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Wednesday Nov 13, 2019   
Over the past few weeks, there has been a lot of chatter about the wildfires in California and the rolling blackout plan implemented by PGAE to mitigate equipment risk that has been deemed the cause of fires in previous years.  As part of the EnergyGPS West Power and Natural Gas product offering, we been monitoring both the supply/demand components that are being impacted.  On the demand side, the first set of cuts was impactful as over .8 GWa of electricity was taken from the grid with the peak hour hitting 1.1 GW.  The next two hours were slightly less impactful as the temperatures were already shifting to more fall-like weather but nonetheless, families and businesses were being displaced to other adjoining balancing authorities that were not tied to PGAE or driving to ... » read more
Tuesday Nov 12, 2019   
Over the past three weeks we have noticed a material change in the Alberta natural gas demand. This is highly unusual. Thanks to the build out in oil sands and a growing population the province has been booming for decades. In some years we have seen as much as a 1 BCF per day gain in the underlying demand. For the first time that we can remember the demand has started to shift down. We have to look no further than the Athabasca oil sands projects to find out why. A number of companies have announced layoffs and production cuts in an effort to shore up balance sheets during a difficult price environment. On top of it, thanks to a tight natural gas inventory issue, the AECO cash prices are running at multi year highs which constricts the production margins. Natural gas is a major input for ... » read more
Friday Nov 8, 2019   
If my computer screen was a television, you’d think that I have been binge watching the Storage Channel! You know, that new channel that everyone is talking about that includes stand-alone battery storage, solar plus storage, pump storage hydro, and even pushing trains uphill and harnessing the energy as they fall. This is especially true in the WECC as buyers run from the worsening duck curve, coal plants retire, and rumblings of the need to put a price on installed capacity work their way around western utilities. Figure 1 | Battery Storage on the Grid In today's blog we introduce a few of the concepts and data tied to battery storage.  These highlighted concepts will be broken down into more detail in an EnergyGPS Special Report that will be published in the next ... » read more
Thursday Nov 7, 2019   
Over the past few weeks, the conversation around renewables has picked up in both the West and in SPP/ERCOT where the former is tied to the lack of output during the cold period in the Pacific Northwest and Santa Anna winds in California.  The latter continues to be around how much more capacity will be added by year's end and what will be in place come summer when the power demand across both regions is at its peak.  This type of conversation definitely puts the renewable component on top of the mountain in many cases but also at the bottom of the hill in others. Starting with the top of the mountain look no further than the recent output in Texas as there have been days when the wind generation took over the majority share of the supply needed to meet the power demand on the ... » read more
Wednesday Nov 6, 2019   
As we start to move into the heart of winter, I thought it would be worthwhile to step back and take a look at how the renewable profiles in ERCOT are shaking out in Q4.  As we have documented in other blogs, articles and monthly reports, ERCOT is the front-runner when it comes to wind penetration across North America.  On the solar front, nobody can compete with California's drastic increase but going from nothing to something is always a start.  With the forward natural gas curve catching a bit of a bid in the market the past couple of weeks, the focus moving forward will be on how much new capacity will get added over the course of the next 6-7 weeks as an end of the year rush could be in order. Figure 1 | ERCOT Monthly Wind Breakdown You can see in the top pane in the ... » read more
Tuesday Nov 5, 2019   
The Lower 48 natural gas production has recently moved to a new high of 95.4 BCF. That is up 6.6 BCF from last year with a good portion of the gains coming as a by product of the crude production stream in the Permian Basin. Because the infrastructure in the Permian is mainly dedicated to the crude industry, natural gas volumes are particularly sensitive to weather shocks. The most recent polar event underscores how vulnerable the basin is to freezing temperatures. Noting we are at the beginning of the heating season there are more cold events on the way which will ignite volatility for Texas gas markets.     Figure 1 | Lower 48 Production Volume In the past three weeks we have seen two distinct temperature events throughout the Midcontinent. Each had a negative effect on ... » read more
Monday Nov 4, 2019   
For some time now, we have been discussing the power demand profile within CAISO's footprint as the renewable mandate over the years has netted what we consider a double hump profile.  The double hump occurs since most of the new renewable capacity comes in the form of both behind the meter solar and utility-scaled facilities integrated into the grid's daily supply/demand balance. Figure 1 | CAISO Net Load Profile - Hourly Actuals and Forecast The red lines in the graph above represent the power demand tied to the consumers of power on an hourly basis while the bright blue at the bottom is the wind generation hitting the grid while the faded orange is what gets generated by the sun (solar).  The former is volatile on a daily basis while the latter represents the utility-scaled ... » read more
Friday Nov 1, 2019   
If you have been in the electricity sector for some time, there are several revolving concepts and topics that always seem to pop up for discussion and/or debate depending on the time of year or circumstances around a specific market.  One of those topics is the 'Capacity Market' within each ISO and RTO sector across all of North America. At the end of the day, this hot topic serves as a foundation to what most would consider reliability to the power grid.  As stated, each market acts a little differently depending on the governing body and policy makers tied to the specific electricity balancing authority.  The discussion have takend several turns over the years with PJM being the pioneer over the years.  While other ISO's have been formed since the inception of ... » read more
Thursday Oct 31, 2019   
If you have every been to Phoenix there is a good chance you have seen Camelback Mountain as it is within the spawling metropolis in the desert.  If you were there for vacation some might have even stayed at the resort that sits at the bottom of the mountain while others just decided to hike up to the top to get a glimpse of the city and surrounding area.  It is a gorgous view at any time of day but the early morning to me is the best time as the city is just waking up and it is not too hot. Figure 1 | Camelback Mountain - Phoenix, AZ The reason for this introduction theme for the newsletter is that it ties in with the camelback demand profile terminology used in the power sector when the morning and evening ramp net load is much higher than the middle of the day ... » read more
Wednesday Oct 30, 2019   
There are certain times of the year in the Pacific Northwest that crabbing on the coast is worth the drive in October, November or December  It is a time where you can get all bundled up in your rain gear or waterproof high water boots as you make the journey into the bays that are deemed the best crab fishing east of the Mississippi. Figure 1 | Oregon Crab On my way home from work yesterday, I was listening to the local sports radio show and that is when I learned of another type of 'crabbing' that took place in Oregon yesterday.  Like any good radio show, they would lead into the capture of the discussion minutes before and then break for a commercial.  The head person started out by saying there was some crabbing at the airport yesterday so the co-anchor thought there ... » read more
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