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Western Price Survey

Week's End Edition
April 22, 2011
Plenty of Power Expected This Summer

In addition to bountiful hydro generation in the Pacific Northwest, the California Independent System Operator reports hydro plus other renewable energy sources should result in sufficient energy supplies for the Golden State this summer.

During the summer months, the probability of rotating power outages in California should be less than 1 percent. Cal-ISO's summer forecast anticipates a 1.5 percent, or 687 MW, growth in peak demand compared with last summer. Expected use should reach 47,814 MW, which the agency attributes to "a modest economic recovery."

Cal-ISO reports that, in addition to having more than enough generation this summer, it has an estimated 2,357 MW of demand-response and interruptible-load programs available to offset demand and to stabilize intermittent renewables. The system operator says 893 MW of a total of 1,158 MW of new generation expected on line by the end of September will be contributed by renewable sources.

The grid operator reported wind generation reached 2,432 MW of peak production Sunday, April 17, besting last summer's 1,915 MW peak.

Cal-ISO also announced the launch of its Solar Today online tool (www.caiso.com/outlook/SystemStatus.html), designed to graphically show the state's solar generation. The new tool complements the agency's existing information portals for wind and renewables.

Working natural gas in storage rose to 1.654 Tcf by Friday, April 15, after a 47 Bcf net injection. The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported storage increases in all three regions for the first time this season. Storage remains 165 Bcf below last year's 1.819 Tcf. Henry Hub spot prices traded at $4.33/MMBtu on April 20, an increase of 19 cents over the previous Wednesday. The EIA noted this price is roughly 10 percent higher than the $3.93/MMBtu recorded last year.

Energy markets were closed in observance of Good Friday. In the abbreviated Friday-to-Thursday trading period, April 15 to April 21, here's how average peak power prices fared in the West:

  • NP15: Down around $2 to about $33.75/MWh.
  • SP15: Down $5 to around $35.90.
  • Palo Verde: Down $8 to $33.30.
  • California-Oregon Border: Down about $8 to $27.75/MWh.
  • Mid-C: Down $10 to roughly $25.05.

Over the same trading period, Mid-Columbia off-peak prices dropped about $11 to an average of $11.50/MWh; South of Path 15 off-peak shed more than $3 to around $22; and Palo Verde nighttime power fell $8 to $24.78.

What's ahead: San Francisco temperatures should reach the upper 60s Wednesday and Thursday, with highs in the 80s Wednesday for portions of Monterey County. Clear skies for Southern California are predicted Tuesday with warmer, possibly wild and windy conditions in areas. On Wednesday some valley areas could reach the 90s. In the Pacific Northwest, a wet, cool system entering Sunday lingers through Thursday [Linda Dailey Paulson].


Western Electricity Prices
Week's End: April 18 - 21, 2011
Hub Peak (heavy) Off-peak (light)
Alberta Pool (C$) 13.66-40.50 15.08-55.89
Mid-Columbia 23.75-36 5-24
COB 26.25-40 12-24
NP 15* 33.50-35.45 20.50-23.65
SP 15* 34.50-39 19.40-24
Palo Verde 32-40.60 21.25-26.25

* Prices represent both day-ahead locational marginal prices (financial swaps, or EZ Gen DA LMPs) and quasi-swap prices (EZ Gen) as reported by ICE.

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


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Contact Chris Raphael, editor with questions regarding Price Survey Content.

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