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Tuesday Sep 26, 2023   
The heat dome that blanketed the South Central all summer has dissipated over the past few weeks, but it still goes without saying that temperatures hitting the low 90’s is still quite warm all things considered, especially at the end of September when the power supply stack is working its way towards planned outages. Figure 1 | ERCOT Net Load Daily Profile – 7 Day Rolling Average Adding some fuel to the fire is the simple fact that the wind generation across the Lone Star State has been a mixture of higher early morning output while the middle of the day and evening ramp continues to be lower.  The figure above can be found in the EnergyGPS ERCOT Morning Dashboard, which is part of the South Central Power sub-package and folds into the North American Power and Natural ... » read more
Monday Sep 25, 2023   
The month of September has flown as this week presents the last few days left before October takes over on Sunday.  This means the transition between summer and fall is upon us as football season is in full gear and the leaves are starting to change colors.  One the clocks move back their hour and the leaves start to make their way to the ground, the shift will hit home in a big way.  The same is true for the electricity sector as the summer months were filled with extreme heat across the South Central which pushed the natural gas generators to heightened alert and record setting usage for long stints.  Now that we are finalizing Q3-2023, the power grids will be in transition where the renewable space will need to be analyzed along with the thermal supply stack planned ... » read more
Friday Sep 22, 2023   
Back in the late 1990’s a creative trader wanted to get long the entire US power sector. He put out a request to the brokers for offers in all major power markets for what became known as the “Around the USA” trade. It was a bullish bet on the overall level of US power markets. I hadn’t thought much about that trade in the ensuing years until a new Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) came across my radar over the summer. An outfit called CNIC Funds is behind this ETF, and they are working with ICE to bring the opportunity to buy the entire US electricity commodity sector to retail investors. (https://www.cnicfunds.com/) The ETF launched in May 2023, its ticker is AMPD, and you can log into your brokerage account and buy it. On Wednesday it closed at about $25 per ... » read more
Thursday Sep 21, 2023   
Throughout August and into the beginning of September, Mother Nature subjected the Lone Star State to unbearable heat. The summer of 2023 has been one of Texas’s hottest summers on record, with several cities hitting 100-degree temperatures for more than 40 days in a row.  Our recent Newsletter Special Report, “Scorching Summer” discusses the severity of the recent heat and its impact on ERCOT prices.  Every single day in August (and September so far) was hotter than the 5-year average, as illustrated by the figure below, which shows daily average temperatures in the top pane and differences from normal in the bottom pane. Figure 1 | Temperatures, August 2023  To say that these temperatures resulted in consistently high demand for electricity is somewhat ... » read more
Wednesday Sep 20, 2023   
Over the past year, Alberta has seen huge renewable growth. In the summer months, midday solar generation is now frequently surpassing 1 GW of generation. Peak demand in these months is often between 10 and 10.5 GW, which means midday solar is taking on an increasingly larger portion of the supply stack. Wind has also grown year-on-year, up as much as 0.4 GW on average in the evening hours. While this growth is important for the region’s goals for reducing carbon emissions, the variability of these energy sources comes with its own challenges. The combined hourly profile of wind and solar, shown in the third panel, demonstrates the abundance of renewable energy in the middle of the day and the troughs of renewable energy in the morning and evening. We’ve dubbed this same issue ... » read more
Tuesday Sep 19, 2023   
Food cart excursions within the Rose City (Portland) are common as there are several to choose from throughout. One favorite amongst tourists and locals is the establishment called the Asylum.  The establishment of food and beverages is named after 19th- century hospital for the mentally ill.  The pod’s design mimics such a place as it is surrounded by rock walls and circular barbed wire fence with small windows selectively placed and only one grand entrance. Figure 1 | Portland Food Cart - Asylum Since are over 15 food carts present/open at any time, one could get a bit confused when trying to pick one.  This is why they introduced a beverage cart at the entrance and built out a massive firepit set up where a group of individuals can sit around and discuss their ... » read more
Monday Sep 18, 2023   
The fallout from last winter continues to be in play when it comes to the decisions around Southern California’s natural gas landscape, specifically SoCal Gas’s storage facility known as Aliso Canyon.  If you recall, Mother Nature delivered a cold start to the winter season and the adjacent power regions were dealing with short portfolios as hydro waned and structural power demand was in play.  This led to the Pacific Northwest to actual export megawatts from the CAISO grid instead of providing energy during the crucial evening ramp block of hours.  The Desert Southwest was just short and leaning on the CAISO grid for its megawatt balancing during the same period.  At the end of the day, the storage gas volume was being consumed at a record pace. Figure 1 | ... » read more
Friday Sep 15, 2023   
If one’s comfort zone is where dreams go to die, then the dream was alive and kicking in ERCOT this summer while back east, especially NYISO, temperatures and grid conditions were quite a bit more …comfortable. For much of summer 2023, particularly July and August, a regional “heat dome” coupled with rapid recent population growth challenged ERCOT grid operators with record-breaking load and renewable market penetration. But for all the heat, load growth, and supply changes in Texas and the southwest, just as notable is where the heat didn’t show up, specifically the east, PJM, and especially NYISO. If ERCOT grid operators had been looking for a lower-stress job where they might get a little more down time and chance to catch up on reading, NYISO would have ... » read more
Thursday Sep 14, 2023   
In our latest Newsletter Renewable Monthly Report, “August 2023 – Texas Standout”, the focus was on the unique position of ERCOT this summer compared to other energy markets across the US.  In contrast to California and much of the eastern US, Texas has continued to experience intense summer heat.  There was not a single day in August or September so far that ERCOT’s composite temperature was not above the 5-year average.  The daily average hovered around 90 degrees throughout the past six weeks.  The impact on electricity demand was profound in August, just as in July.  ERCOT system load averaged 67.8 GW for the month of August, which is a full 10 GW higher than in August of 2022 and 12 GW higher than 2021.  The year-on-year ... » read more
Wednesday Sep 13, 2023   
On August 20th, the CAISO battery fleet missed the mark. If a battery had followed the same pattern as the fleet while attempting to capture real-time arbitrage, more than $3 per megawatt-hour would have been lost. The figure below is displayed every day in our CAISO Daily Battery Dashboard. The orange line in the bottom panel displays the generation-weighted arbitrage, which calculates how much real-time arbitrage a ‘typical’ battery captures when following the generation pattern of the whole fleet. Also displayed is the TB4 arbitrage, which assumes an omniscient operator of a 4-hour battery can choose the best 4 hours for charging and best 4 hours for discharging in the RTM. The top panel divides the generation-weighted arbitrage by the TB4 arbitrage to show how well the ... » read more
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