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Western Price Survey

June 12, 2015
California Solar Generation Shines

California solar generation has set another record. The latest all-time solar peak recorded by Cal-ISO was 6,191 MW set June 11, breaking a record set June 7.

"We are seeing more consecutive hours of 6,000-plus MW production," according to Cal-ISO spokesman Steven Greenlee, "and so it would be fair to say we are looking at the new normal."

Another 130 MW of solar generation is expected to be available before the end of 2015. Between June 2014 and June 2015, an additional 2,040 MW of renewable generation came on line in California, 2,000 MW of which was solar. These additions are typically between 10 and 30 MW in size, says Greenlee.

Total Cal-ISO renewables reached 9,750 MW June 10. Thermal generation was strong between June 7 and 10, with a peak of 22,385 MW June 8.

Peak demand on the Cal-ISO grid reached 40,324 MW June 8, which should prove the week's high. Northwest Power Pool demand reached a peak of 59,618 MW that same day.

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In the gas market, working gas in storage reached 2,344 Bcf as of June 5 according to U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates, a net increase of 111 Bcf from the previous week. Storage levels are now 47.3 percent greater than a year ago and 1.9 percent greater than the five-year average.

Inventories are forecast to reach nearly 4 Tcf by November, according to Barclays analysts, who add that this could be a record amount of gas in storage as well as "yet another bearish sign for 2016 [natural] gas prices, especially if next winter is mild."

Monthly average natural gas prices should rise this summer, according to the EIA's Short-Term Energy Outlook, but are expected to remain below $4/MMBtu.

Henry Hub gas spot values rose 28 cents in Thursday-to-Thursday trading, ending at $2.88/MMBtu June 11. Western natural gas prices jumped, adding between 20 and 36 cents. El Paso-Permian and El Paso-San Juan Basin posted the greatest gains, up 36 cents in trading, both ending at $2.69/MMBtu.

Average daytime power prices in the West gained between $2.20 and $5 in June 5 to June 12 trading. Average daytime prices ranged from $30.95 at Palo Verde to $37.75/MWh at South of Path 15. Off-peak prices also moved higher [Linda Dailey Paulson].

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

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