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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
Tuesday Apr 5, 2016   
Over the past few years April has not only been the start of injection season but also the start of summer coal capacity retirements. Last spring almost 13 GW's of coal capacity was retired in favor of new renewable or combined cycle generation. Power burns responded by growing over 2 BCF per day in Q2 2015 alone. There is another round of coal retirements planned this April as well. This is a different year. We do not expect to see any increased power burns this April associated with the shut down of the 4000 MW's of coal capacity listed in Figure 1. Figure 1 | April ... » read more
Monday Apr 4, 2016   
Early last week, the office threw out a 74 degree high choice market at the Portland International Airport (KPDX). The stipulation was that the gauge has to top that mark sometime between Wednesday and Friday last week.  As we ended up watching the hourly reading, Wednesday reached 73 degrees where Thursday sat right at the mark. By Friday, a little cloud cover was expected to move in, but towards the end of the day, we saw the 75 degree mark intra-hour. This just gives you an indication that the Pacific Northwest has turned the corner to Spring now that we are ... » read more
Friday Apr 1, 2016   
In a highly contested decision, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio ruled in favor of First Energy and American Electric Power to subsidize the operation of seven coal plants and one nuclear power plant in the name of grid reliability. The ruling was released earlier today and guarantees a rate of return for the following power plants within the state of Ohio: Figure 1 | Ohio Power Plants Covered Under the March 31, 2016 PUCO Ruling   As you can see in Figure 1, the BCF equivalent gas displacement to this ruling is just under 1.4 BCF/d (the coal plants listed ... » read more
Thursday Mar 31, 2016   
Heading into April there are multiple factors that will tighten power markets across the Northeastern United States. In previous newsletters we have discussed two bullish factors that are expected to impact the natural gas markets beginning in April. The first of which is the end of withdrawal requirements at numerous storage facilities across the country.  Once the requirements are lifted storage operators will have increased flexibility to inject gas, bringing more buyers to the market.  The increased demand will tighten the cash to prompt month spread for ... » read more
Wednesday Mar 30, 2016   
Move over Earth, Wind and Fire, there is a new band touring the state of California called Solar, Hydro, Imports and Wind.  The band was formed a couple of years ago and the rendition of 'Shining Star' and 'That's the Way of the World' really took off.  They made a big splash this year by adding the 4th member to the band (Hydro).  So far this year, they have had three number one songs on the Billboard's top 50 songs, they are called the 'The Duck's Belly', 'No need for Natural Gas' and 'Windy Days Ahead'.  If you get a chance you have to go ... » read more
Tuesday Mar 29, 2016   
Back in 2007 when Henry Hub natural gas prices were $7.00 per MMBTU, a decision was made at the Tennessee Valley Authority to go ahead and complete the construction of the Watts Bar 2 nuclear power plant. Construction on the plant was originally started in 1972 and suspended in 1986 when the energy infrastructure in the United States was considered overbuilt. When TVA approved the completion of the 1150 MW plant in 2007 the cost was expected to be 2.5 billion dollars. After the Fukushima disaster in Japan, the NRC mandated that TVA make significant safety enhancements ... » read more
Monday Mar 28, 2016   
Now is a good time to be a retail electricity buyer – especially a long term buyer. Double especially a long term buyer of renewable power. The long term wholesale power curve has dropped with natural gas over the last 24 months. The busbar cost of renewables has also dropped. With the extension of both the wind and solar tax credits the next few years look like an excellent time for retail buyers to layer in some purchases. And that is exactly what we are seeing happening in the markets these days. A simple web search turns up a litany of renewable purchases ... » read more
Thursday Mar 24, 2016   
Coming out of an abnormally cold weekend in the East, load lingered for the first couple days this week with US peak demand topping 370 GWs on Monday.  Figure 1| US Peak Electricity Demand - GWs Despite the strong demand on Monday and Tuesday Power burns across the country fell in comparison to the previous week.  Figure 2| Total US Power Burns - BCF  The five BCF downturn in powerburns between last Thursday and this Wednesday is rather drastic considering peak load was nearly flat between the two days. Digging a little deeper we can see the shifting ... » read more
Wednesday Mar 23, 2016   
While a lot of discussion has taken place about Aliso Canyon. and the lack of storage space for the summer injection season. Eyes have to turn to PG&E storage because they also have a storage capacity issue. When Aliso Canyon storage went down with a well leak issue around the facility, Socal Gas was mandated to withdraw gas from the cavern. That extra gas combined with a moderate winter and an abundance of wind and solar (renewable) energy kept PG&E system inventory high for all of the first quarter of this year. In Figure 1 below, you can see where PG&E ... » read more
Tuesday Mar 22, 2016   
Over the past couple of years, the term 'Duck Curve' has been thrown around the when discussing the solar penetration in the CAISO market.  This is where, the middle of the day solar profile ramps up and knocks out thermal generation and the implied heat rate shifts down.  When this occurs it leaves the morning and evening ramp hours exposed to quick ramping/more expensive units to balance the grid.  As a result, the morning ramp hours are somewhere between the middle of the day belly and the higher priced evening ramp hours. Figure 1 | Example of Duck ... » read more
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