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Western Price Survey

July 22, 2016
Western Energy Prices, Demand Up

With temperatures across the West forecast to increase throughout the week ahead, Western peak power prices rose in anticipation of greater air-conditioning and fan use.

California’s Central Valley expects 100-plus-degree days between July 23 and July 28. Red Bluff, for example, should reach 107 °F by July 27, while Fresno expects to reach 104 °F that same day. Likewise, Palo Verde-area highs are expected to remain above the century mark, but could cool from 113 °F July 22 to 106 °F by July 27.

Demand peaked on the CAISO grid at 41,627 MW July 21, but the week’s high demand was forecast to occur July 22, when use was expected to reach 42,178 MW. In the week ahead, demand should reach roughly 44,000 MW on July 25.

Average peak power prices soared between Thursday and Friday alone, with California-Oregon Border rocketing $38.50.

Peak power prices jumped between $9.55 and $45.25 in July 15 to July 22 trading. Prices July 22 ranged from $49.50/MWh at Palo Verde to $72.50/MWh at California-Oregon Border, which saw the greatest gains.

Likewise, average nighttime power prices leapt between $6.50 and as much as $17.20 in trading. California-Oregon Border prices were up $17.20 to $40.35/MWh.

Meanwhile, working natural gas in storage was 3,277 Bcf as of July 15, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates. This is a net increase of 34 Bcf compared to the previous week. Storage levels are now 16.8 percent greater than a year ago and 20.6 percent greater than the five-year average.

Henry Hub gas spot values shed 8 cents in Thursday-to-Thursday trading, ending at $2.70/MMBtu July 21.

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Western natural gas prices varied. Southern California Border posted the greatest gains, up 17 cents to end at $2.91/MMBtu July 21, while Malin values fell 5 cents to $2.64/MMBtu.

In its weekly report, the EIA noted the continued efforts Southern California Gas Co. is making to test the wells at its Aliso Canyon storage field in order to restore them to operation as soon as possible. The testing is being conducted under a protocol developed by California’s Division of Oil, Gas & Geothermal Resources and other experts.

Total renewables production on the CAISO grid reached 11,757 MW July 21. Thermal generation peaked that same day at 18,932 MW, while solar generation peaked at 7,964 MW July 15 [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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