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Western Price Survey

June 30, 2017
Power Prices Moderate as Heat Exits

As hot weather dissipated across much of the region, demand slackened and power prices generally followed.

Most Western daytime power prices lost value in June 23 to June 30 trading. Palo Verde daytime power lost the most, down $19 to $34.10/MWh by June 30. Prices ranged from $22.60/MWh at Mid-Columbia to $34.10/MWh at Palo Verde.

Off-peak values saw a similar trajectory, with Palo Verde down $20.45 to $26.50/MWh.

The exception to these trends is Mid-Columbia, which has been relatively inoculated against the weather-driven pricing for weeks by virtue of its ample hydro generation and frequent upticks in wind production. Daytime power prices for the hub increased $2.60 on average to end at $22.60/MWh June 30.

Likewise, Mid-C off-peak power increased $4.95 throughout the week to end at $15.15/MWh. This was in stark contrast to the start of the week, when the hub traded at -$1.60/MWh.

What changed? The Bonneville Power Administration’s hydro generation fell sharply, from a high of 13,658 MW June 23 to 7,898 MW by June 29 (see BPA chart).

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In California, rivers were raging—the Department of Water Resources estimated that roughly 3 inches of snow-water equivalent per day melted the week of June 19 during an extreme heat wave.

There is still “a considerable amount of snow yet to melt,” according to the agency. As of June 29, the statewide snowpack had a snow-water equivalent of 1.8 inches, which is 92 percent of average for the date.

Meanwhile, working natural gas in storage was 2,816 Bcf as of June 23, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates. This is a net increase of 46 Bcf compared to the previous week.

Storage levels are now 10.2 percent less than a year ago and 6.9 percent greater than the five-year average.

National natural gas consumption dropped 1 percent compared to the previous report week. Natural gas use for power generation fell 4 percent week over week.

Henry Hub gas spot values gained 17 cents between June 22 and June 29, ending at $3.02/MMBtu.

Western natural gas prices varied. Alberta gas gained the most, up 10 cents to $1.75/MMBtu in trading, while Southern California Border gas shed 12 cents to $2.73/MMBtu.

CAISO demand peaked at 39,953 MW June 26 and then decreased as the week progressed. Looking ahead, demand is forecast to reach 41,400 MW July 6.

Total renewables generation on the CAISO grid during the week reached 15,155 MW June 29. Solar generation reached 9,849 MW June 27, while thermal generation peaked at 18,248 MW June 25. –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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