Western Price Survey
April 29, 2016
Northwest power prices -- both peak and off-peak -- saw a sharp uptick at week's end despite strong hydroelectric generation.
Nighttime power dipped into negative pricing the week of April 18. Mid-Columbia fell to negative 5 cents. The hub recovered to trade April 29 at $11.55/MWh. Likewise, California-Oregon Border gained $12.60 in Friday-to-Friday trading, ending at an average of $16.90/MWh.
Hydroelectric output at the Bonneville Power Administration peaked at roughly 14,145 MW April 24. Production may start tapering in May.
"We will likely reach peak flows and associated production in the next ten days, if we haven't already," noted EnergyGPS analysts in an April 29 newsletter. "Then flows and production will gradually decline and flip to a below-normal condition for June and July."
The firm's analysts said flows in excess of 200 percent of normal on the Columbia in the second half of April pushed runoff for the month to roughly 161 percent of normal to date. May runoff volumes should be normal, according to the report.
In April 22 to April 29 trading, Western peak power prices gained between $2.15 and $5.90. Mid-C posted the greatest gain, adding $5.90 to reach an average of $13.85/MWh.
Average nighttime power prices added between $1.70 and $12.60 in Friday-to-Friday trading. Prices April 29 ranged from $11.55/MWh at Mid-C to $18.45/MWh at South of Path 15.
Meanwhile, working natural gas in storage was 2,557 Bcf as of April 22, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates. This is a net increase of 73 Bcf compared to the previous week. Storage levels are now 51.6 percent greater than a year ago and 48.2 percent greater than the five-year average.
Henry Hub gas spot values retreated 5 cents in Thursday-to-Thursday trading, ending at $1.90/MMBtu April 28.
Western natural gas average values generally followed Henry Hub, eroding between 1 and 6 cents. The exception was Sumas, which jumped 19 cents to end at $1.40/MMBtu April 28.
Demand peaked on the Cal-ISO grid at 28,260 MW April 27, which should be the week's high. Total renewables production on the Cal-ISO grid reached 11,742 MW April 25. Total solar production reached 7,393 MW April 26, while thermal generation was 7,972 MW April 27 [Linda Dailey Paulson].
Archives of the Western Price Survey for the past year are also available online.
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