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Western Price Survey

July 29, 2016
California Weather, Power Prices Cool

After hot weather sent power demand and prices climbing, regional power values settled lower by week’s end.

Even a temporary lift in prices July 27 could not be sustained, and by July 29, average peak values for Western power dropped between $12 and $38.55.

During the week, California-Oregon Border peak prices varied between an average high of $95/MWh and an average low of $25.25/MWh. Ultimately, COB average peak dropped by more than 50 percent to finish at $33.95/MWh at the end of trading.

Average nighttime power prices similarly tumbled, losing between $7 and as much as $17.35. COB posted the greatest drop, down $17.35 to $23/MWh by July 29. Average nighttime prices at the end of the trading week ranged from $20.50/MWh at Palo Verde to $29/MWh at South of Path 15.

CAISO demand peaked at 45,981 MW July 27. In the week ahead, demand is forecast to remain roughly 41,000 MW or less.

Solar power production as measured by CAISO reached a record-high instantaneous peak output of 8,136 MW July 26. The previous record was 8,115 MW, set July 22. Total renewables production on the CAISO grid reached 11,929 MW July 22. Thermal generation reached a 25,628 MW peak July 27.

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Meanwhile, working natural gas in storage was 3,294 Bcf as of July 22, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates. This is a net increase of 17 Bcf compared to the previous week. Storage levels are now 15.3 percent greater than a year ago and 18.9 percent greater than the five-year average.

The Pacific Region posted no net change in natural gas storage during the report period, and net injections in the region were less than the five-year average for the 12th consecutive week.

Henry Hub spot values for natural gas added 6 cents in Thursday-to-Thursday trading, ending at $2.76/MMBtu July 28. In the West, Southern California Border posted the greatest gains, up 20 cents to end at $3.11/MMBtu Thursday. PG&E CityGate also rose above the $3 mark, climbing 10 cents to end at $3.12/MMBtu.

Hot weather sparked greater natural gas consumption during the week. Natural gas used for electric generation was up 9 percent during the EIA report week, with a record-high use of 40.7 Bcf on July 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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