Here's a summary of what went on in the energy markets last week:
Electricity peak prices at the Western hubs increased $3-23/MWh and decreased $6-57/MWh at the Eastern hubs. According to Platt’s Electric Power Daily (5/16/08), ERCOT has seen “its share of volatility in recent months” due to “an influx of new wind generation and not enough transmission… In 2006, there were 75 15-minute intervals in which real-time prices fell below $0/MWh. So far this year , there have been already more than 2,250 occurrences” (see pages 1 and 3).For the report click here. It is also located on NEI's Financial Center webpage.
Gas prices at the Henry Hub increased $0.43 to $11.35/MMBtu. Working gas in underground storage as of May 9 was 1,529 Bcf, which is 0.2 percent above the five-year (2003-2007) average (EIA, see pages 1 and 3).
Estimated nuclear plant availability increased to 83 percent last week. Five units finished refueling outages and two units finished maintenance. Salem 2 shut down for several days due to steam generator instrumentation problems (Platts, see pages 2 and 4).
Uranium spot prices remained at $60/lb U3O8 (see pages 1 and 3). According to EIA’s 2007 Domestic Uranium Production Report, total production of U.S. uranium concentrate (yellowcake) in 2007 was 4.5 million pounds U3O8, 10 percent above the 2006 level. Total employment in the U.S. uranium production industry was 1,231 person-years for 2007, an increase of 63 percent from the 2006 total. And total expenditures for land, exploration, drilling, production, and reclamation were $336.2 million in 2007, 52 percent more than in 2006.
Northern and Central Appalachian coal spot prices continue to remain high ($100-105/short ton) due to overseas demand. The Illinois and Uinta Basin spot prices also are at elevated levels (about $45-60/short ton) but the Powder River Basin spot prices have seen only slight increases over the past few months (source: EIA).