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Featured Articles
Thursday Nov 12, 2015   
With the move down in the natural gas market at the end of last month, all the chatter was about the next wave of coal to gas switching that will be occurring in the market as the ratio between coal prices and the prompt month natural gas price shifted up to levels seen last spring. Figure 1 | Coal to Gas Switching Ratio As you can see in Figure 1, once the November contract went off the board (at $2.033), the new prompt month (December) has brought the ration down around the 18 level, not the 20 some level in Q2. The real question at the time was how much switching ... » read more
Tuesday Nov 10, 2015   
Conditions have changed quite a bit in the PNW over the last couple of weeks.  The once dry and cracked ground is now damp soil as rain storms have consistently moved through the region.  With fall conditions in full swing we are seeing renewable generation in the PNW take control of the market.  This week’s wind forecast in combination with a healthy hydro system will significantly offset gas fired generation and drive down energy prices.  Figure 1 | PNW Hydro generation YoY - 24 HR Ave The PNW hydro system has benefited the increase ... » read more
Monday Nov 9, 2015   
Over the weekend, Diablo Canyon Unit 1 started to ramp back up after being offline for over 4 weeks due to refueling. Figure 1 | NRC Nuclear Outage Change This combined with in-state wind picking up for today, helped push the SP15 implied heat rate down to an 11.53 across the heavy load hours.  This is using weekend gas, which settled in at $2.13 at Socal Border.  Friday's SP15 implied heat rate was closer to 12.0, so the 1/2 point is directly due to ramping of Diablo Canyon Unit 1 and wind generation. As you can see in the graph below, the morning hours ... » read more
Friday Nov 6, 2015   
With this week's EIA number posting a 52 BCF injection, the question I have is simple, should that be read as bullish or bearish. Figure 1 | EIA Weekly Storage Number The market took it as a bullish signal as it came in roughly 5-7 BCF below expectations and was below levels seen last year at this time.  As a result, the front end of the curve shifted up $0.102 on the day, leaving the December contract at $2.364.  Some of the people in the bullish camp are also pointing to the fact that this number is low when you take into account the mild weather that was ... » read more
Thursday Nov 5, 2015   
As we enter the first full weekend of November 2015, ERCOT saw a glimpse of the net load profile as wind within the ISO footprint averaged over 10,200 MW yesterday.  With temperatures in the low 70's across the state, the existing load profile was already expected to be flat to Monday. Figure 1 | ERCOT Net Load - Hourly As you can see in the figure above, the massive increase in wind over the past few days has shifted the net load profile down to levels seen during the weekend of October 24th/25th, which is well below what hit the grid on Monday. When you look ... » read more
Wednesday Nov 4, 2015   
Over the past two months, Canadian storage facilities have traded operations, as the month of September saw MICA release water from behind the dam while October saw Arrow shift its elevation down while MICA was basically unchanged. Figure 1 | MICA and Arrow Storage Levels - Daily As you can see in the graphs in Figure 1, both MICA and Arrow are well below previous year levels.  A lot of the action can be attributed to the Midc implied heat rate remaining in the natural gas stack and a stout evening ramp price signal in the CAISO DA auction over the last two ... » read more
Tuesday Nov 3, 2015   
In our past North American Daily and Weekly Natural Gas Reports, we have discussed extensively the coal to gas ratio calculation and the levels in which it has indicated that the natural gas fleet will knock out some coal units across the grid.  As we mentioned, when November was the prompt month, the final days prior to expiry the ratio got as high as what we saw during the spring. Figure 1 | Coal to Gas Ratio The high point in October was when the November contract went off the board at $2.033 last week Wednesday.  Since December was trading over the ... » read more
Monday Nov 2, 2015   
As the clocks got turned back on Saturday night (hopefully everyone had a safe and Happy Halloween), the daylight hours in theory get shifted up an hour making the morning routine a little brighter while the trip to the grocery store after work is feeling quite dark.  Down in California, this translates into solar shifting up an hour as well as it is dependent on the sunlight of course.  If you look at the solar profile on November 2nd compared to the 30th of October, you can see what I am talking about. Figure 1 | CAISO Solar Generation - Hourly As you can ... » read more
Friday Oct 30, 2015   
Over the course of a week, the sudden drop in the natural gas has impacted the market in several ways.  The one thing that sticks out is how the coal to gas ratio has expanded to levels seen last spring when gas was thought to be at a low point coming out of winter and Production strong across the country. Figure 1 | Coal to Gas Ratio As a result, we saw power burns jump up quite a bit as entities starting to look at their portfolio as well as lean on the less expensive natural gas market to provide them with the power they needed to balance their ... » read more
Thursday Oct 29, 2015   
What do you get when the wind is expected to blow and some precipitation up in the Pacific Northwest?  You get lower heat rates in both the Pacific Northwest and California, here is a breakout as to why. First, you get a longer grid in the region to where the marginal cost of energy has to move lower to incentivize natural gas units not to run.  This occurred in the cash market for today with the Midc heavy load indexing at $19.44 and Malin coming in at $2.17.  Up until this point, the Midc power price has been settling in the $23.50-$24.50 range with ... » read more
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