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Tuesday Apr 11, 2023   
The winter weather across the West region has been in the news since the start of November and escalated in December as the California natural gas market saw its cash prices move up from the mid-teens to that of $60 on a tight cash trading session.  A lot has changed since that time as Mother Nature has delivered plenty of precipitation in the Golden State that has showed up as snowpack and now rainfall.  The ground saturation issues that were present given the drought-like conditions seem to be long gone for the time being and the lakes that were hit on hard times will have recreation activity come the long Memorial Day holiday weekend.  Figure 1 | CAISO Hydro Generation – Year on Year Comparison The graph above is an illustration of the flat hydro generation ... » read more
Monday Apr 10, 2023   
The Easter Bunny has come and gone and depending on which part of the country you live determined if the eggs were hidden in the backyard or someplace within the house.  Looking ahead to the middle of April and beyond, the current weather forecast has some warmer weather in the near-term while the 6-10-day period is carrying closer to normal conditions.  This is true for the Midwest and Ohio Valley as temperatures rise all week and give way to colder conditions come the weekend.  The 11-15 day block is trending warmer across the entire country; therefore spring-like conditions are warranted and will be enjoyed by many, especially those in the West as temperatures have been nothing but cold up to this point of 2023. This type of weather will lead to the renewable landscape ... » read more
Friday Apr 7, 2023   
Ending the first week of April, the spring season is underway and the weather in California is finally reflecting it (well, mostly; Northern CA is still getting some rain). With days on end of sunshine and comfortable temperatures not calling for much heating or cooling, solar curtailments are picking up significantly, as we discuss in our latest Special Report, The Belly is Big,. While most curtailment tends to happen at a local level—that is, local congestion and constraints drive nodal prices low enough to incentivize individual generators to turn off—this is also the time of year where system-wide overgeneration is most likely to occur. Figure 1 | CAISO Solar and Wind Curtailments, 3/30 – 4/5 The figure above shows solar and wind gen and curtailments, on an hourly ... » read more
Thursday Apr 6, 2023   
This week marks the arrival of one of the major events of the water year when it comes to impacting hydro generation in the Pacific Northwest.  While mother nature seems to be dragging her feet in the transition from winter into spring with chilly mornings and hailstorms pummeling Portland that leave the ground looking like snowfall, there is one change related to springtime that cannot be delayed—the implementation of spring spill.  From the start of the new year up through the present the fish protection operations have been focused on Chum incubation, to keep water levels on the Lower Columbia high enough to provide a healthy environment for the fish to develop and hatch.  As that time arrives, each spring the operation changes to instead help newly hatched ... » read more
Wednesday Apr 5, 2023   
After a long and frigid winter, Alberta is moving through their last wintery push this week. The 15-day forecast for the last few months has been covered by a dark blue cloud of below normal temperatures. The most recent streak of cold ends today with average temperatures below freezing at 30 degrees Fahrenheit. While the demand isn’t up to the record level of earlier this winter, peak demand was up to 10.5 GW last Friday and over 10 GW yesterday. The real trouble comes when wind doesn’t show up to contribute its fair share of supply. The figure below shows load, wind generation, and net load, calculated by subtracting wind from overall load. The bottom panel shows power pool price. While the grid handled the highest demand on Friday without breaking above $60/MWh, the last ... » read more
Tuesday Apr 4, 2023   
The West power and natural gas markets have captured the headlines this past winter as the former has taken on the fact that the Pacific Northwest hydro season started out dry while California gained momentum around the middle of January 2023 and has not looked back when it comes to their hydro situation.  The latter has been one for the record books as strong demand from the rescom sector and power burn component had the end of the pipe entities reeling as they had to rely on storage gas at a pace that basically left them tight earlier and often.  ERCOT continues to display issues similar to the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) as its wind is strong all the while the solar profile continues to increase; thus creating a new net load profile that exposes HE18/19 ... » read more
Monday Apr 3, 2023   
First noted in a market flash earlier this week, “Heat on the Horizon”, and discussed further in the article “ERCOT Dress Rehearsal for Summer”, temperatures early next week will be well above average for several days throughout Texas, with temperatures then returning to normal by Wednesday April 6.     Figure 1| Tubing on the Guadalupe River Many questions swirl:  How many MW of thermal are down for maintenance?  Will the most recent year installations of solar show up in force?  Will wind be a factor? And how much west Texas wind can make it into the Houston market? And most importantly, as shown in Figure 1, will it be warm enough for a tubing trip down the Guadalupe River?    With the exception of the float trip ... » read more
Friday Mar 31, 2023   
Record-setting snow continues to pile up in the Sierra Mountains of California, and as a skier (living nowhere near California), I was curious about conditions. So, I peeked in on the ski report at Mammoth Mountain, right in the Central part of the State (again, nowhere near close to where I live). My eyes popped and my envy level soared: season to date, they’ve had 723 inches of snow, well above their season average of 400 inches. With a base depth (packed down) of up to 336 inches in places, you’d be skiing at times almost 30 feet above the mountain surface. And mountain base temperature forecast on 3/30 is 15 degrees F; so, it doesn’t look like we’re going to have a major melt anytime soon.     Figure 1 below shows a screenshot of local news ... » read more
Thursday Mar 30, 2023   
While the hydro system in our neck of the woods up in the Pacific Northwest continues to deal with a very dry water year and cold weather extending past the winter and now into the spring to delay snow melt from feeding into the rivers, down in California the story is different with a bounty of moisture that has been building up for months and is starting to show up in the grid balancing.  Our latest Newsletter Special Report, “LOM ME ASAP” digs into the landscape on the ground in California as renewables of all the different varieties from solar to batteries and now hydro are showing up like never before and are all set to play their roles in the weeks and months to come. The unexpected introduction of California hydro generation has put the CAISO grid operators on ... » read more
Wednesday Mar 29, 2023   
The West has been wet and wild this winter with California buffeted by a seemingly never-ending series of atmospheric rivers. Similarly, the Desert Southwest is experiencing an abundance of water at the end of winter. The figure below from the Bureau of Reclamation shows snow water equivalent for the Colorado River Basin from this middle of March. Much of the snowpack that feeds into the Colorado River is saw over 100% of normal conditions. The Upper Colorado was at 142% of the median historical snowpack while the Lower San Juan was over 200% of its median levels. EnergyGPS has covered the increasingly dire situation at Glen Canyon and Hoover dams, most recently in ‘Leveraging Hoover and a New Low at Powell’. In the article, we looked into how this abundant water year is ... » read more
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