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Western Price Survey

September 14, 2018
CAISO Renewables Generation Base Grows

More than 600 MW of renewable generation has been installed on the California Independent System Operator grid since January, according to data from the grid operator, bringing the total amount of renewables capacity to 22,225 MW.

Roughly 425 MW of solar generation came on line between January and September, and another 198 MW of wind and 5 MW of biofuel generation were added within that period. An additional 1,954.47 MW of renewables should be on line before year’s end, the ISO said.

Total renewables on the CAISO grid reached 15,834 MW Sept. 11, supplying roughly 44 percent of demand.

CAISO demand peaked at 38,536 MW Sept. 7, which should be the week’s high. Thermal generation supplied roughly 41 percent of demand that day.

Nationally, hydropower provided 7 percent of renewables in 2017, according to a Sept. 11 report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, but by 2019, wind generation is expected to surpass hydro. As other renewable sources have grown, hydro’s dominance has fallen. Hydro was the top renewable generation source in 28 states in 2007, according to the EIA, but by last year hydro could only claim that mantle in 19 states.

Washington had the largest share of hydroelectricity, which supplied 72 percent of the state’s total electricity generation in 2017.

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California had the greatest share of solar generation among states in 2017, at 16 percent. Solar output had surpassed hydro in the state in 2015 when drought affected generation, according to the EIA.

Western peak power prices dropped between $4.25 and $9.50 in Sept. 6 to Sept. 13 trading. Demand decreased almost 12 percent between Sept. 7 and Sept. 13. California-Oregon Border peak power lost the most in trading, falling 24 percent to $30/MWh. Daytime power prices ranged from $27.80/MWh at Mid-Columbia to $37.25/MWh at South of Path 15.

Off-peak power prices generally moved lower in Thursday-to-Thursday trading, save for North of Path 15 nighttime values, which added 5 cents to reach $31.05/MWh. COB off-peak power fell $7.50, ending at $25.50/MWh.

Henry Hub natural gas spot prices rose 5 cents in Thursday-to-Thursday trading, ending at $2.93/MMBtu.

Western natural gas values generally moved lower in trading. SoCal CityGate fell 72 cents to $3.71/MMBtu. Alberta natural gas proved the exception, up 30 cents to 97 cents/MMBtu.

Southern California Gas Co. natural gas inventories were at 78.2 Bcf as of Sept. 13, according to the EIA’s Natural Gas Weekly Update, which is the highest storage level this year to date.
–Linda Dailey Paulson.

Archives of the Western Price Survey for the past year are also available online.

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