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Western Price Survey

July 17, 2015
Natural Gas, Renewables Still Strong

Natural gas use for power generation continues driving national consumption.

Natural gas consumption by the power sector reached a record 35.6 Bcf/day July 14, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. This is a high for the year to date. Natural gas use for power generation increased 12.3 percent this week while total U.S. natural gas consumption gained 6.4 percent.

Henry Hub gas spot values rose 20 cents in Thursday-to-Thursday trading, ending at $2.90/MMBtu July 16. Western natural gas prices jumped higher, adding between 17 and 44 cents by the end of the trading period. Southern California Border posted the greatest gains, up 44 cents to $3.03/MMBtu.

The price increases in the Pacific Northwest are the result of "maintenance-driven constraints on Canadian imports and above-average power sector consumption," according to the EIA.

Working gas in storage reached 2,767 Bcf as of July 10 according to EIA estimates, a net increase of 99 Bcf from the previous week. Storage levels are now 30.9 percent greater than a year ago and 2.7 percent greater than the five-year average.

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Renewable-energy generation continues to increase in California. Cal-ISO recorded that total renewables generation reached 10,121 MW July 14. Solar generation continued setting new records throughout the week, with a new instantaneous peak record of 6,329 MW July 16. This surpassed the previous peak of 6,317 MW, set July 15. Thermal generation reached 17,100 MW July 16.

At the Bonneville Power Administration, wind generation reached 4,426 MW July 11. Wind generation neared or surpassed hydro output a couple of times during the week.

Peak demand on the Cal-ISO grid reached 37,727 MW July 16, which should prove the week's high. Northwest Power Pool demand reached a peak of 58,588 MW July 13; however, the week's high may occur July 17, when demand of 59,926 MW is forecast.

Average daytime power prices in the West rose in the July 10 to July 17 trading period, led by California-Oregon Border power, which added $3.85 to $33.90/MWh. Average daytime prices ranged from $30.75 at Palo Verde to $38.15/MWh at SP15.

Nighttime prices were up modestly, with California-Oregon Border rising $1.60 to $26.55/MWh on average. Average nighttime prices July 17 ranged from $25.05 at Mid-Columbia to $26.55 at COB. North of Path 15 posted no trades throughout the week [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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