Alberta’s weighted average Power Pool Price for February settled to $126.17/MWh. Relative to last week’s month-to-date price of $110.89/MWh, this represents an increase of $15.28/MWh or 13.8%. As a result of extreme weather, the province saw its highest daily settle of the year on February 23rd at $354.21/MWh. When the weather warnings subsided, we saw volatility fall off and prices return to expected levels. Further contributing to price instability this past week, several intermittent outages occurred at Battler River 4 & 5, Sheerness 3, Genesee 3, and Sheppard Energy Center. Only Sheerness 2 has come back online, which places increased risk for price volatility over the short-term, until these generators are able to provide baseload capacity to the grid.

The weighted average Hourly Ontario Energy Price (HOEP) is settling at 3.0¢/kWh so far for the month of March, representing a 0.8¢/kWh or 27.1% increase over last week’s settle. The primary driver of this price hike is the increased use of demand response generators, which are typically expensive natural gas-burning ones. Natural gas-burning generation increased by 73.3% (2176MW) over the course of this past week. Baseload generation, such as nuclear and hydro, lowered output to an average of 8635MW (-8.1%), and 4512MW (-0.3%), respectively. Solar and biofuel increased week-over-week output (+34.1%; 65MW, +19.1%; 61MW, respectively), whereas wind generation fell (-54.7%, -931MW). With the first Global Adjustment estimated at 7.0¢/kWh, March’s total market price is settling at 10.0¢/kWh as of today.

Regarding long-term planning of electricity generation, the province of Ontario is currently exploring the possibility of building more large-scale nuclear plants. The Environmental Registry of Ontario recently posted a consultation online requesting feedback on this potential new project. Increasing nuclear generation would help meet the growing demand for electricity and decrease the use of natural gas generation.

– Mark Ljuckanov, Energy Advisor / Clara Birch, Energy Data Analyst

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