Western Price Survey
January 19, 2018
With no extreme weather in the West to spark demand, power prices saw modest movement during the trading week.
Western daytime power prices generally shed between 25 cents and $2.35 between Jan. 11 and 18. Palo Verde was the exception. The hub added $1.25, on average, to end at $25/MWh. Markets were closed Monday, Jan. 15, in observance of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
Peak power prices traded in a range from $20.25/MWh at Mid-Columbia to $34.10/MWh at South of Path 15 by Jan. 18.
Off-peak power prices logged gains of between $1.65 and $2.65 by the close of the trading week, save for SP15, which shed $1.35 in trading. Mid-C gained the most value, up $2.65 to $16.50/MWh.
Nighttime power prices traded in a range from $16.50/MWh at Mid-C to $28.45/MWh at SP15.
Power demand on the California Independent System Operator grid reached 28,619 MW Jan. 17, which was the week’s high. Total renewable generation reached 9,658 MW that same day, while thermal generation reached 10,526 MW Jan. 16.
Meanwhile, working natural gas in storage was 2,584 Bcf as of Jan. 12, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates. This is a net decrease of 183 Bcf compared to the previous week.
Storage levels are now 12.5 percent less than a year ago and 12.3 percent less than the five-year average.
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National natural gas use remained at 102.3 Bcf/day on average again this week, according to the EIA. Natural gas used for power generation increased 6 percent week over week.
Natural gas prices varied throughout the week, with Henry Hub spot prices hitting $5.09/MMBtu before dropping to $3.38/MMBtu by Jan. 18.
Western natural gas prices generally lost between 1 cent and 59 cents in Thursday-to-Thursday trading. Alberta natural gas lost the most value among Western hubs, dropping 59 cents to $1.46/MMBtu.
The Malin, Southern California CityGate, and PG&E CityGate hubs posted gains of between 1 cent and 6 cents in the trading period.
What’s next: Low-elevation rain and mountain snow are expected in the Western U.S. beginning Jan. 22.
Temperatures may drop between 5 and 15 degrees below seasonal norms by Jan. 26, according to the National Weather Service. Southern California expects increasingly drier, warmer weather. –Linda Dailey Paulson.
Archives of the Western Price Survey for the past year are also available online.
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