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US northeast power demand, gas and power prices elevated with storm approaching

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US northeast power demand, gas and power prices elevated with storm approaching


ISO-NE peakload forecast: 19,250 MW Jan. 29

Region could get over a foot of snow

  • Author
  • Jared Anderson
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  • Adithya Ram
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  • Coal Electric Power Energy Transition LNG Natural Gas Oil Shipping

ISO New England's Jan. 27 short-term power demand forecast shows projected peak load reaching 19,250 MW on Jan. 29, which is close to the grid operator's expected winter power demand peak of 19,710 MW, as a winter storm approaches the region.

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US Northeast power and gas prices are spiking again as a nor'easter approaches and is likely to dump significant snow accumulations on the Boston and New York City metropolitan areas.

Temperatures in Boston are expected to reach a high of 22 F Jan. 29 with a low of 12 F the same evening, according to the National Weather Service. Prior to the winter, ISO-NE projected power demand to peak at 19,710 MW during average winter weather conditions and at 20,349 MW under below-average conditions.

ISO-NE peakload averaged 16,364 MW in December 2021 and 16,795 in January 2021. Peakload has averaged 17,472 MW through Jan. 26, 2022, according to ISO data.

ISO-NE internal hub real-time power prices around 3 pm Jan. 27 were $153.05/MWh and day-ahead prices at the hub were $153.25/MWh, according to the grid operator's website. Day-ahead on-peak power prices at the hub have averaged $107.71/MWh year to date and $175.88/MWh over the past two weeks.

Platts Algonquin city-gates natural gas prices have averaged $13.26/MMBtu year to date. The average price at the hub over the past two weeks was $23.07/MMBtu.

"Winter storm watches have been issued from the mid-Atlantic to southeastern New England in advance of a nor'easter that is set to charge up the East Coast Friday night into Sunday with full-blown blizzard" conditions in eastern New England, AccuWeather said in a Jan. 27 report.

"Eastern New England and the eastern tip of Long Island, New York, is where you have a very good probability of getting more than a foot of snow," Bernie Rayno, AccuWeather chief on-air meteorologist, said.

Heavy snow is possible with total snow accumulations of 10 to 16 inches possible in portions of eastern and northeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island, the National Weather Service said. Winds could gust as high as 50 mph, according to the Winter Storm Watch.

Based on power generator surveys submitted Jan. 25, 18.29 million gallons of oil were consumed for power generation from Jan. 18 through Jan. 24, including 6.75 million gallons of distillate fuel oil and 11.53 million gallons of residual fuel oil, according to ISO-NE's latest 21-Day Energy Assessment Forecast and Report.

"This past week [Jan. 17 to Jan. 21] saw extensive use of stored energy, including LNG and fuel oil due to the colder temperatures," the grid operator said in the report.

Much colder-than-normal air is expected for the rest of January and extended runs of stored fuels continue to be expected, with recent generator survey responses indicating that "some fuel oil replenishment has been planned, though the planned replenishment is less than was consumed in the previous week," the grid operator said in the report.

"Of particular concern is the depletion of residual fuel oil with no replenishment expected or reported," ISO-NE said.

The ISO-NE power generation fuel mix consisted of 47% natural gas, 20% nuclear, 16% oil, 10% renewables, 4% hydropower and 3% coal around 3 pm Jan. 27.

New York market conditions

New York City may receive heavy snowfall of 6 to 12 inches Jan. 29, AccuWeather said.

The National Weather Service had a Winter Storm Watch in effect from Jan. 28 to Jan. 29, calling for total snow accumulations of 6 to 12 inches with winds gusting as high as 45 mph.

"A winter storm system moving up the coast has the potential to deliver heavy snow, gusty winds, and create dangerous travel conditions across downstate locations this weekend, especially in Long Island, New York City and the Mid-Hudson Region," Governor Kathy Hochul said in a statement.

New York Independent System Operator peakload is forecast to reach 21,214 MW Jan. 29 when temperatures are expected to hit a low of 16 F, according to the National Weather Service. The grid operator's peak winter demand forecast is 24,025 MW under normal weather and the extreme winter weather scenario showed that peak demand could increase to as much as 26,230 MW.

NYISO peakload averaged 19,660 MW in December 2021 and 20,361 MW in January 2021.

Real-time New York City Zone J power prices were $152.79/MWh around 3:30 pm and Zone J day-ahead prices were $169.68/MWh.

On-peak day-ahead Zone J prices year to date have averaged $93.66/MWh. Over the past two weeks, on-peak day-ahead prices at the hub averaged $170.30/MWh amid colder weather.