April Electricity Demand at 3 Year Low; Coal Continues to Capture Market Share from Gas

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Leveraging thousands of proprietary energy monitors to record power plant output in real-time and dozens of in-house analysts and meteorologists, Genscape delivers unique data sets and accurate estimates of market fundamentals

Power demand is typically low in April as it is not hot enough to need air conditioners but not cold or dark enough to need evening lights and space heating. But this past April’s electricity demand was the lowest monthly demand the US has seen in three years as April temperatures trended warmer for the East and West Coast while a core of well-below-average temperatures lingered in the Upper Midwest, according to Genscape’s Generation Fuel Monitor Report.

Year over year, April 2013 was much cooler than 2012 when cooling load was already ramping up across the South and Central US on well above average temperatures. Demand was down 8% from March and 1% from the same month in 2012. Year to date demand is now up just 1% from last year.

Coal power generation continues to take back market share from gas that had been lost in 2012. Henry hub prices are up over 100% year-on-year while Genscape estimates delivered coal costs have only increased 5%. As a result, April coal consumption, on a MWh basis, was up 15% versus 2012 while natural gas generation was down 19%. Year-to-date coal continues its strong run, up 13%, while natural gas power generation lags last year’s record output levels by 11%.

Renewable generation hit its highest levels since last June topping out at 45,939GWh for the month of April; up 15.4% from last month. Of note, MISO reported wind generation was up 10% to 144GWh from 131GWh in March, while the major driver appears to be hydro generation, particularly in the Northwest. Genscape’s monitored facilities in the region increased 45% month-over-month; moving up 3,136GWh to 10,081GWh. The first two weeks of April experienced above normal temperatures causing early snow to melt and above normal precipitation resulting in a strong increase in river flows and hydro generation relative to March. This generation occurred at the expense of hydro generation in late June and July when electricity use will be higher. Genscape’s team of PowerIQ analysts and meteorologists in Boston has forecasted 2013 to be the second lowest hydro season in the last five years; significantly below 2011 and 2012 which were anomalously high water years. Additional information and free trial registration is available for the PowerIQ service at http://www.genscape.com/power-power-iq.

Genscape’s Generation Fuel Monitor Report provides information and analysis on daily fuel consumption at US power plants for all power sector fuels. More information and a free trial are available at info.genscape.com/fuelmonitor-press. The weekly Coal Burn Report provides accurate estimates of how much coal was burned in power plants in the US. Read more about the Coal Burn Report at http://www.genscape.com/coal-coalburn-report. To learn more about either service contact Robert Limp at 866-292-8060.

About Genscape
Genscape is the leading global provider of energy information for commodity and financial markets. Utilizing patented technologies and proprietary algorithms, Genscape provides accurate & timely data on capacities, flow and utilization for all major energy commodities. With thousands of sophisticated energy monitors strategically deployed all over the world, Genscape is unique in its ability to measure and collect energy market fundamentals. These “measured actuals” are then transmitted to clients in real-time or near real-time. Genscape clients often gain first-mover advantage and increased market transparency to better optimize their positions. For more information, please visit: http://www.genscape.com

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