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Northeast set for summer; imports may be key for ISO-NE: NPCC

Washington — The US and Canadian Northeast overall should have adequate generation supply to meet summer electricity needs, according to the Northeast Power Coordinating Council summer outlook issued late Wednesday. However, the retirement of one of the largest coal- and oil-fired power plants in New England could put a premium on imports for that region in order to maintain reliability during extreme weather events this summer, the council said.

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The NPCC forecast a summer peak demand of 105,277 MW to hit during July, which would be a touch above the 2016 summer peak of 103,350 MW. The NPCC region includes the ISO New England, New York ISO, Ontario's Independent Electricity System Operator, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

Total installed capacity within the NPCC footprint for this summer is expected to be around 158,400 MW, which is nearly unchanged from last summer considering additions and retirements.

Of that total, about 9,300 MW of capacity is above reserve requirements.

NPCC "projects the region will have adequate supply for this summer," said NPCC President and CEO Edward Schwerdt Thursday in a media briefing to discuss the outlook.

However, he added that "it is possible under certain conditions New England will have to rely on neighbors to maintain reliability."

Dynegy's June retirement of the Brayton Point Plant, which started operations in 1963, will result in a loss of 1,464 MW, just ahead of summer peak loads in July.

A look at Northeast summer on-peak forward power prices this week shows a slight premium compared with where day-ahead on-peak prices averaged last summer, according to S&P Global Platts data.

In New England, Mass Hub on-peak July-August forward power prices were in the mid-$40s/MWh at the start of May after briefly flirting with the upper $40s/MWh in April.

Last summer, ISO New England Internal Hub day-ahead on-peak prices averaged near $39.75/MWh with prices ranging between $17-$75/MWh.

For New York, Zone G Hudson Valley on-peak July-August were also in the mid-$40s/MWh this week, which is more than $5 higher than where NYISO Zone G on-peak prices averaged in July and August 2016.

In Canada, Ontario on-peak July and August forward prices were in the upper $20s/MWh this week, which is at a discount to where Ontario on-peak real-time prices were in July and August 2016 near $32.50/MWh.

--Eric Wieser,

--Edited by Lisa Miller,