(Bloomberg) — Spot prices for electricity in Texas passed the grid’s cap of $9,000 per megawatt-hour as an arctic chill raises the specter of blackouts.
Wholesale power for delivery Monday traded at $9,009.40 a megawatt-hour in the West hub at 1 a.m. in Houston, a staggering 3,466% increase from Friday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Ercot sets the limit to avoid runaway prices during extreme events.
About half of the state’s wind turbines were inoperable Sunday morning because of ice and cold, according to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the grid operator. Meanwhile demand is surging as people crank up heaters, with consumption setting a new winter peak record on Sunday.
About 800 daily records for cold temperatures have been set in the past week as Arctic air pushes all the way to the Gulf of Mexico, sending gyrations through energy markets. Temperatures in Dallas are forecast to be 3 degrees Fahrenheit Monday (minus 16 Celsius).
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