Warmer-than-normal Western temperatures lent support to regional power and natural gas prices, with most hubs posting gains.
Temperatures in Los Angeles, for example, reached almost 100 degrees Fahrenheit Sept. 3 and remained above seasonal norms, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said. Seattle high temperatures were roughly 10 degrees above normal Sept. 6, according to National Weather Service data.
Western power values responded, with three hubs posting gains of more than 100 percent in Aug. 29 to Sept. 5 trading. Although Palo Verde peak power gained the most value, up $43.20 to $88.50/MWh, Mid-Columbia daytime prices jumped 118 percent in trading to end at $67.60/MWh. By Sept. 5, prices ranged from $49.30/MWh at North of Path 15 to $88.50/MWh at Palo Verde. Markets were closed Sept. 3 in observance of Labor Day.
Likewise, off-peak power values climbed between $6.15 and as much as $13.50. Mid-C gained the most, up $13.50, or 60 percent, to $35.85/MWh. Prices ranged from $32.25/MWh at Palo Verde to $37.45/MWh at South of Path 15.
California Independent System Operator demand peaked at 43,918 MW Sept. 3. Total renewables on the CAISO grid reached 14,565 MW Aug. 30, fulfilling roughly 35 percent of demand. Thermal generation peaked at 23,621 MW Sept. 4, providing 54 percent of demand.
Meanwhile, most Western natural gas prices also trended higher. Hubs gained between 17 cents and as much as $1.35 in trading. SoCal CityGate gained the most in trading, adding $1.35 to end at $4.08/MMBtu. El Paso-Permian Basin and Alberta natural gas proved exceptions. They dropped 43 cents to 91 cents/MMBtu and 9 cents to 28 cents/MMBtu, respectively. Henry Hub prices gained 12 cents to end at $2.43/MMBtu.
Working natural gas in storage was 2,941 Bcf as of Aug. 30, according to the EIA. This is a net increase of 84 Bcf compared with the previous week.
Total national natural gas use eroded by 1 percent week over week, according to the agency. The amount of natural gas used for power generation fell by 3 percent week over week.
In August, the average high peak price at Henry Hub was $2.35/MMBtu, 66 cents less than in 2018 (see "Price Trends," next page).
Western natural gas hub prices dropped as much as $3.28 compared with the year prior. In August 2018, SoCal Border natural gas rocketed to $6.32/MMBtu, but reached $3.04/MMBtu in 2019.
Likewise, average Western power prices in August were significantly lower compared with 2018, when early August heat pushed Western daytime power prices to more than $100/MWh. Values fell by between roughly $86 and as much as $304.10/MWh. Palo Verde fell the most year over year, down $304.10 to $73.40/MWh.