Merchant power firms now 20% of U.S. market

Merchant generation jumped 70% to 167,357 MW in 1999, or about 20% of total U.S. capacity, compared to 1998, as merchant power producers bought and built power plants to supply growing demand.

Dec. 4, 2000–Low inventories of gas in the West, coupled with huge storage withdrawals and continued high demand for gas fired power generation, led to increased futures contracts prices and strong cash prices. The January contract hit a record for a near-month contract at $6.673/MMbtu and cash prices ended the week at $6.60/MMBtu at Henry Hub. California continued to wrestle with the impact of the gas supply squeeze, leaving the state with volatile and high prices.

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