Natural gas prices bounced up slightly last week, while power prices were flat week over week. PJM, as well as, other ISOs have commented about having to adapt to unusual electricity load pattern changes from COVID-19. Coal generation is now the most expensive fossil fuel as crude oil prices have plummeted. Two nuclear units in PJM with combined output of 1,872MW plan to stay operational now, opposed to a previous plan to deactivate in 2021. The Western United States could see above average temperatures into the first week of April.
The April 2020 NYMEX Henry Hub traded up to $1.659/MMBtu, a $0.05 (+3.4%) increase from the previous Wednesday. The price of the 12-month strip averaging April 2020 through March 2021 futures contracts climbed $0.10 (+4.6%) to $2.179/MMBtu.
For the week ending March 20, 2020, the EIA reported net withdrawals from storage of 29 Bcf, which is lower than last year’s net withdrawals of 39 Bcf for this week and lower than the 5-year (2015–19) average net withdrawals of 40 Bcf.
Working natural gas in storage totaled 2,005 Bcf, which is 888 Bcf (79.5%) higher than last year’s working gas totals of 1,117 Bcf at the same time and 292 Bcf (17%) higher than the 5-year (2015-2019) average of 1,713 Bcf. Total working gas is within the five-year historical range.
Power pricing continues to move in a tight range and still touching record lows for most terms and when look at year over year price points. Prices were up slightly week over week in most markets but more bouncing off lows as opposed a fundamental movement higher.
Prices in NYISO and ISONE markets were up 1.0% - 3.0% in all forward terms, even out to Calendar 2021 peak pricing. Percent movements look higher but monthly pricing for most terms were only up around $0.50 - $0.60 week over week.
In ERCOT pricing was lower with Houston summer 2020 peak pricing down 2.0% and $1.72. Other ERCOT markets were flat week over week. In PJM you had a few terms move higher from the lows set last week and Summer 2020 West Hub up over 4% and $1.10. Summer pricing in PJM still well below $30 so no need to rush procurement decisions in this environment.
Power pricing will continue to trade in a tight range with no breakout expected either way in the short term. In the Majority of the ISOs we are starting to see how they are over forecasting demand each day in specific region and hours. Hard to adjust their ISO level forecast quickly to accurately reflect the current stay and work at home in majority of ISO market states. You should continue to see very low hourly clearing prices this month and look to adjust daily positions and schedules accordingly. Contact TrueLight to stay on top of value in current forward curve pricing with expert hedge strategy recommendations and learn more about our portfolio management execution expertise.
Headroom in the DUQ - RS territory is now available in the shorter periods for contracts with 3 and 6 month terms. Headroom of $0.00031/kWh and $0.000109/kWh is likely for these periods, respectively.
The two nuclear power units, Beaver Valley Power Station, with total generating capacity of 1,872 MW, were scheduled for deactivation in 2021. Energy Harbor (First Energy Solutions) is rescinding the deactivation of those two units. Energy Harbor stated two reasons for rescinding the deactivation. One, Ohio joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) will help the carbon-free nuclear generators. Two, the retail growth strategy of offering carbon-free electricity to customers. This carbon-free electricity product allows customers to achieve their sustainability goals. Let TrueLight help you stay on top of current rates and subscribe to our PTC tracking and headroom reporting or use our price verification service to ensure you stay on top of all utility and market rate changes.
The crude oil benchmark has collapsed this month, mostly as a result of the oil production war between Russia and the Middle East, combined with demand destruction from COVID-19. Travel restrictions and flight cancellations have punished petroleum use on a global scale. Meanwhile, Russia and Saudi Arabia are flooding the market with extra oil production. Because of the oil price collapse, coal is now the most expensive fossil fuel and open more room for renewable energy generation. Contact us for advice and valuation modeling on all your clean energy generation development projects.
The resulting impact from COVID-19 has caused changes in human behavior, work patterns and closures. This has resulted in significant changes in the load pattern, as well as, reduced electricity usage in PJM. PJM has noted current loads similar to snow days, with lower overall demand and a later morning peak. The load curve is also absent the fluctuations usually shown when people are preparing for work in the morning and dinner at night. PJM anticipates a continued drop in load, especially as industries close across the PJM footprint. PJM expects their forecasting models will continue to learn and should improve the load forecast. PJM’s most important job is reliability, and the electrical grid continues to operate reliably. Contact TrueLight for strategic energy market support and analysis of the most up-to-date energy market news or use our price verification service to ensure the most recent market shifts are reflected in your forward price assumptions.
Above average temperatures are forecast for the western continental U.S. in the 8-14 day window starting April 4th. The highest probability for cool anomalies are among the Middle Atlantic States. Florida and parts of Texas are expected to see above average temperatures, with the highest chances for warmth for Florida.