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Monday, January 12, 2015

Grid Electricity Prices Continue To Rise

While oil prices are plunging back to earth, grid electricity prices, mostly generated by the burning of fossil fuels, continue to rise across the USA according to a new report from EIA entitled Wholesale power prices increase across the country in 2014.
Electricity prices were highest in the Northeast, driven by record-high natural gas prices early in the year during a very cold winter. Spot natural gas prices at the Henry Hub averaged $4.38 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) in 2014, an increase of 17% from 2013, and prices at other major trading points were up 16%-40% in 2014. Electricity prices were the lowest, and increased the least (only 3%), in the Pacific Northwest, where abundant low-cost hydroelectric generation often leads to the lowest prices in the nation.
A major factor for electricity prices in 2014 was the extreme weather system that covered much of the United States, resulting in heavy snowfall and bitterly cold temperatures during the winter of 2013-14, which strained the energy grid in several ways.
Of course, these extra cold winters are a direct result of Global Warming. While it might seem counter-intuitive, it's clear that the polar vortex is being periodically displaced from the North Pole by warm air reaching the Arctic, spilling air to the south that would have normally been bottled up in the high latitudes. This spillage south causes frigid air to blanket much lower latitudes in the winter. If you thought we might have better winters from Global Warming, you thought wrong.