Last Summer's "Pure" Capacity Prices
WHOLESALE POWER PRICES DURING THE SUMMER OF 1997 REACHED LEVELS MUCH higher than in 1996 - higher than the variable fuel costs of even the costliest units (see Figures 1 and 2). This situation has confounded many observers. Many thought, in spite of forecasts to the contrary, that markets would continue to exhibit excess capacity for years to come. They thought need for new capacity was distant and that hourly markets would not see premiums in excess of fuel costs for marginal units - the so-called "pure" capacity premium - for years to come.
The evidence is in.