from the wholesale market, and therefore are exposed to market risk on all their trades, whereas others, with generation capacity, only have to to buy a section of their energy this way.
Generators have a 'supply' of energy from their plants. The volume that they produce is dependent on when and for how long their plants are operating.
Depending on the source of generation and the amount produced, the price at which the generator is willing to offer their product differs greatly. The generator can directly sell energy to their linked supply business or they can choose to 'auction' any spare capacity on the market for any supplier to purchase.
Between the two parties, the generator and the supplier, a bilateral agreement needs to be struck for:
In every individual bilateral contract these terms can and do vary greatly.
And to understand more about the volatility of the market, visit our How Energy Prices Move Over Time guide.