Spring thaw equals spot power prices under $40; and spot gas prices under $4

Less than two weeks after the Northeast was experiencing daily spot power prices in excess of $100/MWh and spot natural gas prices in double-figures, the daily energy price landscape has changed dramatically.

The National Weather Service (NWS) cited “unseasonably warm temperatures” for much of the country in its March 16 forecast, and the figures just posted the same date by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) show that spot power prices are below $40/MWh in all markets in the continental United States. Also spot gas prices are below $4/mmBtu.

New York City had the highest spot power price in the nation at only $38.84/MWh and New England had the highest spot gas price at $3.59/mmBtu.

Officially spring begins with the vernal equinox on March 20, but many nuclear power reactors are already holding regularly-scheduled refueling and maintenance outages while power demand is low.

Figures released March 16 by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) indicate that 13 of the nation’s 99 nuclear reactors are currently at zero generation. The majority are offline for scheduled refueling outages.

In addition, the Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) Fort Calhoun nuclear facility is expected to comment a refueling outage in April, according to news accounts from Nebraska.

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.