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Friday Aug 23, 2019   
ERCOT has understandably been the focus over the past two weeks, as low wind and high load resulted in prices reaching the $9,000/MWh cap on two different days. However, as much as high prices make headlines, ERCOT has also seen plenty of low and negative prices in the past couple years – and these low prices drove the generation retirements that, in turn led to the tight reserve margins and recent extreme pricing. Low prices in ERCOT are attributed to a combination of cheap gas and the 22 GW of zero marginal cost wind capacity. On days when the wind is strong and demand is light, there’s almost no need for thermal units to be online and market clearing pries are accordingly low. Over the next several years, even more wind capacity is expected to hit the grid. This additional ... » read more
Thursday Aug 22, 2019   
As concerns about global warming continue to escalate, RTOs across the country continue to look towards Renewables in order to supply the grid of the future. Among the most ambitious of these is the New York ISO. With the support of Governor Cuomo, the state pledged to bring 100% carbon free electricity by 2040. However, many changes will be needed in the coming years if the state is going to hit this goal. As of now, the grid is mainly supplied by natural gas with Renewables taking a backseat. However, exploring the interconnection queue, a large portion of solar and wind appear to be just around the pike. Figure 1 | Governor Cuomo and Al Gore Announce the Investment in Offshore Wind Source: Los Angeles Times Taking a look at cumulative total capacity of renewable projects in the ... » read more
Wednesday Aug 21, 2019   
Over the past few weeks, we have written about the ERCOT real-time market prices exploding up to the cap number and how the day-ahead auction results try to get in front of things as the later afternoon hours spike up as buyers come to the table.  We also have discussed how both the wind and load deviations, come real-time, can have a major impact to the real-time prices as the system operators are scrambling to balance the system.   Figure 1 below is the illustration we turn to to get a handle of the ERCOT day-ahead vs. real-time breakdown.  The top pane is tied to the North Zone hourly auction clears while the  Figure 1 | ERCOT Market Breakdown - Hourly The second pane represents the load deviation on an hourly basis while the next two panes touch on the wind ... » read more
Tuesday Aug 20, 2019   
At the start of this month the market experienced two events which, if taken individually, would have had a big effect on the Gulf supply demand balances. But instead of causing a disruption, the events largely cancelled each other out on the impact. First, Texas Eastern suffered another rupture, its third in three years, which dropped southbound transport flows from the Northeast to the Gulf from 1.7 BCF to zero. Under normal circumstances, that event would have caused the Gulf balancing to draw from storage to meet the power burn needs through the peak of summer. But it did not play out that way.   Figure 1 | Southbound Flows on TETCO for 2018-2019 At the same time, Cheniere's Sabine Pass LNG facility initiated a seasonal outage on two of its five liquefaction trains. The ... » read more
Monday Aug 19, 2019   
After a volatile last couple of weeks in Texas, the ERCOT real-time market took a bit of a break as the 5 minute ticks did not show any red coloration on the map nodal postings.  In fact, when you look at the both the day-ahead and real-time hourly auction clears, neither one of them showed much promise on Saturday and Sunday as the middle of the day could only muster a mere $700 and $550 peak hourly settle for the day while the real-time clears came in much, much lower. Figure 1 | ERCOT Real-Time vs Day-Ahead Hourly Settle - Houston Zone The light dotted line represents the Houston day-ahead hourly prices while the solid blue line is what transpired in the real-time market.  As you can see, Monday's day-ahead auction was not going to go without some speculation to the middle ... » read more
Friday Aug 16, 2019   
Yes indeed, folks, it finally happened. The weather got hot in Texas, demand leapt, and prices rocked. I say "finally" because ERCOT eschews capacity payments and has specifically designed its real time energy market to create high prices during times of scarcity. Despite what most electricity planners would consider extremely low reserve margins over the last several years, the ERCOT real time price just wasn't able to rise to the $9,000 cap that the ERCOT market is designed to create. Figure 1 | ERCOT Real-Time vs. Day-Ahead Hourly Price settles - North Zone The analogy that I use for the ERCOT market is the classic "marbles in the urn" stats problem. The vast majority of the marbles in the ERCOT urn are in the $20's per MWh, but there are also some $4,000, $5,000, up to $9,000 per MWh ... » read more
Thursday Aug 15, 2019   
Many of my friends are seeing their college bound kids off over the next couple of weeks which is a signal that the summer days are almost over and Fall is right around the corner.  In the Pacific Northwest, if you have not been paying much attention, the summer has blown by without that many hot days as the early June high of 95 degrees in Portland seems to be the high water mark.  As a result, the grid has not really been tested in a way that would warrant higher power prices at the Midc. Figure 1 | Portland Daytime High/Low Temperatures - Actual and Forecast in fact, over the past two days, the bilateral Midc prices shot up into the mid $30 range across the heavy load as wind generation died down and the inner-eastside saw their temperatures warm up to a point that more ... » read more
Wednesday Aug 14, 2019   
It has been almost two weeks since I spent a couple of days at the Infocast “Extracting Value from Renewables” conference in La Jolla. This was the maiden voyage for this conference which turned out to be a blessing. Attendance was relatively small – about 100 people – but the quality of the content and discussions was high. The speakers were excellent and the small room enabled a lot of really useful and interesting Q&A sessions. Unlike many conferences where the action is the frenzied networking which happens in the halls outside the conference room, the quality of the speakers and exchanges kept people in the room. I stayed in the room almost the entire time. Between the conference and the sidebar conversations over the few days, one theme emerged. PPA ... » read more
Tuesday Aug 13, 2019   
Over the past two years we have seen a dramatic shift in the natural gas import volume from Canada. The increase of Bakken and Marcellus/Utica natural gas volumes has displaced the need for pipeline volumes from the north. Canada has also seen a big surge in gas demand as the electric dispatch moves away from coal generation to combined cycle gas. This trend is not going to change in the long term but in the next few weeks we could see a big shift in the net import volume to the United States. Changes to pipeline outages in new England as well as British Columbia will shift the net flow back over the border and could very well erase the .7 BCF deficit to last year's total.  In New England, the main natural gas artery, Algonquin Pipeline is initiating a major outage that will ... » read more
Monday Aug 12, 2019   
The last couple of articles sent out via the EnergyGPS Newsletter packages were tied to how the weather pattern this summer has not materialized to widespread heat across North America while certain regions tied to both weather and renewables have seen their net load move up in recent weeks as Mother Nature sprinkles sunshine on the Golden State (California) and Lone Star State (Texas).  Both situations have an impact on the overall marginal megawatt via the specific regional supply stack while gas seems to be unfazed.  The combination of the two creates a dynamic in the market where the implied heat rates widen to make sure that all of the natural gas power plants are in the money and up and running. Looking at the Gold Package weekly Newsletter Article titled, Partly Cloudy ... » read more
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