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Featured Articles
Thursday Feb 23, 2017   
Yesterday’s newsletter discussed the announced closure of the Navajo Generating Station in Arizona. Today we discuss a report that advocates for the closure of the Columbia Generating Station nuclear facility located near Richland, Washington. With the Navajo plant, the project owners are opting to close it down, while the Columbia Generating Station owners want to keep operating it and a group that I was not heretofore familiar with – Physicians for Social Responsibility – would like to close it down. Let’s start with a little background ... » read more
Wednesday Feb 22, 2017   
 Figure 1 | Navajo Power Plant In the last week we’ve seen news articles related to two major power generating stations in the west come across our screens. One relates to the Columbia Generating Station, a nuclear power facility on the Columbia River. The other relates to the Navajo Generating Station, a coal power facility located near Lake Powell in Page, Arizona. Both of these power plants are under economic pressure because the forward-looking costs to operate them exceed expected market prices. A combination of factors are expected to continue to put ... » read more
Tuesday Feb 21, 2017   
Those of us who live in the Pacific Northwest try to find every excuse around this time of year to head down to the Southern part of California for a little sunshine and warmer weather.  That is not the case this year as California continues to get hit with massive storms across the entire state.  For example, a friend of mine was flying to Los Angeles for the long weekend to spend some time with friends in and around Long Beach.  I got a text from him on Friday night stating his flight was delayed by 3:30 out of Portland due to the heavy showers ... » read more
Friday Feb 17, 2017   
I have always been intrigued by the phrase “Smart Grid.” It is one of those buzz phrases that people use that could mean almost anything. Simply Googling the phrase brings up a number of definitions. Here are two: “an electricity supply network that uses digital communications technology to detect and react to local changes in usage.” or “Smart grid generally refers to a class of technology people are using to bring utility electricity delivery systems into the 21st century, using computer-based remote control and automation.” No ... » read more
Thursday Feb 16, 2017   
With the flows shifting up over the weekend and into the early part of this week, we started to see some lack of market/lack of turbine capacity spill at several of the dams along the Lower Columbia and Snake River basins.  All four of the dams on the Lower Columbia showed spill for the purposes of lack of turbine capacity.  Figure 1 | Lower Columbia Flows and Spill - Hourly This was confirmed on yesterday's TMT call at the very end of the meeting.  The spill was not due to lack of market as the price in the market was still attractive to a ... » read more
Wednesday Feb 15, 2017   
Brayton Point Power Station is the largest coal plant in New England and consists of three units combing for 1,200 MWs of coal generation plus a 4th, 475 MW, oil fired unit. In late 2013 the facility owners announced that the coal unit would be retired in early 2017 which meant the end of coal generation in Massachusetts. The planned retirement has remained on schedule and is currently expected to shut its doors sometime this March.  As many of our readers are aware, New England sees some of the highest energy costs in the winter thanks to low natural gas ... » read more
Tuesday Feb 14, 2017   
This morning, almost every written publication across the country has some coverage of the Oroville spillway issues. To recap, the flooding and spillway damage would never occurred if California hadn't received a large amount of precipitation. Since October 1, almost all of the climate stations across Northern California are posting readings that are well above normal. After seeing so many years of drought, it has been a welcome sight to have full reservoirs. The problem is that the Department of Water Resources didn't keep outflows from the Oroville Dam ... » read more
Monday Feb 13, 2017   
The weather forecasts from various vendors have been showing quite of bit of red in the 8-14 day period and/or the 6-10/11-15 day periods across most of the Lower 48. Figure 1 | NOAA 8-14 Day Temperature Forecast Since it is only the middle of February, the warmer temperatures have shifted the overall rescom demand quite a bit lower in several regions east of the Mississippi and Texas.  In the West, temperatures continue to be slightly below normal but with the highest renewable energy penetration (due to California's RPS) the net thermal demand from power ... » read more
Friday Feb 10, 2017   
With little fanfare, Washington State implemented new carbon rules in January of 2017. The new rules, which were promulgated through the Washington Department of Ecology, apply to about 25 major emitters, including the state's five oil refineries and all major natural gas electricity generators. The rules are an exercise in gradualism, where large GHG emitters must reduce emissions by 1.7% annually. While this program certainly is not ambitious in terms of required carbon reductions, under certain conditions it could result in the price of carbon being reflected in ... » read more
Thursday Feb 9, 2017   
We sent out a market flash yesterday afternoon detailing the enormous amount of precipitation the state of California has been getting, especially Northern California as of late.  Per CDEC, the current precipitation level has surpassed last year's aggregated total for the entire water year.  Some forecasters are calling for more precipitation after a little reprieve over the weekend. Figure 1 | Precipitation Forecast for the 1-15 Day Period - California   The massive precipitation has led to several inches of rain hitting the already saturated ground as ... » read more
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