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Friday May 3, 2019   
If you have been following the West over the past few years, the one think you have to come to realize is expect the unexpected.  This is especially true when you consider Southern California has endured the Aliso Canyon storage facility leak, massive renewable penetration and natural gas pipeline constraints that led to SoCal Edison ridding their balancing area of any economic power burns last summer.  Up in the Pacific Northwest, the region got a taste of pushing power burns offline as the Enbridge pipeline (British Columbia) had an explosion that disrupted the flows From the T-South compressor down through Sumas and eventually drained Jackson Prairie and Clay Basin storage over the winter months. Since the end of the winter strip, the Pacific has done nothing but put gas ... » read more
Thursday May 2, 2019   
Portland is near perfect weather right now with highs hitting just 70 degrees while the sky is bright and sunny. However, the pessimist inside of me questions whether a good thing can last forever with summer just around the corner. The days will continue to get longer causing temperatures to continue to work their way upwards. Before you know it, summer will make its way onto the board bringing cooling demand along with it. Generation is well aware of this shift with facilities beginning to make their way back from outage. Looking at the Northeast, nuclear units have begun to return to the grid while current outages are also expected to come back over the course of May. The PJM outage schedule is finally showing a dip at the beginning of May with generation making its way back online. » read more
Wednesday May 1, 2019   
Over the past year, the volatility within California's natural gas market stems from the issues surrounding SoCal Gas's system.  It has been well documented when it comes to the issues at the Aliso Canyon storage facility as well as the transport capacity tied to the L3000/4000 maintenance work along with the L235 disruption on the Mojave compressor where a fire broke out back in October 2018.  Over the summer the Western market saw the gas world shift up at SoCal Citygate as Stage 4/5 Low OFO's were in play along with the penalties associated to each.  The penalties range anywhere from $5.00 to $25.00 depending on the severity.  This uplift causes the price of power to move substantially higher across the board as the marginal megawatt gets to compete with a gas-fired ... » read more
Tuesday Apr 30, 2019   
Just one month ago the Lower 48 storage complex was staring at a .2 TCF storage deficit. But thanks to blooming production, record renewables output and a drop in ResCom demand the fortunes have shifted. The inventory has now moved to a year on year surplus eliminating many of the concerns the market had for end of summer storage capacity. But that good fortune has not translated north of the border. Alberta is off to a slow start despite big gains in production. Looking ahead the refill pace is unlikely to improve. The NGTL system is currently undergoing maintenance and upgrades which will restrict storage access through much of the summer.  Figure 1 | Alberta Storage inventory for 2015 - 2019 Besides the system capacity issues, the power burns continue to soar. Right now the burns ... » read more
Monday Apr 29, 2019   
If you were in Nashville for any reason this past weekend, you were swarmed by football fans wearing their favorite team's jersey and cheering/jeering as the outside plaza area blasted each and every selection by teams during the National Football League (NFL) draft.  In recent years, the NFL has moved the venue on an annual basis to give cities, like Nashville, an opportunity to showoff their culture and make-up.  After the draft, the television crews are dis-assembling the stages and talk show booths that were used to cover the draft.  The players, who attended the draft (usually high draft picks), were swept away by a private jet so they could arrive in their newly coveted city where they were met with team personnel, fans and local reporters.  The lower drafted ... » read more
Friday Apr 26, 2019   
In December 2018, PacifiCorp released their 2019 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), part of which covered an internal study of the economics of their coal fleet. The conclusions were that many of PacifiCorp’s operating coal plants are un-profitable. In a follow up meeting detailing an updated IRP on April 25, PacifiCorp concluded that an accelerated retirement of some of the Jim Bridger and Naughton coal plant units would produce the greatest gains to ratepayers. Here at EnergyGPS, we believe in leaving no stone unturned, and no hypothesis untested. To verify the conclusions of PacifiCorp, (specifically the Jim Bridger and Naughton coal plants) we need to explore what information is available in the public data sources. To analyze the profitability of PacifiCorp’s coal plants, we ... » read more
Thursday Apr 25, 2019   
ERCOT is an acronym that stands for Electric Reliability Council of Texas while ORDC stands for the Operating Reserve Demand Curve.  The nine letters have been joined at the hip as the former has implemented the latter into its real-time market when the grid becomes tight and it has to lean on its reserves to balance.  In one of our recent Newsletter Articles titled 'Changes in ERCOT's Scarcity Pricing', we detailed the impact of the new ORDC rule changes that went into affect this Q1. Over the past couple of days, the alphabet acronym pot started to percolate as the ERCOT real-time market was seeing their net load increase as wind died down and power demand increased.  When you tie that in with the fact that we are still in the outage maintenance season, the grid was ripe ... » read more
Wednesday Apr 24, 2019   
If you live on the Eastcoast and are a National Basketball Association (NBA) fan, I hope you had it in you to stay up late to watch the Oklahoma Thunder vs. the Portland Trailblazers game that ended with Damian Lillard hitting a 37 ft. step-back shot at the buzzer for the victory!!!.  It was the shot that took him to 50 points for the game and only the 3rd person with a 50 point performance in the playoffs over the past 30 years (Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan).  It was also the knockout punch that ended the 7 game series with the Blazers winning 4 games to 1!  Figure 1 | Damian's Game Winning Shot - 4/24/2019 If you live in the City of Roses, you know what Damian is capable of doing and the leader he has become.  Prior to him becoming the leader, Portland's ... » read more
Tuesday Apr 23, 2019   
Easter weekend not only brought eggs and candy to the Lower 48. It also brought a lot of wind. Wind turbine output pushed towards 50 GWa and combined with the holiday loads took the net load down to just 306 GWa. That is 70 GWa lower than what we are seeing today and one of the lowest net load days we have seen in the past two years. This was led by the South Central region which carries most of the wind capacity across the country. Figure 1 shows just how dramatic the change was for the region's power burn total.  Figure 1 | South Central Power Burns It has been a banner month for SPP and ERCOT wind generation. The monthly average for the two combined areas is posting almost 2 GWa higher than this time last year. But typically April and may are the two biggest wind generation ... » read more
Monday Apr 22, 2019   
Q2 is the season for RTO assessments of market performance for the prior calendar year.  PJM’s market monitor released its report for 2018 a few weeks ago and, by June, we’ll see the 2018 reports for the rest of the U.S. RTOs.  This year, I’ll be particularly interested the insights from Team Southwest Power Pool (SPP).    Wind energy and its uncertainty associated with its production in the day-ahead time frame has put SPP power prices on a pretty wild ride—a topic that will undoubtedly be addressed in this year’s report. SPP price volatility is easily explained.  Growth in wind energy production has been rapid--SPP’s 21.5 GW of installed wind generation now produced over 5 million MWh/mo--almost a quarter of the ... » read more
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