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Tuesday Jun 9, 2020   
This year has been brutal for coal generation. The writing was on the wall for a collapse in output well before the virus lock down mandates were put into effect. The warm winter left natural gas storage inventory near 2 TCF which was .9 TCF above the previous year's level. Front month prices dropped to below $2 in an effort to incentivize additional demand. That move was successful in keeping gas generation well positioned in the dispatch at the cost of a lower coal presence. The demand destruction in the wake of the virus epidemic was just icing on the cake. Output from the coal fleet had to absorb the majority of that drop off as gas generation was the clear winner in the merit order. As a result both MISO and PJM set new record lows for output in March through May. The first ... » read more
Monday Jun 8, 2020   
The weekend has come and gone but it was not without a couple of water events that has the Paciifc Northwest reeling while the Gulf of Mexico region of the Lower 48 was hit with its first Tropical Storm to make landfall this year. Starting with the Pacific Northwest, the water year is a long season with many ups and downs.  There are times when the snowpack density runs off early due to warmer weather and never replenishes itself leaving the month of June quite dry. We sometimes get into an event where it rains nonstop during the month which results in abundant amount of un-calculated water that needs to go someplace.  Inbetween these two scenarios is the current situation as the snowpack density was left to the higher elevation levels this year and the colder weather through Q2 ... » read more
Friday Jun 5, 2020   
It's Friday and we are once again talkin' curtailment. Why?  How curtailments are managed reflects on the ability of a grid operator and its market participants to transact in an economically rational fashion.  Although curtailments will always have a place in a well-operating power market, they are still associated with inefficiency, potentially increased emissions, and added costs.  Last Friday, we compared SPP and CAISO renewable curtailments.  CAISO’s cumulative 2020 curtailments have already exceeded all of 2019 and SPP appears to be ahead of 2019’s curtailments by about 2 months. The data miners at EnergyGPS have been tirelessly mining other rich veins of information and are we happy to report that we now have curtailment data for ERCOT. » read more
Thursday Jun 4, 2020   
If you have followed the evolution of California's renewable a penetration over the years, the story has transitioned from that of the 'duck curve' to more of a focal point of 'curtailments' as the past year has seen the overall megawatt hours skyrocket with the majority tied to solar generation on the grid.  The daily allocated buckets of renewable curtailment volume are defined as local and system, where CAISO has spent a lot of time and effort explaining the difference between each.  For purposes of this blog, we will define local curtailments as resources having adjustment bids that get triggered by some sort of constraint on the grid where as system curtailments are volumes that need to be shed due to a over-supply conditions on the grid.  We usually see massive ... » read more
Wednesday Jun 3, 2020   
As long as the natural gas cash price is not fluctuating the implied heat rate will be spiking during the middle of the afternoon.  This does not promote excessively high power prices despite the spike as the key zones are settling in the upper $20.00 level across the heavy load period.  Over the next two days, we will see another inflection point show up as the midday numbers shift up just enough to make a difference.  The level will stick around through the weekend and early next week as the heat does not go away.  When it comes to the real-time market, the gist of the matter is the solar generation is strong enough to keep things in check so there does not seem to be any issues so far despite the power loads coming in stronger than the day-ahead forecast. Table 1 | ... » read more
Tuesday Jun 2, 2020   
Just a couple of weeks ago SoCal Gas held a customer forum where they went over system performance and planned maintenance outages for the rest of the summer. Once the meeting was opened up for questions, many stakeholders questioned the panel on the prospect for increasing the 235-2 and 4000 line paths that run from the Las Vegas area into the Los Angeles Basin. SoCal confirmed that there is no impending plans to increase the throughput on the beleaguered paths. The receipts have been restricted due to a previous rupture leaving the deliveries constrained by .7 BCF per day. The communication left many market participants with the sentiment that there would be no coming capacity changes in the near future. Well it only took three days before SoCal Gas posted a two month outage on the path ... » read more
Monday Jun 1, 2020   
The past few months have been trying in a lot of ways as each and every one of us have tried to figure out the new daily routine of working from home and if you have children still at home the idea of online schooling is real.  The news updates from around the world were informative in a way that gave us a sense of how bad things were in China, Italy as well as other parts of the world.  In the US, all eyes have been focused on the bigger demand centers like New York City or the State of California as they both took an aggressive stance on their own respective stay-in-place policies and procedures.  Both economies are still not even close to where they once were but this month should see some progress as there have been talks of opening up the more populated areas to the ... » read more
Friday May 29, 2020   
Much is being written about renewable Curtailments in California.  Gary Ackerman, the author of a popular 'Burrito', has gone so far as to create a betting pool on where renewable curtailment will end up this year.  He will be having a couple of entry rounds and the most recent pool closed in late April.  That crowd-sourced forecast (average of entries submitted  by 30 readers ) is 1.72 GWh—nearly double where we landed last year.  (Source: Gary Ackerman, The Friday Burrito Vol. XXIII #15 May 8, 2020). Figure 1 details the current status of both the local and system curtailments within the CAISO footprint, to which we have now reached the 1.0 GWh (all of last year was around .974 GWh).   There are a lot of factors that go into the 'why' ... » read more
Thursday May 28, 2020   
ERCOT has become the leader when it comes to wind capacity hitting the grid across the Lower 48.  Since that is the case, more conversation is being had about the changing intraday directional wind and the speed to which it is being gauged.  These two components have a big impact on how ERCOT's real-time supply is dispatched as certain types of units are needed as a quick response time is essential for balancing.  When you throw in the fact that the power loads have some swing to them with any deviation from a temperature forecast the grid's real-time picture starts to look quite different from that of the day-ahead market.  Wednesday, May 27th  2020, was a day that saw the real-time net load profile come in lower than the day-ahead and as a result the hourly ... » read more
Wednesday May 27, 2020   
It has been an amazing set of events this past spring. The coronavirus impacts nearly collapsed the world economy. The contagion forced populations on every continent to find shelter in their homes. Commerce in almost every major industry came to a standstill. The largest impact on the world stage was leveled upon the petroleum industry. The combination of lock down mandates and the failure of OPEC quotas left the world awash in oil. West Texas Intermediate prices fell from the mid $40's to minus $36 in less than six weeks. Producers slashed volumes, workforce and CapEx budgets in an effort to stay alive. As of right now it looks like their efforts have worked. WTI prices have recovered to $34 per barrel as of this morning.  Figure 1 | NYMEX WTI (CL) Continuous Contract Prices ... » read more
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