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ERCOT real-time power prices spike near $1,500/MWh on record demand

By: Jeff Zhou |

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas footprint saw real-time prices jump to four-digit territory Wednesday afternoon as power demand rose above record May peakload with above-normal temperatures.

Real-time prices spiked across the footprint as real-time prices for all hubs averaged nearly $1,500/MWh for the 15-minute interval that ended 4:45 pm CDT, after shooting up above $1,300/MWh two intervals prior.

At the same time, the North Hub on-peak real-time futures price for balance-of-the-day traded in the low $70s/MWh on Intercontinental Exchange, up from a prior settlement in the mid-$50s/MWh, while Houston Hub counterpart was bid at around $115/MWh.

ERCOT load was around 59.8 GW for the hour ending 4 pm, breaking the current all-time May peakload of 59.3 GW set in 2017, and the peakload was projected to peak near 62.2 GW at around 6 pm.

As of 4:40 pm, operating reserve for the grid was seen at around 3 GW, only about 0.7 GW above the emergency level of 2.3 GW the grid operator must hold to response to sudden changes in system conditions.

High temperatures in Houston were forecast in the mid-90s Wednesday, as much as 7 degrees above normal, before cooling down a bit to the low 90s Thursday and Friday, according to CustomWeather data.

ERCOT expects peakload to set new highs through the weekend, rising to reach 64.4 GW Thursday and 63.5 GW Friday, as North Hub day-ahead on-peak package traded in the mid-$60s/MWh on ICE.