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Thursday Apr 26, 2018   
The Algonquin Pipeline (AGT) has been a focal point which ISONE prices hinge. This electrical grid is a unique system that reaches its highest prices in the winter caused by residential and commercial heating demand. AGT is pushed to its limits, which turns natural gas into a scarce resource for power generators as the pipeline reaches binding constraints at the Stony Point Compressor. With gas choked off, the grid resorts to oil which becomes the cheapest fuel available but multiple times more expensive than natural gas when there are no constraints. The shift in generation ultimately leads Mass Hub LMPs rocketing upwards, like we saw in January of this year. On the other hand, summer has even greater electrical demand, but in the past has not seen the same fuel switching dynamic. With ... » read more
Wednesday Apr 25, 2018   
California always has something going on that is worth discussing.  As of late, the biggest topic of discussion is tied to what is going on with SoCal Citygate when it comes to the volatile prices in the cash market.  For example, the latest three day package (last weekend) saw SoCal Citygate index $2.25 after peaking out at $4.10 on the 17th. Figure 1 | SoCal Citygate Daily Cash Prices As we sat down this week, the temperatures were expected to warm up across the Desert Southwest and the southern part of California.  As expected, the day-ahead load profile within the CAISO footprint shifted up to a point that Tuesday's peak hit 28.6 GW. Figure 2 | CAISO Day-Ahead Load Profile - Hourly This is roughly 2 GW higher than what we saw on the 17th and just under 3.7 GW higher ... » read more
Tuesday Apr 24, 2018   
It has been a long insufferable month of chilly weather for most of the Northeast. Over the past two months there has only been a handful of days where the temperatures reached above normal. This has stalled out any possibility of storage injections by keeping the space heating at levels usually reserved for early March. Heading into next month, we are finally getting a chance to see the region move back up to normal. This will finally take the ResCom demand back down to normal providing the first opportunity of the year to inject volume back into the natural gas storage complex in the area.    Figure 1 | Columbus Ohio Average, Actual and Forecasted Temperatures DTI storage usually starts injecting gas on or near the first of April. Due to the colder temperatures ... » read more
Monday Apr 23, 2018   
It has been a long, cold, and wet winter for most residents of the Pacific Northwest.  The wetter the winter, the more snow that falls in the mountains, which eventually melts into water and gets pushed through the river system.  The colder the winter, the later in the year that said melt occurs.  As you can see in Figure 1, using the January-July measure as a barometer for this year's water year, there will be 120.8 million acre feet (MAF) going through The Dalles Dam on the Columbia River system between January 1, 2018 and July 31st, 2018.  This figure is 119% of the 1981-2000 normal.  That is a VERY healthy water year, and one of the biggest on record  (16th biggest water year on record).  Amazingly enough it is still 17 MAF shy of last year's giant ... » read more
Friday Apr 20, 2018   
Anyone who has spent time around young kids knows that they ask a ton of questions. Most questions have easy answers which you give and move on. But some questions are disarming, and go right to a core principle or a value. A number of years ago I had the following dialogue with my daughter: Daughter: Where would we live if we didn’t have any money? Tim: Well, mom and I both have jobs and that’s where the money comes from that pays the mortgage on the house. Daughter: But what if you didn’t have a job? Tim: I’d go find another one. Daughter: But what if you couldn’t find another job? Tim: We have savings and we’d live off that for a while. Daughter: What would happen if you didn’t have a job and you had no savings? Long pause … in four ... » read more
Thursday Apr 19, 2018   
Since the inception of the California Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) policy, everyone has been watching how the build out of both wind and solar capacity was/is going to play out.  As it stands right now, the State of California continues to be the front-runner when it comes to both utility-scaled and rooftop solar capacity integration.  The graph below illustrates the steady increase when it comes to the former as we have seen it go from 7.5 GW at the beginning of 2016 to over 10.3 GW starting in 2018. Figure 1 | Utility Scaled Cumulative Max Solar Output in California When it comes to the roof-top side of the equation, we are seeing a steady dose of 100 MW of capacity added per month (1.2 GW per year) over the past three years, which puts the current capacity total just ... » read more
Wednesday Apr 18, 2018   
Once a month the EIA releases the Drilling Productivity Report which highlights Oil and Natural Gas production estimates for the current and next month.  The report provided three key data points: New-well Production Per rig by Region, Production by Region, and DUC (drilled but uncompleted) Wells by Region.  The data is broken into seven regions: Anadarko, Appalachia, Bakken, Eagle Ford, Haynesville, Niobrara, and Permian. Figure 1 | DPR Regional Data - Map The data in the report is a useful tool for getting direction and double checking assumptions, however this months release threw a bit of curve ball at us. The changes were twofold, with large revisions for previous months and an uplift for May. In Figure 2 below we display the DPR production by region with the rows ... » read more
Tuesday Apr 17, 2018   
Chalk this winter up for the record books. Yesterday, Edmonton, Alberta set a new mark for the longest streak of days with overnight lows below freezing, breaking a mark that has stood since 1975. That is 168 straight days of dropping below zero Celsius. This has produced a record amount of heating load for the province. NGTL demand has posted new all-time highs as well as monthly averages since late December. There has been a persistent ridge that has locked cold air into the region just east of the Canadian Rockies for almost five months. Fortunately for the residents of Alberta, the weather models are confirming a transition to spring later this week.  Figure 1 | Edmonton Cold Streak Figure 2 below shows how the natural gas demand for the NGTL system has performed ... » read more
Monday Apr 16, 2018   
On April 4th the Western Energy Imbalance Market (EIM) welcomed two new participants.  Powerex and Idaho Power Company (IPCo) joined the EIM which already includes the CAISO, PacifiCorp, Nevada Power, Arizona Public Service, Puget Sound Energy, and Portland General Electric.  As an old transmission junkie I am not only thrilled to see more companies join the EIM as such improves the efficiency of dispatch throughout the WECC, but I am also fascinated to see what each company brings to the table upon joining.  Some companies join and go all-in with nearly every generating and transmission asset they own being offered into the EIM.  Other companies bring substantially less assets to the EIM table.  There is nothing wrong with either approach as not only do more ... » read more
Friday Apr 13, 2018   
In the good old days of analyzing electricity markets life was simple. You had twelve months. You had your peak price. You had your off peak price. The pricing periods were driven by the needs of utilities who were trying to exchange bulk power. Creating standard products was helpful as it made the things that you are buying and selling more liquid – it eased commerce. The peak time period was established during the 16 hours of heaviest demand. The off peak hours were everything else. The WECC decided that “peak” days were Monday through Saturday. The rest of the country decided that “peak” days were Monday through Friday. Everyone agreed to take NERC holidays off. From the load’s point of view, the system works fine. The utilities play a game of ... » read more
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