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Daily power markets biased lower on slack fundamentals

Next-day power packages in the U.S. moved mixed to predominantly lower Friday, Aug. 11, due to downward pressures from varied load forecasts and softer spot gas prices.

After posting impressive gains the day prior, the front-month September contract closed the workweek with a scant 0.2-cent loss at $2.983/MMBtu. Mirroring weekend load forecasts, spot gas markets held a downward bias and gave power dailies little support.

Looking at the supply of nuclear power, total availability increased to 97.03% early Aug. 11.

South Path-15 values firm; Northwest, Southwest dailies flounder

Excluding deals done at South Path-15, price activity in the West was oriented to the downside Friday as support from robust weekday demand associated with next-day schedule revisions was countered by biased lower gas prices.

Dailies in California posted the only gains of the session with South Path-15 deals done in the mid-$30s, up about a dollar on the session.

Conversely, other locations in the West favored losses. In the Northwest, trades at Mid-Columbia and the California-Oregon Border fell by $2 to $3 and were done in the low to mid-$20s at the former and the high $30s at the latter. In the Southwest, power prices at Palo Verde tumbled about $2 in the high $20s to low $30s while Mead transactions were roughly a dollar lower on the session and ranged in the low $30s.

The California ISO is calling for demand to reach highs of 40,241 MW on Friday and 37,282 MW on Saturday but with load possibly rebounding at the start of the workweek Aug. 14.

East values close workweek pressured by varied demand

Mixed demand forecasts pressured power dailies in the East on Friday with lower spot gas prices offering no support.

Most of the session's next-day action was PJM West, where packages changed hands in the high $20s to low $30s, easing from a prior-day index of $29.50.

Strong demand may be in store for the Northeast by the start of the workweek. Demand in New England may reach 18,000 MW on Friday and 18,370 MW on Aug. 14, while load in New York could touch highs of 22,766 MW on Friday and 23,077 MW on Aug. 14.

Grid operators in the mid-Atlantic are calling for subdued demand. Demand in the PJM Mid-Atlantic region is seen topping out at 41,255 MW on Friday and 38,928 MW on Aug. 14, while load in the PJM Western region should run up to 60,355 MW on Friday and 57,987 MW on Aug. 14.

Texas dailies flounder despite demand prospects

Strong Aug. 14 load forecasts and varied gas prices failed to lift next-day markets in Texas on Friday.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas is calling for highs of 68,683 MW on Friday and 68,725 MW on Aug. 14. ERCOT North saw next-day trades slip by about $3 and span the mid-$30s.

ERCOT meteorologist Chris Coleman forecasts that "ERCOT as a whole will experience above-normal temperatures through next week," which may offer values with a boost.

Midwest markets close workweek unsupported

Subdued demand forecasts and varied gas prices gave no backing to Midwestern power markets during a quiet Friday session.

Regional load forecasts are aimed lower with the PJM AEP region forecast to see highs of 18,510 MW on Friday and 17,619 MW on Aug. 14, while the PJM ComEd region should hit peaks of 14,703 MW on Friday and 14,318 MW on Aug. 14.

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.