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Friday Feb 24, 2023   
Back in December of last year, we published a Newsletter Special Report discussing SPP curtailments. At the time, curtailments for 2022 had just reached 10,000,000 total MWh. The year finally ended with right around 15,000,000 MWh of curtailed wind energy. Figure 1 | SPP Renewable Curtailments, 2018 – Present    This graph shows cumulative renewable curtailments for each year from 2018 through the present. Since it’s SPP, the curtailed MWh are overwhelmingly wind (solar penetration in SPP has been sitting right around 0.2% for several years). The current year is visible as the brightest blue line, and so far it’s tracking the 2022 curtailments closely. Given this, we wanted to take a closer look at SPP’s wind penetration rates and the corresponding price ... » read more
Thursday Feb 23, 2023   
The attention on CAISO supply stack has been intense so far this winter, with the ISO needing to focus more on within-state generation sources than is typical.  We’ve documented over the past six months the transition that is taking place in the West where structural load increases and changes to the Pacific Northwest hydro system such as stricter fish spill requirements have left the Northwest facing tight grid conditions more often than in the past.  Throw Washington’s carbon program into the mix as well along with a dry and low 2023 water year and the result is a state of affairs that has Mid-C pricing over California’s hubs on a regular basis.  In our recent Newsletter Special Article, “California’s Healthy Hydro”, we dive into ... » read more
Wednesday Feb 22, 2023   
Volatility was the name of the game in Alberta last week. Peak power pool price ran over $400/MWh in 6 out of the 7 days from Monday, February 13th to Sunday, February 19th. For three of those days, price ran over $790/MWh. All of these highest peak price days saw volatility in the wind generation (second panel down in Figure 1) which dropped significantly during some of the highest demand hours of the day. On Monday, the expected drop in wind generation came a few hours early, causing havoc as net load jumped 600 MW higher than planned for. Valentine’s Day saw the highest peak net load at 10.8 GW bringing pool price to $792.26 while Saturday’s prices sat under $50 for most of the day before hiking over $800/MWh when wind dropped. Figure 1 | Alberta Hourly Breakdown – ... » read more
Tuesday Feb 21, 2023   
The 2023 European winter was supposed to be a disaster as a year ago is when Russia invaded Ukraine. During the initial stages of the war, Russia intended to use its energy influence as a weapon against a European response as natural gas flows were being curtailed and news around what might be next was in play. For the first time since World War II there was conflict in Europe and the energy supply was the battlefield. The NordStream 2 sabotage sent a signal to the world that not only could pipeline flows be curtailed but the entire network into Europe could be destroyed. The risks sent natural gas prices to record levels on three continents in a scramble to secure molecules ahead of this winter. The Q1 Dutch TTF futures prices broke $101 US/MM in the aftermath of ... » read more
Friday Feb 17, 2023   
A simple way to describe one set of services our consulting practice offers is we help electricity assets economically plug into the wholesale electricity markets. On the supply side, this often takes the form of helping renewable projects estimate future wholesale revenues, costs, and risks. We also do a lot of work on the demand side, notably for large technology companies. They want to know the opposite side of the same coin – the cost and risk of the RECs that they are purchasing. A fun part of the consultant’s job is seeing the new solutions that are coming down the pike. We’ve looked at long distance transmission a number of times. While some of these large transmission projects will have their moment in the sun, in most parts of the country the renewable by wire ... » read more
Thursday Feb 16, 2023   
The Pacific Northwest is dealing with some cool weather at the moment and staring at a big block of cold up ahead starting in the middle of next week with Portland and Seattle’s temperatures expected to fall down into the low twenties overnight and below-zero temps up in Montana.  Mid-C is at a premium to the other hubs in the West as the Northwest is sending a signal to keep megawatts at home with the tight grid conditions or else incentivize increased production from the region’s hydro system.  So far, apart from the brief spike in output at the very beginning of the month, Northwest hydro has been very limited, averaging just 11.3 GW so far in February, more than 4 GW lower than last year. Figure 1 | PNW Daily Average Hydro Generation (MW)  The current ... » read more
Wednesday Feb 15, 2023   
With the first month and a half of 2023 in the rearview, another deadline for the Colorado River basin states has come and gone with no consensus. Back in June, the commissioner at the Bureau of Reclamation announced to the seven states that an agreement needed to be made to reduce water usage by 2 to 4 million acre-feet (maf). The first deadline came and went in 2022 with no decision. The upper basin released a plan with no hard numbers while the lower basin states including Arizona, Nevada, and California remained silent. A new deadline for the end of January was announced. On January 30th, six states came together with a last-minute proposal for new cuts. California, the only state excluded, came forward with a different plan with lower cuts a day later. California is largest user of ... » read more
Tuesday Feb 14, 2023   
"Location, location, location" is an old adage that is often used in the real estate sector where the essence of the phrase states that even though you may have similar properties, the location of either makes all the difference in the world as to how they are valued. For example, two properties with the same exact footprint and square footage can have different property values given one sits on the edge of a rugged hillside overlooking the ocean while the other is on the other side of the street where the view is of the house just mentioned (not the ocean).  This type of locational pricing rings true for the natural gas market as well as this winter has seen prices diverge from coast to coast as the Gulf/East Coast are suffering from high inventory conditions where the exact ... » read more
Monday Feb 13, 2023   
The second week of February has brought much more mild weather to Texas than the start of the month. Along with the warmer temperatures have come higher wind output and lower demand, and the low net load is (for the most part) keeping prices low. Figure 1 | ERCOT RT Dashboard, 2/5/23 – 2/11/23 The image above shows the ERCOT RT dashboard for February 5th through 11th. The top pane shows the North Hub DA prices (blue) and RT prices (orange). Though prices have spiked to a little above $100 for a couple of intervals in the evening, for the most part they’ve tended to stay quite low. One event that sticks out on the real time price graph is the deep negative block, starting in the last hour or so of February 5, and lasting through the light load hours on the morning of February ... » read more
Friday Feb 10, 2023   
California renewables have taken a back seat to the higher natural gas prices across the West this winter.  As the sun continues to shine and the wind turbines spin, the hydro situation in the Pacific Northwest continues to allowed any type of megawatt to find a home throughout the month January.  This is a typical occurrance as the power load numbers are supportive to the overall supply stack megawatts throughout the day.  Once we get into the month of February, the landscape starts to change as the weather can drive the power demand numbers higher/lower depending on Mother Nature while the solar output starts to pick up as the winter days start to extend the daylight period. Figure 1 | CAISO 7-Day Renewable Breakdown - Hourly The image above displays the CAISO solar ... » read more
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