Wholesale electricity from Maine to Connecticut gained for the third time in four days as supply dropped amid forecasts for increased demand.
New England prices jumped 21 percent as the region’s grid operator predicted peak demand today will increase by 1.6 percent while available supply slides 3.9 percent. Power plants fueled by natural gas are running more this week after nuclear generation was shut for scheduled refueling and maintenance.
Power on the six-state grid rose $8.67 to $50.07 a megawatt-hour at 11:19 a.m. from yesterday’s on-peak average, the most since April 3, data from ISO New England Inc. show.
Electricity consumption will rise to 15,120 megawatts during the hour ending at 9 p.m. from yesterday’s peak of 14,923 megawatts during the same hour, the grid operator said in its morning report. Available supply, based on regional generation and imports from nearby areas, fell to 18,597 megawatts today from 19,355 megawatts yesterday, ISO New England said.
Nuclear generation in the Northeast, which includes plants from New Hampshire to Washington, fell by 23 megawatts from yesterday to 18,907 megawatts, the lowest level since Nov. 19, according to U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission data compiled by Bloomberg. Plants across the region were operating at 76 percent of capacity.
Entergy Corp. (ETR:US) shut its 685-megawatt Pilgrim 1 reactor, about 4 miles (6 kilometers) east of Plymouth, Massachusetts, yesterday for refueling.
The drop in nuclear production is spurring demand for natural gas in the region.
About 58 percent of the electricity produced in New England came from gas-fired plants as of 11:05 a.m. while nuclear accounted for 23 percent, data from ISO New England show. By contrast in late March, gas accounted for about 40 percent to 50 percent of generation and nuclear accounted for up to a third. The rest comes from a combination of hydro, renewable, coal and fuel-oil generators.
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