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Friday Jul 8, 2016   
Sometimes I feel like maybe I’m too cynical. Can you blame me? I’ve spent more than 20 years working in the Western US wholesale power arena. I’ve seen my share of ill-advised policies come out of the Golden State. I’ve seen utilities in the rest of the WECC resist change and perpetuate the status quo. That’s not to say all policy innovations out of California have been bad – some have been clearly flawed while others have worked quite well. Resisting change can cut both ways as well. Knowing which innovations to avoid and which to ... » read more
Thursday Jul 7, 2016   
With Houston temperatures consistently coming in between 95-99 degrees during the middle of the day/later afternoon hours, the grid's load profile continues to rise. Figure 1 | ERCOT's Load and Wind Profiles (Net Load) - Hourly As you can see in Figure 1, the overall load profile is increasing faster than the wind generation on the grid, which has been quite strong the past couple of days.  This has led to the Day-Ahead auction results to spike up for a couple of hours in the middle of the afternoon. Figure 2 | ERCOT Net Load with North Zone DA Implied Heat ... » read more
Wednesday Jul 6, 2016   
Last week, as the market stared into the holiday weekend, there were plenty of questions as to what the production picture would look like when returning to work this week. Forced outages dominated the headlines prior to the holiday. The first outage was tied to the flooding in West Virginia as it knocked out .5 BCF per day from the Sherwood Processing facility and the Stonewall Gathering system. The second issue was due to the Pascagoula Processing fire that occurred last weekend on the Gulf Coast, where there was .55 BCF on Destin Pipeline and .45 BCF on the ... » read more
Tuesday Jul 5, 2016   
The month of June started out quite hot in the Pacific Northwest this year as temperatures topped the 100 degree mark on the first weekend (June 5th) Figure 1 | Portland Metro High Temperatures - June 5, 1016 This was a record for that given day and had everyone talking about how this June is going to rival that of June 2015 when we saw record setting temperatures on given days and across the entire month. Figure 2 | June 2015 - Record Breaking Month As it turns out, the month was nowhere near as warm as last year with only a few days topping the 90 degree mark. » read more
Friday Jul 1, 2016   
As we head into the long July 4th weekend we will temporarily turn our attention from energy markets to leisure. One of my greatest passions outside of work is organizing competitions involving leisure sports. In 2008 we held our first decathlon of leisure sports on a parcel of land outside of Hood River, Oregon, located about 60 miles east of Portland. That decathlon has become an annual tradition held on the last weekend in June. Last weekend was our 9th competition. The decathlon of leisure sports is referred to as the Aluminum Man competition. Why Aluminum Man? We ... » read more
Thursday Jun 30, 2016   
Over the last year, we have observed fuel switching in the power sector from coal to natural gas due to declining natural gas prices. In one short month, spot natural gas prices have surged 34%, flipping this story. On May 27th the Henry Hub July futures contract traded $2.169. On Tuesday June 28th, the July contract rolled off at $2.917. This price increase is bound to have an impact on demand for natural gas in the power sector. EnergyGPS has been closely watching the dispatch of coal and natural gas in the ISO generation stack data. These data show the amount of ... » read more
Wednesday Jun 29, 2016   
Early yesterday morning news began to filter in about a natural gas plant explosion at an Enterprise/BP owned natural gas processing facility near Pascagoula Mississippi, simply known as the Pascagoula Processing Plant.  The aptly named name facility experienced and explosion late Monday evening and a fire that carried into Tuesday morning.   By early morning that fire was under control, fortunately no one was hurt in the event. Figure 1| Fire at Pascagoula Processing Plant   The processing facility sits on the Destin pipeline which stretches into the ... » read more
Tuesday Jun 28, 2016   
The thunderstorms and flash flooding that ravaged West Virginia last week caused the death of 23 people and displaced thousands from their homes. Some weather services are calling it a 1 in 1000 year weather event. Several thunderstorms lined up in what weather forecasters call trains battered the west side of the state. It will take years to recover from the damage. The natural gas industry also sustained damage in the flooding. West Virginia possesses some of the most prolific production plays in the Marcellus basin. Known as for its wet gas production, producers ... » read more
Monday Jun 27, 2016   
California utilities have been net importers of power since the beginning of electricity trade. Large central power stations in the southwest have fed power into southern California for decades. Northwest utilities have shipped excess power down the AC intertie since the 1960s. Over the years California utilities became very astute buyers. I still remember the days in the mid-1990’s when Southern California Edison would brashly play sellers off of each other to negotiate the best price. If you refused to bend to their conditions they’d fire up their own ... » read more
Friday Jun 24, 2016   
This week Tesla Motors Inc. announced its purchase of SolarCity in a proposed all-stock deal that values SolarCity at up to $2.8 billion which represents a premium of 20% to 30%. The news was not exactly cheered by Tesla investors – with Tesla shares down over 10% since announcing the purchase. The media has covered this story pretty well, with a number of good articles and opinion pieces appearing in the trade press as well as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and LA Times. There are so many interesting storylines here that it is hard to know where to ... » read more
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