Daily power prices in the U.S. moved mixed Wednesday, Aug. 9, with prices in the East and Texas moving higher with demand but with values in the West retreating despite fundamental support.
In front-month gas futures, the September contract extended gains for the third straight session as it closed 6.1 cents higher at $2.883/MMBtu ahead of the Thursday, Aug. 10, release of weekly storage data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. At spot gas markets, products for Thursday delivery, excluding those traded in the Northeast, were biased higher and provided power prices in most locations with some support.
Looking at the supply of nuclear generation, total plant availability increased to 96.45% early Aug. 9.
East dailies move higher with load, held back by easing gas
Power trading activities in the East noted some conflicting cues Wednesday as values gained some ground with demand forecasts but were kept in check by sagging spot gas prices.
In the Northeast, next-day deals at the New England Mass hub added more than $1 and ranged in the high $20s while day-ahead trades were about $3 higher and averaged $30.29. New England load is called to reach 18,600 MW on Wednesday and 19,270 MW on Thursday.
In New York, day-ahead transactions at New York Zone A rose by about $3 and averaged $36.52 while deals at New York Zone G and New York Zone J were less than $1 higher from Tuesday and averaged $29.24 and $30.51, respectively. The grid operator for New York projects load will touch 22,411 MW on Wednesday and 23,362 MW on Thursday.
In the mid-Atlantic, PJM West next-day trades added close to $2 from Tuesday with power changing hands in the low $30s. Demand forecasts for the PJM Western region indicate possible highs of 60,279 MW on Wednesday and 61,696 MW on Thursday while demand in the PJM Mid-Atlantic region may hit peaks of 40,758 MW on Wednesday and 43,241 MW on Thursday.
Load forecasts, higher gas prices support Texas power markets
A combination of strong load forecasts and an increase in spot gas prices helped boost power dailies in Texas on Wednesday.
Texas demand may near highs of 61,848 MW on Wednesday and 65,900 MW on Thursday with ERCOT meteorologist Chris Coleman forecasting that "ERCOT will continue to trend hotter through the end of the week, with temperatures close to normal by Friday."
Following the load forecast, next-day deals at ERCOT North were done in the mid-$30s, up from a Tuesday index of $31.00. Regional day-ahead deals noted increases of about $3 on the session with ERCOT Houston, ERCOT North, ERCOT South and ERCOT West averaging $35.21, $32.96, $34.22 and $32.94, respectively.
Western power prices favor losses despite fundamental backing
Elevated load forecasts and higher spot gas prices failed to raise power prices in the West on Wednesday.
Southwestern power markets posted the biggest drops of the session with Mead trades down more than $10 in the low $40s while Palo Verde heavy-load transactions tumbled close to $10 and were seen in the high $30s to low $40s.
Prices in the Northwest ticked lower as well. Mid-Columbia deals were down roughly $9 on the session and spanned the mid- to high $30s while on-peak power at the California-Oregon Border hub shed close to $4 and was quoted in the low $40s to mid-$50s.
Demand in California may peak at 39,373 MW on Wednesday and 40,581 MW on Thursday. However, South Path-15 still moved lower, slipping about $2 to trade in the low $40s.
Midwest day-ahead prices garner support from gas gains, demand forecasts
Day-ahead power packages in the Midwest found some support Wednesday amid robust load outlooks and higher spot gas prices.
PJM AEP-Dayton and PJM Northern Illinois day-ahead deals were up by $1 to $2 from Tuesday and averaged $31.70 and $36.67, respectively.
Load forecasts signal strong demand toward the latter part of the workweek. Demand in the PJM AEP region should top out at 17,653 MW on Wednesday and 18,171 MW on Thursday while demand in the PJM ComEd region may crest at 15,358 MW on Wednesday and 16,429 MW on Thursday.
Market prices and included industry data are current as of the time of publication and are subject to change. For more detailed market data, including power, natural gas and coal index prices, as well as forwards and futures, visit our Commodities Pages.