Northwest has nation’s highest power price; prices increase in East

The Northwest, which is experiencing unusually high temperatures, was listed with the nation’s highest spot power price on Aug. 4 at $63.35/MWh.

Both Portland and Seattle were expecting high temperatures in the upper 80s on Aug. 4 before falling back into the 70s by Aug. 6, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).

The Northwest also reported the nation’s largest spark spread at $37.66/MWh, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). The spark spread is a common metric for estimating the profitability of natural gas-fired electric generators. The spark spread is the difference between the price received by a generator for electricity produced and the cost of the natural gas needed to produce that electricity.

Spot power prices increased for eight of the 10 regions monitored by EIA on Aug. 4.

The Mid-Atlantic was the region that recorded the highest jump in spot power prices. Its spot price of $47.34/MWh was 30% higher than the prior business day.

The price was next-month delivery of natural gas remains cheap at $3.80/mmBtu. The gas futures price has been below $4/mmBtu since July 18, according to EIA figures.

The Mid-Atlantic recorded the lowest spot natural gas price of anywhere in the nation on Aug. 4 at only $2.17/mmBtu.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) listed only two of the nation’s 100 nuclear units at zero generation early Aug. 4. They are the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Browns Ferry 2 and the NextEra Energy (NYSE:NEE)/Florida Power & Light (FPL) Saint Lucie 2 units.

Also the Exelon (NYSE:EXC)-run Ginna nuclear unit was listed at only 2% generation.

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.