Analysis: Southwest Power Pool March prices fall on milder weather, mixed on the year
Milder weather and heavier wind output pushed Southwest Power Pool wholesale power prices lower in March, but the year-over-year differences varied by location, with North Hub prices up and South Hub prices down.
Day-ahead on-peak prices at SPP South Hub fell by about $2.50, or more than 10% month on month, to average in the low $20s/MWh in March, while North Hub prices moved down by $1.50, or less than 7% over the same time.
Total heating degree days in SPP were about 522 in March, down from 774 in February, and about 2% below seasonal norms, while cooling degree days in SPP totaled about 7 in March, up from about 5 in February and above the seasonal average of less than 0.2.
Much warmer weather put a lid on heating load and slightly supported cooling load, with a net effect putting downward pressures on power demand.
As a result, daily peakload for the entire footprint averaged slightly below 30 GW/d in March, more than 10% below the February number.
However, March peakload was still more than 3% above last March, when it was much warmer, as HDDs in the region totaled about 24% below normal.
North Hub March prices were up by less than $2, or about 8% from the year-ago level, while South Hub counterpart was down by more than $7, or about 25% over the same time.
RECORD HIGH WIND SHARE IN THE FUEL MIX
The year-on-year price decrease at South Hub was most likely caused by staggeringly high wind generation in March, which also dragged prices lower on the month.
March wind generation in SPP averaged 203 GWh/d, the second largest generation sources behind coal, and accounted for about 31% of total generation during the month.