Although we spend our days here at ETE swimming in price data, the current ISO-NE and NYISO future wholesale power prices seem worthy of a blog post. Although each grid is divided up into zones, the most common price benchmarks are the MA Hub and Zone J for ISO-NE and NYISO, respectively. Over the last year, the futures curve for both markets has ranged from flat to backwardated. (Note: Backwardation is a term used when commodities for future delivery are less expensive than in the near term). Although NYISO only flirted with backwardation briefly, ISO-NE saw strong backwardation driven by expectations that many of the natural gas bottlenecks impeding deliverability to the region will be relieved by 2015/2016. This backwardation was significantly reduced on 8/28/2013 when Entergy announced the impending 2014 closure of Vermont Yankee.
The graph to the right shows the 30-day price history of an Around the Clock (ATC) 5MW block of power delivered to the MA Hub throughout a given calendar year. You'll note that 2014 was trading at a premium versus the out years until the Entergy VT Yankee announcement. Subsequent to the announcement, prices for 2015 jumped to parity with 2014 and prices for 2016 delivery rose, but not enough to erase the backwardation. Although Vermont Yankee is a small nuclear power plant, it is a significant source of baseload generation in Western New England and its loss may create additional congestion in this region of the ISO-NE grid in addition to raising prices for ISO-NE as a whole. Although its doubtful that Indian Point in NYISO will be forced to shut down pre-maturely, we shudder to think what might happen to NYISO Zone J future power prices if Indian Point goes away.
The table below shows data for ISO-NE and NYISO power prices presented in the form of a stock table. You'll note that the 52-week highs and lows are much tighter for NYISO than for ISO-NE. Also, while NYISO's current prices aren't much different from the 30 and 90 day moving averages, you'll note that ISO-NE prices have upward momentum right now.