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Northwest US power prices stay near $200/MWh on cold weather


Northwest US day-ahead power prices peeled back early Thursday, but remained strong on projections of a continuation of cold weather through the end of the week.

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Mid-Columbia on-peak for Friday-Saturday delivery traded in a wide range between $90/MWh and $315/MWh on the InterContinentalExchange, about $15 more than Wednesday's high. Mid-C on-peak averaged near $199/MWh early Thursday, about $21 lower than on Wednesday.

Demand across the Bonneville Power Administration's service territory climbed to around 10,667 MW at 10:35 am EST (1535 GMT), about 80 MW shy of its most recent record, which was set in December 2009.

Available transmission data shows the Northwest receiving power from other parts of the West to meet the high demand caused by the cold weather.

Electricity flows between the Pacific Northwest and California were in a solid south-to-north direction on Wednesday, BPA's most recent data showed, as market players were moving power to the premium Northwest market.

Typically, electricity flows between the two regions move in a north-to-south direction as the Northwest sells excess generation to load centers in California.

The Pacific Northwest is a winter peaking region and during cold spells the region imports electricity to help meet demand.

The cold weather is expected to remain through the end of the week before seeing some thaw over the weekend.

CustomWeather is predicting high temperatures later this week in the low to mid-30s. However, highs will rise to the low 40s to low 50s by Sunday.

--Eric Wieser,
--Edited by Keiron Greenhalgh,