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Nuclear Plant Closings Boost Electricity Costs in East, Midwest

By: Harry Weber |

Spot wholesale electricity rose from the mid-Atlantic states to the Midwest as four nuclear plants shut, reducing regional output.

Demand on the 13-state PJM Interconnection LLC network was 85,346 megawatts at 11:10 a.m. New York time, above the day-ahead forecast of 82,256 megawatts, according to the grid’s website.

The high temperature today in Washington may reach 78 degrees Fahrenheit (26 Celsius), 12 above normal, according to AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania.

Spot power at PJM’s benchmark Western hub, which includes Washington, gained $8.65, or 29 percent, to average $38.99 a megawatt-hour at 11 a.m. from the same time April 10, grid data compiled by Bloomberg show. Power at the Eastern hub, which includes New Jersey, advanced $2.21, or 7.3 percent, to average $32.38 a megawatt-hour.

PJM West on-peak power traded $1.93 above the Eastern hub, compared with a discount of 33 cents on April 10 and a three-month average discount of $7.36 for PJM West.

Exelon Corp. shut its Limerick 2 nuclear reactor 30 miles northwest of Philadelphia, with nameplate capacity of 1,139 megawatts, for planned refueling, according to a company press release. Public Service Enterprise Group Inc. shut its Hope Creek reactor in New Jersey, with nameplate capacity of 1,291 megawatts, according to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Indiana Hub

Spot power at the Indiana hub, a regional benchmark for the Midwest, rose 46 cents, or 1.7 percent, to average $27.84 a megawatt-hour for the hour ended at 9 a.m. local time from the same hour April 10. Minnesota power gained $2.06, or 9.1 percent, to average $24.68.

In Minnesota, Xcel Energy Inc. shut its Monticello nuclear reactor, with nameplate capacity of 685 megawatts, while in Nebraska, Omaha Public Power shut its Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant, with nameplate capacity of 502 megawatts, according to the NRC.

Natural gas futures for May delivery was unchanged at $2.511 per million British thermal units at 11:56 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. About 30 percent of power in the U.S. is generated using gas.