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Western Price Survey

August 1, 2014
Northwest Power Prices Jump

Peak power prices in the Northwest saw sharp gains since last Friday, with average daytime power prices up roughly $19/MWh to end above the $60/MWh mark.

A substantial portion of the gains came at the tail end of the trading week. Mid-C added $8.10 between July 31 and Aug. 1, while COB spiked $12.50 to end at $67.20/MWh.

Seattle expects high temperatures in the low 80s on Monday, while Portland should reach 86 °F.

By contrast, both South of Path 15 and Palo Verde peak prices were relatively flat compared to the previous Friday (see chart).

Off-peak power values experienced a similar trend, with Northwest hubs up roughly $12 over the trading week and Palo Verde and South of Path 15 relatively flat. Average off-peak prices on Friday, Aug. 1, ranged from $37.65/MWh at Palo Verde to $45.75/MWh at SP15(see chart).

Working gas in storage reached 2,307 Bcf as of July 25, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates, a net increase of 88 Bcf from the previous week.

Storage levels are now 18.7 percent less than a year ago and 21.7 percent less than the five-year average.

Natural gas prices generally stalled, with Henry Hub natural gas spot values eroding 5 cents since last Thursday, trading July 31 at $3.75/MMBtu. In the West, the Opal/Kern hub saw the biggest losses, down 10 cents to end at $3.69/MMBtu. By contrast, Southern California Border gas added 4 cents to $4.19/MMBtu by July 31.

Strong production and cool weather are dampening prices, according to Barclays analysts. Current dry gas production has grown to its highest level ever on a monthly average basis.

Renewable-energy production on the Cal-ISO grid reached 7,858 MW July 30. Solar production peaked at roughly 4,370 MW that same day.

Thermal generation was strong throughout the week, exceeding 23,000 MW for four consecutive hours on June 30 and peaking at 25,167 MW July 31 (see 'Power Gauge,' next page).

Peak demand on the Cal-ISO grid reached 43,968 MW July 30, which should be the week's high. Northwest Power Pool demand was 61,911 MW July 28, but use was forecast to reach 62,128 MW on Aug. 1.

What's ahead: Inland areas of the West should remain warm, with Spokane and Pendleton in the 90s the week of Aug. 4. Bakersfield highs should be around 100 °F, while Phoenix highs will rise with 107 °F forecast by Aug. 7 [Linda Paulson Dailey].

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.

Please contact with questions or comments about this site.

Contact Chris Raphael, editor with questions regarding Price Survey Content.

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