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New York Independent System Operator wholesale power prices increased by over 100% on year in December with high volatility as a cold snap toward the end of the month pushed real-time prices above $1,000/MWh in some zones.
NYISO Zone J New York City real-time on-peak power prices averaged $143.08/MWh in December, about 178% higher on year and 123% higher on month, according to grid operator data. Real-time on-peak prices in the zone peaked at $1,066.26/MWh on Dec. 24 when a massive cold front moved across the US. Day-ahead on-peak power prices at the hub averaged $115.48/MWh in December, about 127% higher on year and 85% higher on month.
NYISO Zone G Hudson Valley real-time on-peak power prices averaged $141.54/MWh in December, which was a roughly 184% increase on year and about 125% higher on month. Real-time on-peak prices also peaked on Dec. 24 with a daily average of 1,056.19/MWh. Day-ahead on-peak prices at the hub averaged $114.18/MWh in December, about 133% higher on year and 85% higher on month.
Power prices in Zone A Western New York jumped considerably as the region was hit with a major snowstorm when the national cold front moved through around the Christmas holiday. Real-time on-peak prices averaged $84.73/MWh in December, which was about 217% higher than the November average of $26.72/MWh. Day-ahead on-peak power prices averaged $72.86/MWh in December, around 151% higher on month and 100% higher on year.
Transco Zone 6 natural gas prices also increased considerably in December to average $11.65/MMBtu, around 239% higher on year and 142% higher on month. The average was pulled up by the cold weather, with gas prices averaging $35.61/MMBtu from Dec. 24 to Dec. 27 before falling back to a daily average of $6.29/MMBtu on Dec. 28 when temperatures warmed.
The average low temperature across NYISO territory in December was 29.9 degrees Fahrenheit compared with a November average low of 41.4 degrees F, according to CustomWeather data. The lowest average temperature reached 8.2 degrees F on Dec. 25.
The average high December temperature was 41 degrees F compared with an average high of 54.9 degrees F in November. The lower temperatures increased average heating degree days from 16.6 in November to 29.1 in December, the weather data showed.
The cooler December weather also increased power demand with NYISO peakload averaging 20,116 MW, which was 9.5% higher than the November average peakload of 18,374 MW, according to NYISO data. December power demand was 2.3% higher than the December 2021 average of 19,660.
Power generation fuel mix
Oil accounted for 0.2% of NYISO's December fuel mix but reached as high as 1.7% during the holiday cold snap when gas prices spiked, according to NYISO data. Oil accounted for 0% of the November fuel mix and 0.1% of the December 2021 fuel mix.
Dual fuel resources which primarily run on gas with oil as a backup accounted for 25.2% of the December generation mix, up slightly from 25.1% in November and down from 26% in December 2021.
Natural gas accounted for 22.5% of the power generation fuel mix in December, down from 23.2% in November and up from 19.1% in December 2021.
Nuclear power accounted for 23.0% of the December fuel mix, down from 23.9% in November and 23.4% in December 2021.
Hydropower accounted for 22.3% of the December generation mix, up from 20.5% in November and down from 24.6% in December 2021. Wind power declined slightly, accounting for 4.8% of the December fuel mix compared with 5.4% in November and 5.1% in December 2021.
Forward power, gas prices
Zone J forward power prices for January 2023 averaged $205.71/MWh during December 2022 trading, down about 2% on month and up by around 91% on year, according to Platts M2MS data. Forward power for February averaged $195.24/MWh, down about 4% on month and up around 78% on year, and forward power for March averaged $105.66/MWh, down about 6% on month and up by around 53% on year.
Zone A forward power prices for January 2023 averaged 90.18/MWh in December trading, up about 54% on year and down 14% on month. Forward power for February 2023 averaged $81.94/MWh, up about 37% on year and down about 12% on month. Forward power for March averaged $53.29/MWh, up about 30% on year and down around 12% on month.
Forward Transco Zone 6 gas prices for January 2023 averaged $15.35/MMBtu in December trading, down about 2% on month and up by around 88% on year. Forward gas prices for February averaged $14.52/MMBtu, down 9% on month and up 82% on year, and forward gas for March averaged $5.76/MMBtu, down about 8% on month and up by around 36% on year.