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Western Price Survey

August 22, 2014
Power, Gas Prices Hardly Move

Western energy prices have fallen flat as summer starts to wane. With moderate temperatures, both power and natural gas prices in the West moved nominally in the Aug. 15-22 trading period.

Power prices dropped, losing two to three dollars in the trading period. Palo Verde posted the largest decline, falling $3 to $40.60/MWh. Average peak power prices by the end of the week ranged from $40.60/MWh at Palo Verde to $51.40 at South of Path 15.

Off-peak prices were mixed during the trading period, varying by a few dollars at most Western hubs. Palo Verde saw the greatest losses, down $3.05 to $34.95/MWh. Average off-peak prices Friday ranged from $34.95/MWh at Palo Verde to $41.50/MWh at SP15.

Working gas in storage reached 2,555 Bcf as of Aug. 15, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates, a net increase of 88 Bcf from the previous week. Storage levels are now 16.4 percent less than a year ago and 17.3 percent less than the five-year average.

The addition was slightly higher than market expectations, according to Barclays analysts.

Natural gas values ended the week mixed, with Henry Hub natural gas spot values up 4 cents since last Thursday, trading Aug. 21 at $3.87/MMBtu. Western prices were also mixed, with prices varying a few cents. Opal natural gas added 4 cents to end at $3.80/MMBtu, while Stanfield gas values eroded 4 cents, ending at $3.75 Thursday.

Renewable-energy production on the Cal-ISO grid reached 8,695 MW Aug. 19. Solar production peaked at 4,821 MW Aug. 15, which is slightly above the current record production of 4,801 MW, set July 21. Thermal generation peaked at 20,679 MW on Aug. 18 (see "Power Gauge," next page).

Meanwhile, Bonneville Power Administration hydro generation remained consistently below 10,000 MW during the week.

Peak demand on the Cal-ISO grid was 41.1 GW Aug. 15. In the trading week, peak demand was 39,832 MW Aug. 18, which should be the week's high. Northwest Power Pool demand reached the week's high of 60,286 MW that same day.

What's ahead: After a forecast high of 87 °F on Aug. 26 in Portland, area temperatures should drop to 77 °F by Aug. 28. Similar changes are expected in Seattle, with an 81 °F high Tuesday and Wednesday, falling to 76 °F by Thursday. San Francisco should stay in the 70s during most of the week, while Los Angeles weather is expected to warm into the mid-80s. Phoenix forecasts call for highs around 100 °F starting Monday [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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