Despite choppy load forecasts, power values at mostmajor U.S. markets extended prior-day gains Thursday, July 21, finding somesupport from firm spot natural gas prices.
At the natural gas futures arena, after reports of aless-than-expected34-Bcf net injectionfor the week ended July 15, the front-month August contract reversed anearly loss and closedthe session at $2.692/MMBtu, up 3.4 cents. Following gains in futures alongwith higher demand forecasts driven by weather, most spot gas markets alsofavored gains.
Intenseheat drives Midwest values to 12-month highs
Slightly lower Friday demand forecasts failed to stoppower packages in the Midwest from climbing to 12-month highs Thursday withvalues supported by lingering heat and modest increases in spot gas prices.
Power at PJM AEP-Dayton was traded in the mid- to high$50s, up from a prior-day index of $46.25, while PJM Northern Illinois dealswere done in the high $60s, climbing from a midweek index of $48.50. Dailies atMISO Indiana continued the trend with transactions done in the mid-$50s and low$60s for a daily premium of around $10.
PJM regions in the Midwest expect demand to taper offslightly during the last day of the workweek, with the PJM AEP region called tosee a Friday high at 21,436 MW, down around 400 MW from Thursday, while the PJMComEd region is forecast to see Friday load touch 21,021 MW, shedding close to600 MW from the previous day.
Eastdailies extend gains for 2nd straight day
Power markets in the East moved higher again Thursday,inspired by strong Friday load forecasts boosted by an incoming heat wave andan uptick in spot gas prices.
Next-day deals at New York Zone G saw the biggestincrease, with power traded in the low $50s, up from a prior-day index of$36.25. At NEPOOL-Mass power transactions were heard in the mid- to high $40sfor a premium of more than $10, while power at PJM West was exchanged in themid- to high $50s, climbing from a Wednesday index of $45.11 to some of itshighest levels yet this year.
Day-ahead markets also embraced the upside, withNEPOOL-Mass, New York Zone G and New York Zone J jumping by more than $10 toaverages of $47.42, $51.90 and $54.45, respectively, while DAMs at New YorkZone A slipped close to $5 to an average of $67.02.
Grid operators in the Northeast project higher demanddespite the incoming weekend with New England called to see a Friday high at22,110 MW, up 2,310 MW from Thursday, while New York load may crest at 28,239MW on Friday, adding 1,690 MW from Thursday.
Mid-Atlantic demand forecasts are mixed with the PJMMid-Atlantic region called to see peak load at 50,654 MW on Friday, up 1,630 MWfrom Thursday, while the PJM Western region should see demand hit 75,875 MW onFriday, dropping close to 1,300 MW from Thursday.
Calif.,Southwest markets edge higher; Northwest dailies falter
Outlooks of robust Friday demand and support fromhigher spot gas prices offset typically lower Saturday load forecastsassociated with next-day schedule revisions and pushed up values at most Westernmarkets Thursday.
In the Southwest, deals at Palo Verde and Mead addedabout $3 to $6 from Wednesday and were done in the low $50s to low $60s andhigh $50s to low $60s, respectively, while in California, South Path-15 tradedalmost $2 higher in transactions ranging in the mid-$40s. Running the other waywere hubs in the Northwest, where prices slipped by around $3 to $5 fromWednesday with deals in the mid- to high $20s at Mid-Columbia and mid-$30s atCOB.
The California ISO projects load to run up to 44,439MW on Friday, up by more than 3,700 MW from Thursday.
ERCOTvalues ease with sagging demand, mixed gas prices
Power prices in Texas eased Thursday owing to softFriday load forecasts and varied spot gas prices.
ERCOT expects Friday demand to peak at 68,020 MW,slipping about 150 MW from Thursday. Bogged down by demand forecasts, next-daydeals at ERCOT North shed less than a dollar and ranged in the high $30s.
Day-ahead markets also tumbled with demand with $2 to$3 losses at most locations to averages of $37.41 at ERCOT Houston, $36.02 atERCOT North, $37.05 at ERCOT South and $35.78 at ERCOT West.
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