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Friday Jul 1, 2022   
You might recall that 2021 was a bit of a weird year for CAISO curtailments. The typical trend, neatly exemplified from 2018 to 2019 and 2019 to 2020, is that renewable curtailments tend to grow year-on-year with the addition of more renewables (particularly renewables of the same type). Despite the fact that solar installations continued to grow in California, 2021 curtailments came in right around those of 2020—actually slightly below. Figure 1 | CAISO Curtailments, 2018 - 2021 A variety of factors came together in a unique way to ensure that, in 2021, CAISO didn’t need to curtail significantly more MWh than the previous year. 2022, meanwhile, has not seen the same trend. Figure 2 | CAISO Curtailments, 2019 – 2022 While the exact numbers aren’t really readable ... » read more
Thursday Jun 30, 2022   
With the official start of summer just over a week ago, attention is on the power burn component in the natural gas space as it is one of the crucial components of summer demand.  Here in Portland, air conditioners are just starting to turn on as last weekend brought the first real blast of summer temperatures to the Pacific Northwest after a cool spring in the West left the Northwest’s gas plants lying largely unused up until this week.  Elsewhere in the country the heat has been present for weeks. Per the EnergyGPS daily scrapes of natural gas noms and mapping to power plants across the country, we are seeing the monthly June 2022 daily average settle in just over 2.5 BCF higher compared to June 2021 (which came in at just under 36 BCF per day).  The impact of power ... » read more
Wednesday Jun 29, 2022   
The end of Q2-2022 is upon us and that means that the 4th of July is right around the corner, to which we all know in years past that firework displays will be filling the skies across the country.   It is a time of celebration of the United States of America as a well as a period symbolizing the start of the third quarter of the year to which brings with it extensive heat that ultimately drives up the electricity demand across each region of the country. Figure 1 | 4th of July Fireworks If you have been following the energy markets over the past few weeks, the month of June has had a few fireworks of its own as Mother Nature has delivered extensive heat across the country that ultimately has each region setting new peak demand numbers to which does not bode well for the ones ... » read more
Tuesday Jun 28, 2022   
During this time of year the Desert Southwest which includes the Imperial Valley, Arizona, Southern Nevada and New Mexico see their warmest days. Temperatures can often top 120 degrees F as the solar activity creates a bubble of heat. Winds follow a stable west to east pattern as hot dry air moves over the Mohave Desert into West Texas. But once a year the summer monsoon season develops shifting the prevailing winds. The pattern moves south to north bringing cooler wet weather from the Baja of Mexico. The southerly winds knock down the daytime highs and the heavy rains often produce flooding events. Figure 1 | NOAA Satellite Imagery of DSW for June 27 The National Weather Service defines the DSW Monsoon season as June 15 through September 30. This year the winds ... » read more
Monday Jun 27, 2022   
Ocean’s Eleven is an American heist comedy film released in 2001 where two partners-in-crime go to Las Vegas to pitch a plan to wealthy friends and a former casino owner.  As the numbers increase, the plan of robbing the Bellagio, The Mirage and MGM Grand casinos becomes real.  Throughout the movie, the cast of characters featured an ensemble cast, including George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Andy Garcia, Bernie Mac and Julia Roberts.  Figure 1 | Ocean’s Eleven compared to Soccer 11-15 This past week, the US Youth Soccer FarWest Regional tournament was taking place in Boise, Idaho where an unknown film was being produced to which I will call ‘Soccer 11-15’.  The lower budgeted film was being produced with a VEO camera that sits ... » read more
Friday Jun 24, 2022   
Energy GPS Consulting recently finished a project analyzing a very wonky yet important policy question related to price formation in the CAISO. Unlike most of our work, which is proprietary for a specific client, this work is now in the public domain. Powerex and the Public Power Council hired EnergyGPS to evaluate the impacts of fast start pricing policies on CAISO real-time market prices. Let me explain – until recently FERC policy called for RTO’s to exclude certain costs from the calculation of LMPs. One type is startup costs. If it cost a combined cycle plant $16,000 to go from a cold state to full generation, that cost was excluded from the calculation of the LMP. Instead, those startup costs were conveyed separately to the generator and recovered from load via and ... » read more
Thursday Jun 23, 2022   
Yesterday, June 21st marked the end of the spring with the summer solstice making it the longest day of the year for 2022.  It also marked a change in the spill operations for the hydro projects on the Lower Snake, as the Fish Operations Plan (FOP) had this Tuesday as the transition from spring spill to summer spill rules.  A similar transition occurred last week on June 16th for the Lower Columbia projects.  For each of the eight projects on the Lower Snake and Lower Columbia, this change consists of a shift from adjusting spill to reach a specific target of total dissolved gas (TDG) in the water to spilling at a flat rate or flat percentage of overall spill.  The change in operations was evident yesterday on the Lower Snake.  The summer spill standards have ... » read more
Wednesday Jun 22, 2022   
At the beginning of spring, we at EnergyGPS revamped our nuclear outage forecast line to better reflect upcoming nuclear outages during refueling season. Refueling season usually happens during spring and fall when loads and temperatures are mild. The goal is to do maintenance during a time when the grid can handle losing out on the baseload nuclear energy. To create a better forecast, we looked at historical patterns to identify each plant’s 18 or 24 month cycle. Then we calculated the average amount of time that plant is 100% offline and mapped out when this year’s refueling would happen. The resulting forecast is shown below in the dotted line of figure 1. Solid lines represent the sum of nuclear outages across the country in MW from 2017 to 2022 where the dark black line ... » read more
Tuesday Jun 21, 2022   
Over the past two weeks there has been a large shift in sentiment for the NYMEX Henry Henry Hub natural gas futures. It was not supposed to go this way. Expectations were for higher prices through the summer as power burns and LNG exports brought about a convergence between North American and global natural gas values. But it has not gone that way due to a number of changes in the balancing. Now the gas pricing is heading into the peak of summer electric demand $2.50 lower than where it was just weeks ago eroding all of the price gains that were made since the beginning of May.   Figure 1 | NYMEX Continuous Contract for 2021-2022 It would be easy for the market to point to all of the price change as a result of the loss of the Freeport LNG terminal through the end of the year. » read more
Monday Jun 20, 2022   
If you watched the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Finals and were a Golden State Warriors fan you were jumping out of your seat and high fiving the friends who shared the same joy as they beat the Boston Celtics this past Thursday night.  The SoCal Gas and California System Operator (CAISO) were not singing the same tune as the Warrior fan base since that time as the former’s storage system delivered their high five in the way of notices stating that the system had a high inventory situation that needed to be dealt with both on a day-ahead and intra-day basis.  The latter was working off the premise of lower power demand, plenty of transmission flows and a solar fleet that would be enjoying the sunny skies that Mother Nature presented over the weekend.  ... » read more
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