Northwest spot power price almost too cheap to meter

Spot power prices in the Northwest are often lower than organized markets in the rest of the nation, and the region’s daily spot power price dipped to only $5.58/MWh, according to data posted March 31 by the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

In the Northwest, both Seattle and Portland were forecast to have highs in the 50s and lows in the 40s over the next few days.

The Northwest also recorded the nation’s lowest regional spot price for natural gas at $2.01/mmBtu. The gas and electric figures combined to give the Northwest a spark spread of zero. The spark spread is a common metric for estimating the profitability of natural gas-fired electric generators.

Oddly enough New England was also listed with a spark spread of zero, but for different reasons. New England had the highest spot prices for both spot power ($51.74/MWh) and spot gas ($8.42/mmBtu).

On the baseload energy front, spring means refueling outages for many nuclear units and 12 reactors were listed at zero generation early March 31 by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (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.