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Western Price Survey

June 13, 2014
Western Peak Power Prices Lack Mojo

The folkloric double whammy of a Friday the 13th coupled with a full moon ending a trading week failed to conjure up gains. Western peak prices ended the Friday-to-Friday trading period lower, with average prices tumbling between 55 cents/MWh (Mid-Columbia) and roughly $9.45 (South of Path 15). By June 13, prices ranged from $35.85/MWh at Mid-Columbia to $52/MWh at North of Path 15.

Off-peak power prices were mixed, with Northwest hubs up between $3.35 and $11.50. They were led by Mid-C, which ended at $29.20/MWh Friday. SP15 and Palo Verde shed a few dollars, while NP15 posted no trades during the week. Average off-peak prices June 13 ranged from $29.20/MWh at Mid-C to $42/MWh at SP15 (see chart).

Working gas in storage reached 1,606 Bcf as of June 6, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates, a net increase of 107 Bcf from the previous week. Storage levels are now 31.2 percent below a year ago and 35.3 percent less than the five-year average.

"This was only the second recorded instance of more than 100 Bcf of net injections for five weeks in a row," the EIA noted.

The 551 Bcf addition over the five weeks has been enabled by higher gas prices and mild weather that has dampened power-generation demand.

Natural gas prices fell, with Henry Hub spot values down 14 cents since last Thursday, trading June 12 at $4.50/MMBtu. Western prices also dropped, losing between 12 and 18 cents in Thursday-to-Thursday trading. Malin natural gas shed 12 cents to $4.52/MMBtu, while Opal fell 18 cents on average to end at $4.42.

Renewable-energy production on the Cal-ISO grid reached 9,903 MW at 4 p.m. June 11. Solar production exceeded 4,600 MW for two consecutive hours June 6, while thermal generation exceeded 18,000 MW for several hours June 9.

Meanwhile, wind production in the Bonneville Power Administration area has been strong, reaching 4,250 MW June 12. Hydropower production reached almost 14,000 MW during the week before dropping under 10,000 MW June 12.

The runoff to date and its impact on generation is "looking really good," according to BPA spokesman Michael Hansen. "The combination of a picture-perfect runoff and management decisions regarding the operation of the system has put us in a really good position to avoid triggering the Oversupply Management Protocol" [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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