California Spot Power Jumps as Solar Generation Falls Short

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California spot wholesale electricity prices jumped as solar generation fell 69 percent below forecasts.

The National Weather Service said there’s a threat of showers in central and southern coastal regions as a low pressure system moves into the area with “moisture from the remnants of Hurricane Blanca,” according to a Tuesday advisory. The notice includes San Luis Obispo County, which is home to Berkshire Hathaway Energy Inc.’s 550-megawatt Topaz plant, the world’s largest solar farm.

Solar installations in the state generated 1,032 megawatts in the hour ended at 11 a.m. local time versus the day-ahead projection of 3,337 megawatts for the hour.

“With the presence of widespread cloud cover and precipitation throughout southern California, we’re seeing solar generation struggle to reach 2,000 megawatts after peaking at 5,868 megawatts yesterday,” said Ross Fessenden, an analyst with Genscape Inc. in Boston. “This significant decrease in solar is helping drive higher prices throughout the state.”

Spot power at Southern California’s SP15 hub, which includes Los Angeles, jumped $267.12 to $291.61 a megawatt-hour in the hour ended at 11 a.m. from the same time Monday, according to grid data compiled by Bloomberg. Northern California’s NP15 hub rose $269.29 to $306.35.

The discount for Southern California’s spot on-peak power versus the northern hub narrowed to $2.80 from a full-day average of $70.72 Tuesday, which was the biggest such gap in almost three weeks.

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