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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
Thursday Apr 12, 2018   
Who says winter is suppose to be over in April?  The people living in the Midwest do not want to hear any of that nonsense as temperatures for the month have been well below normal. In fact, it has been so cold that any precipitation came in the form of snowflakes blanketing the ground.   Figure 1 | Minneapolis Daytime High/Low Temperatures - Actual and Forecast Figure 1 displays Minneapolis, MN daytime high/low temperatures as well as what the forecast was calling for.  As you can see, the colder weather started back at the end of March and hit rock bottom the day after the long Easter holiday (April 4th).  At the same time the overnight lows were in single digits or low teens, Mother Nature was throwing in some precipitation in the form of snow.  If that ... » read more
Wednesday Apr 11, 2018   
The majority of our attention over the last two weeks has been focused on the basis hubs as the Algonquin and Socal City Gates have been on fire through early spring. The high prices are justified as both pipes are seeing deliverability issues and temperatures which are strong deviations from normal (in opposite directions).  Henry Hub on the other hand has seen little to no volatility since the start of the month and has remained in the same $2.55 to $2.75 range since February.    Figure 1 | Henry Hub Prompt Month Contract Price - Jan Through April 2018 vs 2017 With all the excitement at the basises and the lack of overall price volatility at the hub, we have turned our attention towards the volatility, but that's not so say there haven't been ... » read more
Tuesday Apr 10, 2018   
This past weekend there was a spike in the number of Lower 48 nuclear outages as per the NRC daily posting. From Thursday into Monday the total moved up from 15 to 22 GWa. The next two weeks usually mark the peak of the spring outage season. A number of forced outages have been tacked onto the total this spring. Pilgrim 1 (676MW) in NEPOOL has been forced out of service with no return date. Palo Verde 1 (1330MW) has also been operating at reduced power.   Figure 1 | NRC Nuclear Outage Total (2013 - 2018) The increased outage total and ongoing cold weather throughout the Mid-Continent and Northeast has taken the net load throughout the country up to 413 GWa. That is 50 GWa higher than what was recorded for April 2017. After this week we will see a big drop in the net load ... » read more
Monday Apr 9, 2018   
On April 2nd the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld last year's order to increase spill on eight federal dams on the Lower Snake and Lower Columbia rivers, beginning April 3rd and 10th respectively, and lasting through the middle of June.  The Court of Appeal's affirmation, which can be found here, will increase the amount of water that goes through the spillways during this time period up to the allowed total dissolved gas level (TDG) of each dam (varies by dam).  The increase in spill will in turn aid the downstream migration of juvenile Chinook and steelhead as they make their way to the Pacific Ocean each spring.  The further hope is that with increased survival rates for juveniles, the region will see increased rates of return for the adults.  This is ... » read more
Friday Apr 6, 2018   
On April 1st the power generation subsidiaries of First Energy submitted a chapter 11 filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Akron, Ohio. First Energy Corp. is the ultimate parent company for each of the Debtors (companies that filed for bankruptcy). There are essentially two subsidiaries that filed for bankruptcy. First Energy Solutions (FES) owns generation (see footnote 1) as well as long term contracts to purchase power. FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company provides operation and maintenance services to the FES nuclear plants and has 2,333 employees. FES is the market-facing entity that purchases power from the generators and sells electricity and other energy services into the market. FES has a staff of 57 people while the various subsidiaries that own generation have 686 ... » read more
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