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Friday Apr 21, 2023   
Now that a few months of 2023 are behind us, we can look back and see what trends have been showing up in renewable generation. This is something we explore in detail every month in our Renewable Monthly Report and in this blog focus on a graph we update every day on our ERCOT RT Dashboard. Figure 1 | ERCOT Wind and Solar 12x24 Profiles, 2021 – 2023 YTD   This graph shows average monthly and hourly renewable generation in ERCOT. Wind is in the top pane, then solar, and then the combination of the two is in the bottom pane. Different years are different colors, with 2023 shown in red. One thing that immediately sticks out is how different the wind profile was during the first two months of this year compared to the same months the past couple of years. While there have ... » read more
Thursday Apr 20, 2023   
Ancillary service (AS) prices in ERCOT have been consistently low so far this year. Last April, NonSpin prices averaged over $19. This March prices fell to less than half of that at $7.84 and April so far this year is down another $0.73. RegUp, RegDown, and Spin prices have seen similar dips. All saw average prices in the teens last year drop to single digits this year. There have been some bumps, especially for RegDown which rose to $52.15 early in February this year. For April so far, ERCOT RegDown prices are averaging under $5.  In our recent newsletter article, “Low Ancillary Service Prices in ERCOT”, excerpted in this blog, we investigate the ancillary service market in ERCOT and the drivers behind the lower prices in 2023. Figure 1 | ERCOT Ancillary Service Prices ... » read more
Wednesday Apr 19, 2023   
The Desert Southwest saw some heat in the last week. After spending most of March and the beginning of April with below normal temperatures, a wave of heat washed over the region starting Monday, April 10th. The figure below shows cooling degree days differences from normal for this time of year. Looking at the forecast from April 12th in the column on the furthest right, average temperatures for that day went up to more than 10 degrees over normal. Denver saw a high of 85 degrees F, while Tucson and Phoenix were in the 90s. The heat is sticking around this week but is fading from the highs of last week. Figure 1 | Degree Day Matrix with DSW CDDs Difference from Normal The grid felt the pressure of increased demand as people reached for the thermostat and turned on their ACs. Average ... » read more
Tuesday Apr 18, 2023   
After a relatively slow but steady decline in Pacific Northwest hydro generation over the first two weeks of April of approximately 500 MW, this weekend saw a steeper drop down of 1 GW in two days, from 8.5 GW this past Friday the 14th to 7.5 GW on Sunday.  The region saw the fruits from warmer temperatures and plenty of precipitation leading up to and through the first portion of last week in the form of increased river flows on both the Snake and Columbia rivers, that latter portion of the week saw flows pull back.  After peaking at 75 kcfs on Wednesday, April 12th, Lower Granite inflows declined through the weekend as temperatures cooled and snow melt came to a halt, ending the week at 56 kcfs on Sunday.  Over on the Columbia main stem, Grand Coulee outflows dropped down ... » read more
Monday Apr 17, 2023   
If you ever get a chance to drive from the Pacific Northwest to the Midwest along Interstate 90 and 94, I highly recommend it especially if you are an energy geek like me.  Starting off in Portland and heading east on I-84, you move out of the Columbia River Gorge by passing that of Bonneville and The Dalles dam. It was dawn at the time of my travels, but you could still see the midst of the spillways running under the moonlight of in the distance.  The next visual was that of John Day dam and the blinking red lights that light up the high desert hillside.  These lights are associated with the wind farms that have been built and managed over the years.  As you pass by the dams, the city ports are full of data centers that are running non-stop 24 hours a day.  ... » read more
Friday Apr 14, 2023   
I subscribe to four newspapers, including: The New York Times. Read it for national news. But mostly subscribe for Wordle and Spelling Bee. Media rating of “Skews Left” and “More Reliable.” The Wall Street Journal.  Read it for straight down the middle news. Media rating of “Balanced Bias / Skews Right” and “More Reliable. The Oregonian. Read it for the local Portland news – local/state politics, crime, sports, and food. Media rating of “Balanced Bias” and “More Reliable.” The Southeast Examiner. Hyper local news. Free Monthly publication with the tagline “Your Neighborhood News Source Created and Powered by the Love of Community.” The publications are listed in reverse order of preference – I ... » read more
Thursday Apr 13, 2023   
The attention has been on snowpack throughout the Pacific Northwest over the past week, as recent days have given the region plentiful precipitation as well as the first blast of warmer temperatures of the spring to kick start snow melt, at least for a brief period before things cool down again (as they have already started doing).  Earlier at the beginning of the week on Monday the first signs of snow melt showed up for the Snake River basin as the snow water equivalent (SWE) for the Upper Snake River Above American Falls watershed area began to show a decline from before the start of last weekend.  In the few days since then, snow melt has begun to be observable over a broader area, with the Snake basin SWE declining further and SWE for the Columbia basin starting to drop as ... » read more
Wednesday Apr 12, 2023   
In Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, ‘Beware the ides of March!’ refers to the warning Caesar ignored from a soothsayer that could see into the future. Unbeknownst to Caesar, his fellow leaders were planning his demise for the middle, or the ides, of the month. In his hubris, he ignored the warnings and felt the consequences later. In the natural gas and power markets, there are no soothsayers that can provide insight months into the future. Instead, market participants attempt to read the tea leaves that come in the form of weather forecasts and regressions from historic records. The month of March brings along with it certain assumptions; spring is on the way with warmer temperatures and a switch from natural gas withdrawals to injections. The West could have used a warning ... » read more
Tuesday Apr 11, 2023   
The winter weather across the West region has been in the news since the start of November and escalated in December as the California natural gas market saw its cash prices move up from the mid-teens to that of $60 on a tight cash trading session.  A lot has changed since that time as Mother Nature has delivered plenty of precipitation in the Golden State that has showed up as snowpack and now rainfall.  The ground saturation issues that were present given the drought-like conditions seem to be long gone for the time being and the lakes that were hit on hard times will have recreation activity come the long Memorial Day holiday weekend.  Figure 1 | CAISO Hydro Generation – Year on Year Comparison The graph above is an illustration of the flat hydro generation ... » read more
Monday Apr 10, 2023   
The Easter Bunny has come and gone and depending on which part of the country you live determined if the eggs were hidden in the backyard or someplace within the house.  Looking ahead to the middle of April and beyond, the current weather forecast has some warmer weather in the near-term while the 6-10-day period is carrying closer to normal conditions.  This is true for the Midwest and Ohio Valley as temperatures rise all week and give way to colder conditions come the weekend.  The 11-15 day block is trending warmer across the entire country; therefore spring-like conditions are warranted and will be enjoyed by many, especially those in the West as temperatures have been nothing but cold up to this point of 2023. This type of weather will lead to the renewable landscape ... » read more
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