Houston sees its spot power price spike to $87.50/MWh

Regional spot power prices above $70/MWh have been pretty rare so far this summer. As one CEO said recently, he was still waiting for summer to materialize.

But evidently it has finally materialized around Houston where the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported the nation’s highest spot power price Aug. 8 at $87.50/MWh, which was up 82% from the area’s prior business day.

The National Weather Service (NWS) reported that Houston should see daytime high temperatures hovering in the mid-to-upper 90s for the next several days.

The high spot power price together with Houston’s spot natural gas price of $3.97/mmBtu gave the area a spark spread of $59.71/MWh. The spark spread is a common metric for estimating the profitability of natural gas-fired electric generators.

Despite the price spike in Houston, most of the rest of the nation saw relatively modest spot power prices. The other nine regions tracked by EIA showed spot power prices below $51/MWh on Aug. 8.

Meanwhile the Nymex futures price for September delivery of natural gas was $3.88/mmBtu. The next-month delivery price of natural gas has stayed below $4/mmBtu since July 18, according to EIA figures.

The Nymex futures price is about 4 cents higher than it was a week ago and about 63 cents higher than it was a year ago.

On the baseload nuclear energy front, 99 of the nation’s 100 reactor units were generating power on Aug. 8, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) daily reactor status report.

The Exelon (NYSE:EXC) LaSalle 2 unit is the only one currently listed with zero generation. However, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Browns Ferry 2 unit, which had been offline a couple of days earlier, is back at 60% generation, according to NRC.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.