Weekly Energy Market Updates by Region - Archive




Issue week: August 14th, 2020  (Wk 33)





WEST Spot prices have been relatively soft over the past week, thanks to a healthy supply stack and the return of Aliso Canyon, which has increased the amount of gas at the grid’s disposal. Thursday’s much higher temperatures helped Day Ahead prices peak above $200/MWh. In the term market, prices moved up Thursday on the backs of higher natural gas prices in SoCal Citygate and SoCal Border and expectations of especially high temperatures for the bal-ance of August, which could leave less natural gas on hand during the winter.

ERCOT  Buoyed by increasing heat rates against a gas curve relatively flat from last week, term prices were up by just a bit this week. Although the outages in the South Load Zone have been resolved, their impact on congestion for the month has been lasting; basis is now averaging just under $70/MWh for the month. The recent heat wave has also incited some volatility in zonal real-time prices, particularly in the afternoon hours. Nonetheless, the ORDC adder remains minimal, indicating ample generation to serve the current peak seasonal loads.

EAST Day Ahead and Real Time prices throughout the region have been relative-ly stable this week with the exception of Monday, when a derecho hit the Mid-west. Real Time spikes occurred across the board in response. MISO peaked at $120/MWh in the early afternoon; the other ISOs peaked in the evening. ISO-NE reached $170/MWh.









As reported in Calpine Energy Solutions’ regulatory update for July, cor-ruption in the energy industry was struck a blow in two Midwestern states recently. Exelon’s Illinois subsidiary, Commonwealth Edison, ad-mitted to a federal bribery charge involving the Illinois Speaker of the House and agreed to pay a $200 million fine as restitution. Meanwhile, in Ohio, a former Speaker of the House there was indicted in a $60 mil-lion bribery scheme with utility FirstEnergy. Both cases revolved around the utilities’ self-centered desire for returns on their investments in nu-clear energy at the expense of consumers. These cases exposed a major flaw in how utilities operate when allowed to compete in energy markets. Too often, utilities have emphasized maintaining the status quo of reliable profits over lowering costs to con-sumers. Consequently, they have often gone out of their way to keep their inefficient legacy plants operating, raising electricity costs while starving renewable-energy infrastructure of investment that could make the production of much cleaner electricity cheaper and more efficient. Arguably, utilities should stick to serving as transmission operators and allow other market participants to provide electricity to consumers more fairly. Unlike many utilities, independent energy suppliers, such as Cal-pine Energy Solutions, can provide their customers not only lower fixed prices and total costs but also sustainable renewable-energy products in a fair and transparent manner. Of course, true competition occurs more organically and most efficiently in deregulated markets reorganized through RTOs and ISOs. However, although RTOs and ISOs have become more common, much of the United States, as shown in the accompanying map from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, still has not deregulated, but perhaps that will not be the case for long. As more ISOs continue to expand ac-cess to more markets, more consumers will be able to make their own choices to the benefit of their bottom lines and the environment.  




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