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Friday Feb 23, 2024   
Who Cares About the Price of Tea in China? I consider the mid-1990s to mark the start of the “Modern Era” of electricity markets. Power marketers had infiltrated the traditional utility trading business, the NYMEX launched its electricity futures contract, competitive retail access was becoming law in some places, independent wholesale generators had taken hold, and ISO market design was being advanced. For about the first 25 years of the Modern Era, the value of electricity products was largely insulated from the price of other energy commodities except for natural gas and coal. Both natural gas and electricity were North American businesses requiring a wire or pipeline to move energy from source to end-use and neither commodity had a readily available, short-term substitute ... » read more
Thursday Feb 22, 2024   
Way back in the distant past when I was teenager, I remember a summer when I set a goal to become a mountain climber (author - Joshua Rasmussen).  Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, I set my sights on summiting out on Mount St. Helens.  While I was in decent shape, I was not in mountain-climbing shape, and the hike to reach to top of St. Helens gains 4,500 feet over five miles, topping out at the crater rim around 8,300 feet.  My training partner (my father, a more experienced climber) wisely insisted we go through a series of training hikes of gradually increasing elevations to prepare.  Over the course of these hikes, mostly around the Columbia River Gorge, I could look back and see how far I had come, while at the same time St. Helens remained fixed in the ... » read more
Wednesday Feb 21, 2024   
New updates have been made to our West Pipeline Capacity Dashboard. This dashboard has been available since September of last year and displays various capacities for points from a variety of western pipelines. Originally showcasing just Pacific Gas & Electric, Gas Transmission Northwest, and BC Spectra, the most recent version of the dashboard now features six different pipelines.  The most recently added pipeline is SoCal gas. The figure below is displayed in the West Pipeline Capacity dashboard. Green lines show the most up to date forecasted available capacity for each subzone or zone. As maintenance reports are updated, older available capacities will be shown in red. The blue lines represent current flows with a three-day forecast provided by SoCal gas. The North Desert ... » read more
Tuesday Feb 20, 2024   
February is entering the final third period of the month with the initial days incorporating the next round of precipitation which is carrying the label of another atmospheric river system. The previous one earlier in the month took on the Pineapple Express label as local meteorologists tend to intermix the two these days.  Regardless of which is used to describe the weather pattern, both wreak havoc on the populated areas of California as many are under a flood advisory on President’s Day and to start the workweek. Figure 1 |Flash Flooding in California The massive amounts of water have become a common theme throughout California over the past couple of years.  For the record, the change has been quite drastic as the Golden State was working off five drought-like years ... » read more
Friday Feb 16, 2024   
During the summer of 2023, ERCOT experienced some of the most extreme and prolonged scarcity in its history. While the scarcity was not as acute as Winter Storm Uri and there were no rolling blackouts, the grid experienced periods of tightness nearly every day during August, as well as many of the days during June, July, and September. The summer prices settled substantially higher than not only the prices during prior summers, but also the forward summer prices as traded in the preceding spring months. Figure 1 | ERCOT North Hub Price and Heat Rate Formation, Past 6 Years The bars in the top pane of the figure above are labeled with the annual average North Hub Real Time Settlement Point Price (RT SPP), separated into its components of LMP (blue) and ORDC (red). The middle pane shows ... » read more
Thursday Feb 15, 2024   
Congestion continued to be on display within the California market where the constraint sits between Southern and Northern California.  This is known as an interzonal constraint that impacts the balancing act within the CAISO footprint and bottlenecks the movement of megawatts through the Golden State. Figure 1 | CAISO Day-Ahead Marginal Cost of Energy (MCC) The price impact to market participants is significant where NP15’s heavy load is clearing in the upper $40’s on a consistent basis while SP15 has ranged from $17.18 to $32.29 with the 15th settling in at $21.64.  Tracking the day-ahead to the real-time market carries with it several deviation components such as scheduling error and renewable profile deviation that works the grid operators from hour to hour ... » read more
Wednesday Feb 14, 2024   
NP15 batteries aren’t feeling the love this Valentine’s Day as their opportunities to capture day-ahead arbitrage have fallen dramatically in the last two months. The figure below is featured in the CAISO Monthly Battery Dashboard which is released on the 1st of each month and available as part of EnergyGPS’s Renewable Platinum Plus Package. On average this January, NP15 batteries had the opportunity to earn $14.50/MWh of arbitrage in the day-ahead market while December 2023 was even lower at $12.63/MWh. This contrasts with the highs of 2023 in April at $80.53/MWh and August at $78.29/MWh. SP15, too, had a new low in December 2023. Both gas and power prices were low at the end of last year while the winter sun meant less solar to drive midday prices down further. » read more
Tuesday Feb 13, 2024   
Solar generation across California and ERCOT are impacting their respective grids in a way that the system operators are having to deal with balancing the grid through some sort of renewable curtailments, which is led by a zero or negative price signal depending on the location.  For example, over the weekend California’s SP15 real-time price took a nosedive as the midday displayed a low price of -$42.00 between HE11 and HE15. Figure 1 | SP15 Real-Time Price Settles – Hourly The chart above illustrates the SP15 hourly price action for the day-ahead (blue bars) and both real-time markets (RTPD – 15 minute, RTM – 5 minute) over the past three days.  It is clear that the weekends find trouble quickly as the day-ahead clears are negative and it only worsens ... » read more
Monday Feb 12, 2024   
There was a point during the Super Bowl where the cameras took the audience outside of Alliant Stadium to show the sun setting in the desert as the rays displayed an orange sky and reflection of the building that line the Las Vegas strip. Figure 1 | Sun Setting in the Desert Southwest There used to be a time when individuals in the Midwest watched the game on their respective big screens inside their cozy home with a fire going dreaming of a warm spring day when the snow finally melts and the Twin Cities starts to feel a little like the Vegas as the city goes from its wintery slowdown to that a vibrant metropolitan feel. Mother Nature has changed all this this winter as the Midwest is experiencing one of the warmest February’s on record with no snow on the ground and daytime highs ... » read more
Friday Feb 9, 2024   
The recent January cold snap tested the grid in the Pacific Northwest region. Robust underlying load growth coupled with extremely cold weather contributed to record levels of demand for many balancing authorities and a new winter record for the region. Conditions were so tight that we hear that several balancing authorities entered Energy Emergency Alert 1 (EEA1) status meaning “real-time analysis shows all resources are in use or committed for use, and energy deficiencies are expected.” We have heard through the grapevine that one balancing authority reached EEA2 or higher triggering a request for emergency energy from all available sources. The region relied on more than 4,000 MW of imports from other regions (excluding imports from BC), many of which were likely spot ... » read more
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