Western energy prices decreased through the trading week on lower electricity demand.

After peaking at 42,195 MW July 26, California Independent System Operator demand dropped by roughly 4,700 MW by July 30. Demand stayed below 39,000 MW over the next two days, a trend expected to continue until Aug. 5, when demand is forecast to reach 42,000 MW.

Western daytime power prices dropped the value gained in the previous trading week, with hubs losing between $12.50 and as much as $22.50 in July 25 to Aug. 1 trading. Palo Verde lost the most, down $22.50 to $35/MWh—a 39-percent drop.

Western off-peak prices dropped between $3 and $5 in trading. Pacific Northwest hubs fell 21 percent by week’s end. Nighttime power values ranged from $20.75/MWh at Mid-Columbia to $28.55/MWh at both North and South of Path 15 by Aug. 1.

Total renewables on the CAISO grid reached 15,935 MW July 29, meeting roughly 40 percent of demand. Thermal generation sources fulfilled 20,567 MW, or slightly more than 52 percent, of demand July 25.

Most Western natural gas prices fell by between 6 cents and 78 cents in July 25 to Aug. 1 trading. El Paso-Permian natural gas dropped the most, tumbling 78 cents to 34 cents/MMBtu. Alberta gas was the exception, climbing 68 cents to $1.04/MMBtu.

Notably, SoCal CityGate natural gas remained above the $3 mark despite losing 50 cents in trading. It ended at $3.03/MMBtu Aug. 1.

Several transmission lines in the area of the Tucker Fire were de-energized July 28 and 29 for fire crews’ safety, according to CAISO, which issued both transmission emergency notices and grid warnings. Several 500-kV transmission lines as well as two lines of COI/Path 66 were forced out of service July 28. The warning for the latter became a transmission emergency, which ended July 30.

The Modoc County fire has burned 14,217 acres and is 74 percent contained as of Aug. 2, according to the InciWeb incident information system.

Energy prices in July were significantly lower than they were a year ago, when searing heat hit the region.

In July, the average high peak price at Henry Hub was $2.49/MMBtu, 41 cents lower than in 2018 (see “Price Trends,” next page).

Western natural gas hub prices in July generally dropped between 32 cents and as much as $7.90 compared with the previous year, save for PG&E CityGate, which was 12 cents higher at $3.29/MMBtu. SoCal Border natural gas reached $2.92/MMBtu, which was $7.09 lower than in 2018.

Average Western power prices were between $172.85 and as much as $321.75 lower in July. SP15 fell the most year over year, down $321.75 to $55.55/MWh.