Santa bringing lumps of inexpensive coal, energy

Just in time for Christmas, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) is reporting cheap prices for fuel and energy.

For starters, EIA on Dec. 23 reported futures prices for January delivery of Nymex natural gas at only $3.14/mmBtu (which was 9% lower than the prior day’s already modest price) and coal at $48/ton.

One month earlier EIA had reported futures prices for gas and coal of $4.27/mmBtu and $53.03/ton respectively. 

In addition spot power prices are very low by winter standards. All of the 10 regions monitored by EIA reported spot power prices below $40/MWh. Five of the 10 regions reported spot power prices below $30/MWh.

Spot power prices decreased from the previous day in nine of the 10 regions. Meanwhile, spot natural gas prices decreased in all 10 EIA monitoring regions. Spark spreads, which measure the profitability of natural gas-fired electric generators, were below $10/MWh in five of the 10 regions.

The spot natural gas price posted for the Mid-Atlantic was only $1.34/mmBtu, according to the EIA data.


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