Energy numbers show Northwest spark spread of less than $1/MWh

The Northwest spot power price is listed at only $22/MWh, which is the lowest in the nation, according to figures posted Jan. 5 by the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

That’s 20% less than the spot power price posted for the Northwest in the prior business day. Also, together with the region’s spot natural gas price of $3.02/mmBtu, the Northwest posted a spark spread of only 86 cents/MWh.

The spark spread is a common metric for estimating the profitability of natural gas-fired electric generators. New York City had the highest spark spread in the nation at $27.05/MWh, according to the EIA figures.

New England had the highest spot power price in the nation at $60.56/MWh. Eight of the 10 regions monitored by EIA posted an increase in spot power prices on Jan. 5.

Bitterly cold temperatures flowing from Canada into the Midwest could influence power prices in a number of regions during the next few days.

On the baseload nuclear energy front, all 99 commercial reactors in the United States were generating power early Jan. 5, according to the status report from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

This includes the Pacific Gas & Electric (PGE) Diablo Canyon 1 facility, which was listed at 38%. The unit had been offline since Dec. 31 to repair some equipment in the non-nuclear side of the plant.

The Entergy (NYSE:ETR) Vermont Yankee facility was officially retired on Dec. 29, taking the number of active reactors in the United States down from 100 to 99.

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.