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Western Price Survey

May 19, 2017
CAISO Renewables Set New Records

Favorable weather conditions and continued plentiful hydropower led to new records for renewable generation in California.

The amount of all renewables serving CAISO load set a new record of 67.2 percent May 13 at 2:55 p.m. At that same time, solar and wind generation served 58.7 percent of load. During the week, total renewables reached 15,501 MW May 16.

Solar generation continued to shine throughout the week, with it alone serving 47.2 percent of grid load on May 14. Solar generation reached 9,729 MW May 18, with generation at or surpassing 9,000 MW between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

A new instantaneous peak for wind generation of 4,985 MW was recorded May 16, topping the previous record of 4,787 MW, set May 12.

CAISO demand peaked at 29,047 MW May 18, but the week’s high was forecast to occur May 19, when use was expected to reach 31,091 MW.

The promise of warmer weather caused Western peak power prices to jump between $11.65 and as much as $18.20, on average, in May 12 to 19 trading. Hubs saw a single-day spike of roughly $11 to $12 between May 18 and 19; however, California-Oregon Border saw values rocket up $19.25 to end at $39.25/MWh. By May 19, prices ranged from $29.05/MWh at Mid-Columbia to $43.45/MWh at South of Path 15.

No trades were posted at the North of Path 15 hub throughout the week for either peak or off-peak power.

Off-peak power trades saw hubs adding between 75 cents and $4.20. COB added the most, up $4.20 to $8.80/MWh by May 19.

Working natural gas in storage was 2,369 Bcf as of May 12, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates. This is a net increase of 68 Bcf compared to the previous week.

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Storage levels are now 13.7 percent less than a year ago and 12.1 percent greater than the five-year average.

Demand decreased slightly during the EIA’s report week. Total demand was down 1 percent week over week, despite a 10 percent increase in the amount of natural gas used for power generation. The rise was based on warmer East Coast weather.

Henry Hub gas spot values shed 7 cents to end at $3.13/MMBtu between May 11 and May 18. Western natural gas prices followed suit, dropping between 2 cents and 17 cents in trading. Both Stanfield and El Paso-Permian Basin natural gas lost 17 cents, ending at $2.62/MMBtu and $2.67/MMBtu, respectively, May 18.

What’s next: Many Western cities should experience rising temperatures, especially May 22 and 23. Daytime highs should reach 102 °F in Red Bluff, for example, while Arizona sees triple digits starting May 22, lasting through the 26th. –Linda Dailey Paulson.

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

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