VIDEO: High temperatures, generation jitters drive up Houston price

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Driven by unusually hot October weather, even by Texas standards, along with various power plant outages, the spot power price for the Houston area has shot up to $93.00/MWh, according to Energy Information Administration (EIA) figures posted Oct. 7.

The Houston spot power price was about 139 percent more than the prior day and the region had a spark spread of $66.40/MWh, according to EIA.

While Houston hit a spot power price of $93/MWh, the second highest spot power price among the 10 regions tracked by EIA was Southern California at $54.56/MWh.

“We are seeing some pretty warm temperatures for October,” said Eric Palmer, a regional director for Genscape who monitors the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) market.

Houston was expected to see a temperature in the low 90s with high humidity on Oct. 7. This unseasonably warm weather combined with a number of power plant outages that started the prior weekend created some jitters in the marketplace, Palmer said.

In particular, the Luminant Comanche Peak 1 nuclear unit went into an outage over the weekend, Palmer noted. Comanche Peak 1 has a generating capacity of roughly 1,200 MW.

“The concern was the generation wasn’t going to be there,” Palmer said. The concerns are starting to lessen in some of the ongoing price quotes as some generation units are coming back online, Palmer said.

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Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 22 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants.

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