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Western Price Survey

April 28, 2017
End of Month Lifts Power Values

Ample hydro has driven Western prices down this spring, but as May approaches, regional peak power prices seem to be perking up.

After a week of soggy values, prices ticked up by as much as $9.60 between April 27 and 28. Even North of Path of 15, which only had six trades through much of April, picked up, with a seventh trade on April 28. Trades Friday were earmarked for May 1 delivery.

Despite the one-day lift, values eroded between $1.10 and $2.85 in April 21 to April 28 trading. Prices ranged from almost $13/MWh at Mid-Columbia to $32.75/MWh at NP15.

Mid-C off-peak prices dipped this week to -$8/MWh, and average prices at the hub fell to a low of -$5.25 April 26. By week’s end, the hub lost $4.35, ending at -$3.55/MWh.

Bonneville Power Administration hydro generation peaked at 13,430 MW April 26, while wind reached 4,449 MW April 26. BPA reported 307 MWh of generation was curtailed April 27. The total curtailment for the year to date is now 75,495 MWh.

Meanwhile, working natural gas in storage was 2,189 Bcf as of April 21, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates. This is a net increase of 74 Bcf versus the previous week.

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Storage levels are now 14.1 percent less than a year ago and 15.8 percent greater than the five-year average. The addition to storage is also the largest reported this early in the season, according to the EIA.

Henry Hub gas spot values shed 3 cents between April 20 and 27, ending at $3.03/MMBtu.

Western natural gas prices followed suit, losing between a penny and 8 cents in trading. Three hubs—El Paso-Permian, El Paso-San Juan Basin, and Southern California Border—each lost 8 cents in the trading period.

Solar continues to set records in California. A new solar instantaneous peak of 9,868 MW was reached April 21, topping a previous peak recorded March 28. Total renewables on the CAISO grid reached 14,229 MW April 23.

CAISO demand peaked in the calendar week at 28,502 MW April 28. Northwest Power Pool demand peaked that same day at 51,000 MW.

The Western nuclear fleet is either currently refueling or in preparation for refueling and maintenance. The 1,190 MW Columbia Generating Station was operating at 75 percent of capacity April 28, according to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. It is scheduled to be fully off line starting May 13. Units now wholly off line include Diablo Canyon Unit 1, which went off line starting April 24, and Palo Verde Unit 2, which has been off line since April 8. –Linda Dailey Paulson.

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

The Western Price Survey is excerpted from Energy NewsData's comprehensive regional news services. See for yourself how NewsData reporters put events in an accurate and meaningful context -- request a sample of either or both California Energy Markets and Clearing Up.

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

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