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Western Price Survey

June 9, 2017
Cold Forecast Dampens Power Prices

An anticipated dip in the jet stream across the Pacific Northwest through June 14 may bring snow with it to portions of the Cascades and Sierra Nevada.

Expectations of colder weather triggered a drop in daytime power prices at week’s end, with Mid-Columbia falling $16.70 to $3.90/MWh by June 9.

California hubs were not immune. South of Path 15 lost $8 between June 2 and June 9, ending at $24.80/MWh.

Meanwhile, Mid-C off-peak power traded at -$3.80/MWh June 9, up pennies in trading. Other hubs lost roughly $2 to $4.

In the Pacific Northwest, both wind and hydro generation have been high. Hydro generation topped out at 14,317 MW June 4 and wind at 4,022 MW June 8. By comparison, regional load maxed out at 7,110 MW June 7.

The combination of high levels of wind and hydro, coupled with a backlog on the transmission system, led to wind curtailments on June 4, according to Energy GPS. A total of 13,859 MWh of generation was curtailed June 3 to June 8 by the Bonneville Power Administration. Total curtailment year to date is now 105,688 MWh.

“This year is looking to be an outlier when you compare it to the past two years as the generation output continue[s] to be strong with no sight of the foot coming off the gas pedal,” Energy GPS analysts said in a June 6 report. Hydro production could be higher, they noted, if not for several units being off line the past three months and no spill occurring at midday “when California net load was low enough to send a price signal to the market that even hydro generation is not needed.”

Meanwhile, working natural gas in storage was 2,631 Bcf as of June 2 according to U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates. This is a net increase of 106 Bcf versus the previous week and the first time the weekly addition has been greater than 100 Bcf since 2015.

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Storage levels are now 11.2 percent less than a year ago and 9.9 percent greater than the five-year average.

Henry Hub gas spot values added a penny to end at $2.94/MMBtu between June 1 and June 8.

Western natural gas prices generally moved higher, adding between 3 cents and as much as 15 cents in trading. Alberta natural gas was the exception, dropping 2 cents to $1.94/MMBtu. El Paso-San Juan Basin natural gas gained the most, adding 15 cents to reach $2.63/MMBtu.

CAISO demand peaked at 32,865 MW June 5, which should prove the week’s high. In the week ahead, demand is forecast to reach 35,490 MW June 15. –Linda Dailey Paulson.

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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