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Western Price Survey

August 8, 2014
Power Prices Stay on Hot Path

Power prices jumped last Friday in expectation of hot weather, especially in the Northwest, then dropped midweek as cooler weather arrived. Prices jumped again Aug. 8, however, with forecasts calling for Monday highs of 90 °F in Seattle and Portland.

Between Aug. 7 and 8, peak values in the Northwest spiked roughly $16/MWh, with Mid-Columbia and the California-Oregon Border surpassing the $50/MWh mark on average. However, in the Aug. 1-8 trading period, Northwest peak prices fell about $12. Elsewhere in the West, hubs shed a few dollars since last Friday. Average peak prices ranged from $45.75/MWh at Palo Verde to $55 at California-Oregon Border.

Off-peak prices saw similar movement patterns, with Northwest hubs finishing around $35/MWh (see chart) after a one-day jump of about $8. Average off-peak prices on Aug. 8 ranged from $35.05 at Mid-C to $42.45 at South of Path 15.

Working gas in storage reached 2,389 Bcf as of Aug. 1, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates, a net increase of 82 Bcf from the previous week. Storage levels are now 18.4 percent less than a year ago and 20.3 percent less than the five-year average.

Natural gas values rose, with Henry Hub natural gas spot values jumping 23 cents since last Thursday to trade Aug.7 at $3.98/MMBtu. Western prices also moved higher. El Paso-Permian gas posted the greatest gains, adding 24 cents to end at $3.95/MMBtu. SoCal Border, however, only gained a penny to $4.20/MMBtu.

Renewable-energy production on the Cal-ISO grid reached 8,575 MW Aug. 6. Solar production peaked at 4,700 MW the next day, which isn't far off the record of 4,801 MW reached July 21 (see "Power Gauge," next page).

Peak demand on the Cal-ISO grid was 43.5 GW on Aug. 1, but for the trading week peak demand was 37,504 MW on Aug. 6, which should be the week's high. Northwest Power Pool demand was 58,054 MW that same day, but the week's high demand was expected on Aug. 8, when use is forecast to reach 58,554 MW.

Natural gas prices as a whole were higher in July compared with July of last year, though Malin appeared to lag slightly behind the five-year average. For power, average prices in July were much tighter than those in July 2013 as the high average prices that month surpassed $100/MWh -- the result of an early-month heat wave (see "Price Trends," next page) [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.

Please contact with questions or comments about this site.

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

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