Entries in monthly prices (13)

Tuesday
Jun202017

Wholesale electricity prices and demand in New England, May 2017

Rising natural gas prices caused wholesale electricity prices to increase during May

Natural gas prices in May were nearly 44% higher than during the previous May in New England, pushing up the average wholesale power price to $29.44 per megawatt-hour (MWh)*, a 38.2% increase compared to the May 2016 average price of $21.29/MWh. For a month-to-month comparison, the May power price was 6.6% lower than the April average price of $31.51.

While the month of May was not particularly unusual, one day—May 18, the day of the May peak—was interesting for significant price variations resulting from a combination of planned power plant and transmission line outages and unusually high temperatures. The range in five-minute prices—from negative prices in northern areas of New England to prices over $800/MWh in other parts of the region—is illustrative of the operational challenges that can arise during the “shoulder seasons” of spring and fall, when consumer demand for power is typically lighter and power plant and transmission lines are taken offline for maintenance and repairs. Read more about the dynamics at work that day. 

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Tuesday
May232017

Wholesale electricity prices and demand in New England, April 2017

Rising natural gas prices caused wholesale electricity prices to increase during April

Natural gas prices in April were nearly 10% higher than during the previous April in New England, pushing up the average wholesale power price to $31.51 per megawatt-hour (MWh)*, a 12.6% increase compared to the April 2016 average price of $28.00/MWh. For a month-to-month comparison, the April power price was 9.5% lower than the March average price of $34.81.

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Monday
Apr242017

Monthly wholesale electricity prices and demand in New England, March 2017

Cold weather drove up natural gas prices in March, resulting in electricity prices that were higher than March 2016’s record-low price

Unusually cold weather in March drove up natural gas prices in New England to more than twice the average price in March 2016, driving up the average wholesale power price. The March 2017 average price of natural gas rose nearly 140% year-over-year. The average wholesale power price in New England doubled to $34.81 per megawatt-hour (MWh)* compared to the March 2016 average price, which at $17.20/MWh stands as the lowest monthly average power price in New England since March 2003. The current wholesale electricity markets were launched in March 2003.

The March power price was 24.1% higher than the February average price of $28.05. The cold weather in March also drove up electricity usage in New England, by nearly 6% year-over-year and 10.5% over usage during February.

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Thursday
Mar232017

Monthly wholesale electricity prices and demand in New England, February 2017

Higher natural gas prices caused the average electricity price to edge up in February

The February 2017 average price of natural gas rose 6.7% year-over-year, pushing up the wholesale power price in New England by 2.4% to $28.05 per megawatt-hour (MWh)* compared to the February 2016 price of $27.39/MWh.

The 2.4% increase in wholesale power prices was smaller than the 6.7% increase in natural gas prices, in part because demand was lower in February 2017. Total energy consumption in New England declined by 7.1% in February, compared to energy usage during the previous February—but leap year was also a factor in year-over-year comparisons. Because 2016 was a leap year, February 2016 had 29 days, accounting for a portion of the higher energy consumption compared to the 28 days of February 2017.

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Friday
Feb242017

Monthly wholesale electricity prices and demand in New England, January 2017

January’s average price of electricity rose on higher natural gas prices

The average price of natural gas rose 14% during January 2017, pushing up the wholesale power price in New England by 8%, to $36.66 per megawatt-hour (MWh)*, from the January 2016 price of $33.99/MWh.

The smaller percentage increase in wholesale power prices compared to the natural gas increase was due to lower demand, as well as changes in the fuel mix in January. Total energy consumption in New England declined by 3% in January, compared to the previous January. Nuclear output was lower in January 2016, by about 200 gigawatt-hours (GWh) or 7.6% to 2,988 GWh, likely requiring the use of higher-priced resources. And output from low-priced wind resources was higher in January 2017, up by 48 GWh or 20% to 298 GWh, likely displacing some higher-priced resources.

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Monday
Feb062017

Monthly wholesale electricity prices and demand in New England, December 2016

December’s average price of electricity rose on colder temperatures, higher demand, and higher natural gas prices

The average price of natural gas more than tripled during December 2016 and that, combined with higher demand for power, caused the wholesale power price in New England to rise more than twice as high as the price in December 2015.

The price of natural gas rose 226% in December, driving a 152% increase in the wholesale electricity price, to $53.83 per megawatt-hour (MWh)* from the December 2015 average price of $21.35/MWh.

December’s cold temperatures pushed up demand for power. As measured by heating degree days**, December 2016 was much colder than December 2015, and much closer to the normal level of heating degree days during a New England December. Cold weather also drives up demand for natural gas for heating, resulting in natural gas pipeline constraints that cause natural gas prices to rise.

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