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Friday May 5, 2023   
There’s a saying around Energy GPS when we get it right – “High Fives All Around”!  This has been coined by Tim Belden and used after successfully completing consulting projects.  In particular, we use the phrase when our forecasts stand up to market actuals.  It appears that the Department of Ecology is giving “High Fives All Around” based on its new carbon Cap and Invest Program.  The Department held its first Carbon Allowance auction at the end of February where nearly 6.2 million carbon allowances (each allowance covers one metric ton of carbon emissions) were sold at $48.50/MT for a total of nearly $300 million dollars “raised”[1].  The Department of Ecology used the word “raised” instead of perhaps ... » read more
Thursday May 4, 2023   
Spring in the Pacific Northwest is always an exciting time as Mother Nature and the Northwest hydro system will keep you on your toes.  The months of April and May are when we can see some of the most volatility in expectations for seasonal water supply.  Each day brings new information with the transition from winter to spring—the change of dam operations to replenish the water lost from reservoirs during the winter as well as the pace of that refill, the timing and volume of snow melt and how that snow melt translates into river flows—and conditions can change rapidly.  We saw a prime example of this last year late in the month of May.  Since mid-March of 2022, the Jan-Jul seasonal water supply forecast at The Dalles had been trending down with a long ... » read more
Wednesday May 3, 2023   
With the first few weeks of spring in the rearview, outage season is well underway. With milder weather and demand levels, power plants across the country plan to complete their maintenance during the shoulder months of both spring and fall. This May there are more than a dozen nuclear plants currently 100% offline to do just that. For nuclear plants this is known as a refueling cycle and it occurs every 18 months or 2 years for each plant. Depending on the site and the year, refueling can be a more than month-long process where the plant is completely offline. The plants also take several days and sometimes weeks to ramp on and off in the periods before and after the planned maintenance. With nuclear plants offering important baseload energy for many regions of the country, these outages ... » read more
Tuesday May 2, 2023   
The ERCOT market continues to evolve as its renewable presence is tied to the trifecta of technologies known as wind, solar and batteries.  The wind generation fleet is the most robust in North America as the West and South regions have the most growth in the past decade.  Over the past few years, the solar fleet has grown to a point where the system operators will be looking at double digit peak gigawatts from this point forward as the profile continues its upward trajectory. Figure 1 | ERCOT Solar Cumulative Peak Such a feat was met in the first quarter of 2023 and now that we are starting the second month of Q2-2023, you can see from the chart above the cumulative solar peak is climbing as the skies are blue (up from 10.0 GW in Q1-2023 to 11.8 GW May-2023). The graph below ... » read more
Monday May 1, 2023   
The West hydro season is going to be kicking into high gear now that May is upon us and the weather has finally turned from the extended winter season to that of a nice warm-up period to end the month of April to closer to normal temperatures this week.  All this will translate into snow melting at the lower to mid elevations while the upper elevation areas will be waiting until more sustained heat shows up. Figure 1 | California Daily Hydro Generation Flat Average The graph above displays the daily total CAISO hydro average for the 24-hour block with the x-axis displaying the calendar period while the y-axis displays the megawatt volume.  We have added two water years with the gold tied to last year (2022), which was considered the second consecutive year of drought-like ... » read more
Thursday Apr 27, 2023   
The wild card of ERCOT power supply is wind. And occasionally a massive storm event, but on a day-to-day basis, its wind.   So let’s briefly consider the topic of the interaction between wind, solar, net load, heat rates and prices in the context of this coming weekend in ERCOT as discussed in more detail in the article “Ringing the Dinner Bell in ERCOT”.   Typically, wind is at its most robust in the evening hours in Texas but this weekend shapes up a little different.   For April 29th and 30th, we have an anomalous pattern arising.   Our wind output on the evening of April 29th is forecast to fall by over 20 GW over the course of just a few hours heading into the evening.  This will occur in overnight hours when the ... » read more
Thursday Apr 27, 2023   
In our daily blog posts we like to give a different taste each day of the many different topics and questions we think about relating to energy and natural gas markets, and renewables.  The taste of the day—or soup du jour—for this morning is an excerpt from our recent Newsletter Special Report, “MISO Supply Soup Ingredient – Solar”. Miso soup is a traditional Japanese soup consisting of a dashi stock into which softened miso paste is mixed.  There are many optional ingredients, such as tofu and vegetables, that may be added depending on the regional/seasonal recipes and/or personal preference.  The type of miso paste chosen for the soup defines its character and flavor as the fermenting process determines if a soup is lighter/sweeter (white ... » read more
Wednesday Apr 26, 2023   
In November 2021 Aliso Canyon’s natural gas storage grew by 7 billion cubic feet (BCF) and by December reached almost 41 BCF in total. Now SoCal Gas and San Diego Gas and Electric want to be able to add another 27 BCF in preparation for next winter. The cavern’s total capacity is even higher at 86 BCF, but the cavern has been limited to a fraction of its total storage after a leak in 2015. The California Public Utilities Commission allowed for the increase to 41.16 BCF in 2021 for reliability reasons. It was intended to be a one-time increase to offset the limited transport on the L200 pipeline due to maintenance. However, after a winter of high gas prices, SoCal Gas and San Diego Gas and Electric are arguing that increasing storage at Aliso Canyon to 68.6 BCF is both safe and ... » read more
Tuesday Apr 25, 2023   
SPP continues to be a marker focused on finding a way to incorporate its growing renewable presence, specifically wind generation.  We continue to see the potential capacity grow over the years as the latest level is north of 27.4 GW.  This is up over 5.0 GW compared to two years ago and looks to continue to grow with more capacity in the queue.  The good news is that the grid seems to be finding a home for any incremental renewable output as the 2023 year-to-date curtailments are tracking that of 2022. Figure 1 | SPP Cumulative Curtailment Comparison We published a market flash, titled ‘Natural Gas Ratio is Staggering’, which detailed how the system is balancing and what resources are needed to keep the lights on.  With the increase in wind capacity ... » read more
Monday Apr 24, 2023   
As of April 2023, EnergyGPS has opened a new food cart that serves the Friday ‘Burrito’. If you are new to the energy sector, specifically the West, the 'Burrito' is a publication where the content covers pertinent information tied to all the happenings in the energy sector ranging from market topics to that of the regulatory front.  Figure 1 | The Friday Burrito Like burrito food cart, a la carte menu item brings with it a little spice and tangy salsa at times given the circumstances around integrating an independent system operator (ISO) with old traditional balancing authorities that make up the rest of the West power region.  The power grid continues to get trickier given the natural gas landscape continues to create volatility as both Citygates have an aging ... » read more
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