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Western Price Survey

May 17, 2019
Northwest Off-Peak Power Prices Dip

A combination of ample wind and hydro generation sent Northwest off-peak power below the $10/MWh mark this week.

While hydro generation in the region peaked at 14,047 MW May 15 and wind resources reached 2,228 MW May 12, both nuclear and thermal generation sources were flat during the week. Fossil-fuel and biomass generation sources fell off May 12 and flatlined at around or less than 200 MW through May 16.

The Bonneville Power Administration is not aware of the root cause of such a decrease in generation output, according to BPA spokesperson David Wilson.

Energy Northwest’s 1,207-MW Columbia Generating Station is now fully off line for biennial refueling.

Mid-Columbia nighttime power dipped to 90 cents/MWh May 14, while California-Oregon Border fell to $7/MWh that same day.

Western peak power prices fell between 50 cents and as much as $8 in May 9 to May 16 trading. Mid-Columbia lost the most value, tumbling $8 to $15.40/MWh. At the end of trading, prices ranged from $14.75/MWh at Palo Verde to $25.80/MWh at North of Path 15.

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Among Western off-peak power prices, both North and South of Path 15 picked up less than a dollar in trading, while Mid-C fell $14.20 to end at $4.95/MWh May 16. Values ranged from $4.95/MWh at Mid-C to $23.90/MWh at SP15 at the end of trading.

California Independent System Operator demand reached 28,106 MW May 15, which should be the week’s high.

Total renewables on the CAISO grid reached 15,314 MW May 13, meeting almost 56 percent of demand. That same day, solar generation resources contributed 11,108 MW, or about 40 percent of demand.

Meanwhile, Henry Hub natural gas spot prices added 3 cents in May 9 to May 15 trading, ending at $2.59/MMBtu.

Working natural gas in storage was 1,653 Bcf as of May 10, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates. This is a net increase of 106 Bcf compared with the previous week.

Prices at most Western natural gas hubs fell. El Paso-San Juan Basin natural gas dropped the most in value, down 44 cents to $1.48/MMBtu. SoCal CityGate natural gas was the exception. It ticked up 2 cents to $2.82/MMBtu.

The 1,333-MW Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station Unit 1, which has been off line for refueling and maintenance, was operating at 100 percent as of May 14, according to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission; however, data for May 11 through May 13 is missing from the agency website.
–Linda Dailey Paulson

Archives of the Western Price Survey for the past year are also available online.


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