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Western Price Survey

Week's End Edition
July 6, 2012
Western Prices Get a Spark During Holiday Week

Western energy prices got a boost during the abbreviated Fourth of July trading week.

Prices managed to rise across the West even though the Bonneville Power Administration had so much available hydro it had to curtail wind production. BPA curtailed 17,098 MWh of wind from June 30 through July 3. A total of 37,431 MWh of wind power has been curtailed since April 24, 2012.

Nevertheless, over the June 29 to July 6 trading period, Western peak-power prices picked up between $2.30 and $12.25 on average. South of Path 15 shot up $12.25, ending at roughly $46.30/MWh. Northwestern hubs gained about $9/MWh. Average daytime prices July 6 ranged from almost $28.50/MWh at Mid-Columbia to around $46.30/MWh at Palo Verde.

Meanwhile, off-peak prices at Western hubs gained between $2.50 and $8.55 on average during the trading period. Mid-C led gainers, up $8.55 to almost $8.70/MWh. Off-peak prices Friday ranged from about $8.70/MWh at Mid-C to roughly $27.80/MWh at SP15.

Working gas in storage reached 3,102 Bcf as of Friday, June 29, according to EIA estimates, a net increase of 39 Bcf from the previous week. Storage levels are now 24.1 percent higher than a year ago and 22.7 percent above the five-year average.

Western spot natural gas prices also gained traction over the Friday-to-Friday trading period. Henry Hubnatural gas rose 20 cents to $2.94/MMBtu. In the West, Malin and Ruby-Malin gas jumped 17 cents, to $2.76/MMBtu. PG&E CityGate gained 11 cents, finishing at $3.05/MMBtu. Southern California Border gas jumped 6 cents to $2.86/MMBtu.

Peak demand on the Cal-ISO grid reached a 35,292 MW high Monday. Northwest Power Pool demand reached 52,952 MW Monday; however, the week's peak demand of 53,065 MW should be reached Friday, July 6.

Cal-ISO renewables production continues breaking records. The grid operator reported 975 MW of peak solar production Thursday, July 5, with wind production peaking at 3,346 MW Sunday, July 1. Record-breaking generation should continue as new solar sources come on line in the state this year and next.

The 1,170 MW Columbia Generating Station in Washington state continues operating at reduced capacity to alleviate curtailments of wind through BPA's Oversupply Management Protocol. The facility was operating at 88 percent of capacity Friday, July 6.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission also reports that Palo Verde Unit No. 3 has been operating at 11 percent of capacity since July 5. Jim McDonald, Arizona Public Service spokesman, said the unit's main turbine shut down July 4 after a "grid disturbance." Testing and inspection continue as the unit slowly returns to service.

Both units at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station remain off line as officials examine how the plant, with damaged steam-generator tubes, might be restarted.

What's ahead: The Phoenix area should remain above the century mark through July 12. Both Los Angeles and San Francisco should have sunny days with temperatures in the 70s through Thursday. Seattle daytime highs should be in the mid-70s Tuesday through Thursday. Portland expects temperatures in the mid-80s from Monday into Thursday [Linda Dailey Paulson].

Western Electricity Prices
Week's End: July 2 - 6, 2012
Hub Peak (heavy) Off-peak (light)
Alberta Pool (C$) 6.98-18.23 0-12.84
Mid-Columbia 4.75-33.50 (-)0.75-11.50
COB 17-39.50 10-25
NP 15* 27.50-37 17-24.50
SP 15* 30-47 17.25-28.50
Palo Verde 27-40 14.50-26.75

* Prices represent both day-ahead locational marginal prices (financial swaps, or EZ Gen DA LMPs) and quasi-swap prices (EZ Gen) as reported by ICE.

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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