Energy numbers show that 2016 opens with higher power, natural gas prices

The first full business week of 2016 is starting with generally higher spot power and natural gas prices than seen in the latter months of 2015.

New England recorded the nation’s highest reported spot power price at $58.52/MWh as well as the highest spot natural gas price at $5.25/mmBtu. That’s according to Jan. 4 data posted by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) from the 10 organized power markets across the United States.

Five of the 10 regions reported spot power prices of at least $33/MWh.

The Nymex energy futures prices for February delivery of Henry Hub natural gas was listed at $2.34/mmBtu. That price is about 13 cents higher than what was recorded Dec. 30, 2015 and about 75 cents/mmBtu higher than what was recorded one year before that, according to EIA data.

In 2015, natural gas futures prices declined to the lowest level in 16 years in mid-December because of increased production and record-high inventory levels, according to a Jan. 4 EIA report on natural gas and other commodities.

GenerationHub reporting showed that spot power prices actually slipped below $1/mmBtu briefly in some organized markets during December.

When it comes to baseload nuclear energy, only a handful of the 100 commercial reactors in the United States were offline early Jan. 4, according to Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) data.

Reactors at zero power on Jan. 4 include the Xcel Energy (NYSE:XEL) Prairie Island 2, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Sequoyah 2 and Watts Bar 2 nuclear units.

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.