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Featured Articles
Thursday Apr 20, 2017   
...For doing maintenance. It is easy to focus on the power plant maintenance each year. The outages are readily available and reported by several entities including the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. What is harder to determine is the level of impact from the maintenance in the gas sector. Pipelines post information hidden in some notice or have it laid out in a format that is not easily accessible from a coding standpoint. They also fail to mention the volumes that will be impacted by the outage and the effects to other upstream and downstream points along the ... » read more
Wednesday Apr 19, 2017   
The skies are begging to clear over Southern California and temperatures are on the rise. Daily highs begin moving higher in the Burbank area this afternoon and are expected to hit 90 degrees by Friday.  Forecasts from Sacramento to San Diego are showing similar upside through then end of the week.   Figure 1 | Burbank Actual Temperatures vs Forecast We have already seen the impact of the sunnier skies in the DA for Wednesday as solar generation increased an additional 1,326 MWa over the HL (putting the peak back over 7,200 MW). The increases in solar ... » read more
Tuesday Apr 18, 2017   
I thought it would be good to take a quick look at what is happening on the ground when it comes to the renewable penetration in California and a water year that is setting new records with the amount of precipitation that has hit the ground (yesterday's newsletter). Figure 1 | CAISO Renewable Growth Over Time As you can see, at the end of 2011, the renewable choice started to add solar generation into the mix and by the end of 2013 it was the rising star (no pun intended).  The conversation started to be around how the hourly profile would impact the middle of ... » read more
Monday Apr 17, 2017   
Back in 1982-83, the world was quite different as a gallon of has was $0.91 while the average household income was $21,500.  A new car was going for just under $8,000 while the yearly inflation rate was 16.6%.  The Dow Jones averaged 1046 while interest rates were 11.5%.  I tell you all this information as it was during that time the state of California was experiencing quite a bit of rain.  In fact, the 1982-83 water year was the wettest on record in Northern California as the Sierra region saw 88.5 inches. Figure 1 | Northern California Sierra ... » read more
Friday Apr 14, 2017   
We enjoy thinking about long term power markets. Regions like ERCOT and CAISO are especially interesting as it is not clear how the high levels of renewables in those markets will play out. Each market has its own unique renewable resources and market rules. The experiment will be played out in the coming years, and it will be interesting to see what happens. One of the cool things about electricity markets is trying to understand the future of one market by taking a look at other electricity markets around the globe that may share similar characteristics. Back in my ... » read more
Thursday Apr 13, 2017   
Vince Lombardi once said, "What the heck is going on around here?" when he was referring to the play of his football team. His voice was stern but had a tone of dismay to what he was seeing.  The Pacific Northwest over the past few weeks could have the same quote with a similar tone. Figure 1 | BPA Wind/Load/Thermal/Net Interchange Values - Hourly Looking at Figure 1, there is a lot to talk about to answer Vince's question.  Let us first take a look at the red line, which represents BPA's power demand (load) within its balancing authority. » read more
Wednesday Apr 12, 2017   
Looking out at the North American power landscape one thing that stands out to us are the exceptionally strong nuclear outages. Starting around April 1st the total outage number began to deviate strongly from 2015 and 2016. Currently, there are over 21 GWs worth of nuclear outages across the US which is roughly 6 GWs above the last two years.  Figure 1 | Total Nuclear Plant Outages vs last 6 years - ConUS MWs Typically, an uptick in nuclear outages translates into stronger power burns as combined cycle units ramp in to pick up the slack, however this is clearly ... » read more
Tuesday Apr 11, 2017   
Just a two weeks ago, the temperature outlook for most Northeast cities had a significant amount of heating load. Overnight lows in Boston were still getting down into the high teens which was 8 degrees below normal. This winter weather was driving Residential/Commercial demand to levels well above historical average. But since the beginning of the month, the transition to spring like conditions has begun. The associated drop in demand is a big reason why we are seeing natural gas cash prices delivered on Algonquin Pipeline drop to less than half of what we saw in ... » read more
Monday Apr 10, 2017   
With the Pacific Northwest hydro situation not going away (system is near full capacity) and California having their own issues during the middle of the day when load is low, wind is blowing and the sun is shining the only outlet is to move the cheaper power from the Pacific Northwest up into Canada and ultimately syncing with the Alberta Power Pool.  It evident more so on the days when the Pacific Northwest experiences bigger wind output on the grid. Figure 1 | Bonneville Wind Generation - Hourly If you look at the transmission flows on the days when wind tops ... » read more
Friday Apr 7, 2017   
On Thursday California’s 3rd District Court of Appeal in Sacramento voted 2-1 to uphold California’s cap-and-trade system. This was a huge win for environmentalists and creates an increased level of certainty around California’s carbon regulations. The decision from the Appeals court could still be appealed to the California Supreme Court. The decision makes for an interesting read. Officially titled “Morning Star Packing Company v. State Air Resources Board”, the case evaluates whether the cap-and-trade system represents a tax on ... » read more
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