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Special Research Reports
  
The Alberta Power and Natural Gas market continue to make the headlines as former is seeing its supply stack change with the retirement of coal plants and increased wind capacity. The latter is tied to what is happening with the summer maintenance restrictions as well as the production growth within the province. » read more
  
Over the years, the Rockies region has been a focal point in the West. With the landscape changing across several adjoining regions, the Rockies is once going to be in the spotlight. In this report, we detail the short, mid and long term fundamental changes impacting the overall production supply in the Rockies. » read more
Featured Articles
Friday Mar 31, 2017   
It’s Spring Break week for Oregon primary and secondary schools. I’ve spent the week enjoying the warmer climate and stunning sights in Arizona. The sunshine does a body good, especially after a particularly wet, cold, and bleak Oregon winter. Stepping away from the blow-by-blow of the work day allows me to pan out and take a look at things through a slightly broader lens. I’ve been reading articles about the energy industry – the ones I don’t ever get to when I’m at my desk. The Wall Street Journal does a good job covering the ... » read more
Thursday Mar 30, 2017   
Over the past couple few years, California has been the pioneer when it comes to a renewables portfolio standard (RPS).  The state has seen growth in both wind and solar with the latter being the generation of choice since 2015. In fact, over the past couple of days, we have seen the peak solar output top the 9,200 MW (see yesterday's newsletter).  Adding a little fuel to the fire is the behind the meter movement that is up to 4,900 MW of capacity across California.  The combination of this along with wind and hydro, has pushed the implied heat rates in ... » read more
Wednesday Mar 29, 2017   
For the majority of March we have been discussing various cold snaps across the Eastern and Southern portion of the United States while simultaneously monitoring the persistent precipitation levels across the PNW and Northern California.  However there is a brighter spot on the map known as Burbank which has fully transitioned out of winter.  Figure 1 | Forecasted vs Actual Temperatures - Burbank CA  As spring weather kicks into full gear we begin to get a sense of what the solar profile will look through the summer. Specifically, we can ... » read more
Tuesday Mar 28, 2017   
In recent weeks, we have noticed a trend in our PJM power plant analysis. Output from natural gas fired facilities have take a much higher turn and are setting all time highs for this time of the year. This defies the convention that natural gas generation will steal from the market share of coal fired facilities during times where the gas prices are inexpensive. But compared to last year, the natural gas prices serving the PJM grid have almost doubled.   Figure 1 | PJM Total NG Generation (2015 - 2017) Last week, the Dominion South daily index moved up to $2.90 ... » read more
Monday Mar 27, 2017   
Someone needs to turn off the spigot here in the Pacific Northwest after another weekend of precipitation in the form of rainfall at the lower elevations and snowpack in the mountains.  In fact, as we drove down to Eugene for a soccer weekend, the height of the rivers that ran under I-5 was impressive as many were nearing the overpass bridge.  All this precipitation has shifted the Jan-Jul MAF at The Dalles up to 127 MAF, which is 126% of normal. Figure 1 | The Dalles Jan-Jul MAF This steep move up is two-fold as the earlier portion of the climb showed up ... » read more
Friday Mar 24, 2017   
Earlier this month the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) published “Solar Market Insight 2016 Year in Review” which is a joint effort of Wood Mackenzie and SEIA. http://www.seia.org/research-resources/solar-market-insight-report-2016-year-review This is a great read not only for those in the solar industry, but also for those in wholesale power and natural gas markets as the rise of solar will have material impacts on the markets in the years to come. Figure 1.2 from the report shows new capacity additions in the US by type of generation. Solar ... » read more
Thursday Mar 23, 2017   
Over the past week, the Pacific Northwest has been running on mostly hydro generation and a little wind as the natural gas noms have been showing less than .100 BCF taken off the pipe by gas fired generators.  There is some coal running for reliability purposes as they are using it for ancillary service reg up/down.  This is exposing the Pacific Northwest hydro system to what we call 'lack of market' spill where they take water and move it through the spillway despite having turbine capacity.  A good example of this can be seen on the Upper Columbia ... » read more
Wednesday Mar 22, 2017   
The month of February saw cash prices shift down to levels that prompted coal to gas switching, as a result, in the lower net load bins we started to see a response to power burns that shifted them closer to the 2016 level on certain days.  This was due to an abnormally warm temperatures throughout the country.  The early part of March stated to cool back down with the middle of the month giving the Midwest and Eastern part of the country a 'mini winter' as temperatures dropped and rescom demand shifted up.  As we move into the end of March it is clear ... » read more
Tuesday Mar 21, 2017   
Just a few short years ago the TransCanada Mainline, running from Alberta eastward to Quebec, was a crucial artery for gas supply in North America. Built in the 1950's, it was considered a cricial piece of infrastructure for heating the eastern population centers. But with the advent of shale gas production in the Marcellus and  Utica Basins, the pipeline is looking more like a fading star than a necesssity it once was. In an effort to find new markets for the production of inexpensive natural gas, pipelines extending from the United States into Canada are being ... » read more
Monday Mar 20, 2017   
The winter in the Pacific Northwest has been anything but normal.  A friend of mine said he heard, "if you are 32 years old or younger and have lived in Portland your whole like, this winter is the coldest you have ever experienced".  If you recall, the month of February was the wettest on record along with the average temperatures coming in 4-5 degrees below normal.  The colder jet stream from the Pacific Northwest northern region collided with the Pacific jet stream that pushed up from California and dumped plenty of snow along the I-84 ... » read more
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