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Power dailies end week mixed; Northwest markets soar

Next-day power values across the country were variedFriday, July 22, despite mostly higher load outlooks and rising spot naturalgas prices.

In natural gas futures trading, the front-month Augustcontract defended early gainsand closed the final session of the workweek up 8.5 cents at $2.777/MMBtu.Likewise, spot gas markets reflected greater heat-driven demand and movedhigher.

According to the National Weather Service, heat andhumidity scorching the Midwest will move eastward by this weekend while anotherround of heat should be entering the Northwest by early next week.

Northwestmarkets climb to 12-month highs; Southwest dailies retreat

Increased cooling demand due to summer heat alongsidepossibly higher load associated with next-day schedule revisions and an uptickin spot gas prices drove gains at most West markets Friday.

Hubs in the Northwest rose to 12-month highs, withMid-Columbia trades in the low $40s and high $70s, up from a Thursday index of$27.25, while dailies at the California-Oregon Border changed hands in themid-$60s and low $80s, soaring from a Thursday index of $34.00.

In California, on-peak deals at North Path-15 were inthe low $50s, up from a Thursday index of $38.25, while trades at South Path-15were posted in the high $40s and mid-$50s for a daily gain of around $5.Defying the regional uptrend were dailies in the Southwest with Palo Verde andMead falling $6 to $8 from Thursday with transactions heard in the mid-$40s andlow $50s at the former and the low to high $50s at the latter.

Supporting power dailies were higher spot gas prices.Deals at Malin rose about 8 cents to average above $2.70/MMBtu, and trades atSoCal border saw the biggest increases of more than 50 cents and averaged closeto $3.45/MMBtu.

The CAISO is calling for Saturday demand to reach43,436 MW, up about 1,150 MW from Friday, with load expected to rise evenfurther at the start of the new workweek on July 25.

Eastmarkets tick higher on load prospects

Next-day power values in the East favored gains Fridayowing to a boost from robust July 25 load forecasts and gains in spot gasprices.

In the Northeast, next-day deals at NEPOOL-Mass weredone in the low to mid-$50s, up from a Thursday index of $47.50, while in theMid-Atlantic, PJM West trades were heard in the high $50s to low $60s, climbingfrom a prior-day index of $53.28.

Trading for typically lower-load Saturday, day-aheadmarkets floundered. DAMs in New York slipped by about $7 to averages of $59.65at Zone A, $44.86 at Zone G and $47.37 at Zone J, while DAMs at NEPOOL-Massslipped close to $6 and averaged $41.46.

Reflecting heat moving into the region over theweekend, load is expected to rise. New England should see July 25 demand crestat 23,670 MW, up 1,070 MW from Friday, while New York load could top 29,770 MWon July 25, rising more than 900 MW from Friday. The PJMMid-Atlantic region should see a July 25 high at 57,707 MW, up more than 6,400MW from Friday, while demand in the PJM Western region should run up to 75,284MW on July 25, increasing about 1,500 MW from Friday.

Midwestdailies deflate with mixed demand forecasts

After rising to 12-month highs the day prior, powermarkets in the Midwest stumbled Friday as varied load outlooks caused byreceding heat offset a modest rise in spot gas prices.

Power at PJM AEP-Dayton was exchanged in the high $40sto low $50s, down from a Thursday index of $56.50, while dailies at PJMNorthern Illinois tumbled by about $10 and were transacted in the low $50s.

PJM regions in the Midwest expect choppy demand tokick off the new workweek. Peak July 25 load in the PJM AEP region could reach21,976 MW, up by more than 900 MW from Friday, while demand in the PJM ComEdregion should crest at 19,012 MW on July 25, down more than 700 MW from Friday.

ERCOTdailies sag with lower load outlooks

Forecasts for weak July 25 demand sent power prices inTexas tumbling Friday but with losses limited by increasing spot gas prices.

ERCOT is anticipating demand to hit 65,805 MW on July25, down 2,546 MW from Friday. Depressed by the load outlook, next-day deals atERCOT North ranged in the low $30s and slipped by about $6 on the session.

Day-ahead ahead markets mirrored soft weekend demandand leaned flat to lower, DAMs at ERCOT North, ERCOT South and ERCOT Westslipped $2 to $3 from Thursday to averages of $32.97, $34.73 and $32.81,respectively, while ERCOT Houston eased by less than a dollar and averaged$36.47.

Market prices and included industry data are currentas of the time of publication and are subject to change. For more detailedmarket data, including power,natural gas andcoal index prices, as well asforwards andfutures, visit our Commodities Pages.