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Monday Nov 23, 2020   
Recent changes in the jet stream has allowed more precipitation to move into the West Coast. In the past week a number of storms have battered the Cascades causing an early accumulation of snowpack. It is way too early to call an above normal snow year for the Pacific Northwest. We will reserve judgement for January. But the abundance has caused an early jump in the hydro output for the Mid Columbia market. Warm conditions are keeping run off high. Along with seasonal reservoir drafting it has swelled the river flows.    Figure 1 | PNW Snow Fall Accumulations for 2019 - 2021 Since the beginning of the month the average daily hydro output has increased from 11.5 to 14.5 GWa. This is now 2 GWa higher than what was seen in 2019 and 2018. Up until this week, Seattle and ... » read more
Friday Nov 20, 2020   
This week CAISO a second--"Phase 2"--round of rule changes to accommodate “hybrid resources”—resources that combine storage with a variable renewable energy (VER) resource (typically, solar) at a common location.  Like a cook scrambling to prepare a large meal for many guests, CAISO is gearing up to accommodate a wave of hybrid resources expected to interconnect over the next 3 years.  Specifically, CAISO is expecting more than 1,500 megawatts (MW) of storage capacity expected to connect to the grid by the end of next year—much of that will be co-located with solar.  Combined storage + solar capacity is a large part of the 3 GW capacity procurement target the CPUC adopted for IOUs and CCAS by summer of 2023. Hybrid resources a natural ... » read more
Thursday Nov 19, 2020   
The quote from the Wizard of Oz, "Toto, I have a feeling we are not in Kansas anymore.....", takes on many meanings but it is most commonly used in reference to someone not keeping up with the times, technology or education tools.  It also takes on the meaning of being in a completely unfamiliar and/or discomfiting environment which is why we are discussing it in today's blog. Figure 1 | Wizard of Oz - Not in Kansas Anymore, Are we in California? If Dorothy and Toto were sitting in the chair staring at the computer screen as an analyst in the energy sector, they would be well aware of what has transpired within California over the years as their initiative to become the pioneer in the renewable space took form with the passing of the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) back at ... » read more
Wednesday Nov 18, 2020   
Over the past two weeks, the upheavel across the United States tied to the election has been made for television drama. We started out with President Trump going to the podium in the early hours of Wednesday, November 4th claiming that victory was in site as the votes were being counted and the majority of the swing states were red in color. This meant that the the majority of votes counted at the time were for the President of the United States.  It was not until later in the day that the television stations starting piecing the puzzle together that there was a substantial number of mail-in votes that still needed to be counted.  As we have come to find out, each state is different when it comes to when they start to count the mail-in ballots and with the numbers much greater ... » read more
Tuesday Nov 17, 2020   
The abundance of storage is not limited to just the Lower 48. North of the border Canadian storage capacity is also at an all time high. Typically the increased HDD count in the norther latitudes ushers in a earlier draw down of inventory but not this year. COVID impacts and the warm start to November have limited the storage usage thus far. Coming into the winter season Alberta cavern operators knew the drawdown of capacity would have to include increased exports out of the province. All avenues into the Midcon, Pacific Northwest and Eastern Canada would have to be maximized. Starting on the first of the month, flows out of Empress onto TransCanada Pipeline increased from 2.8 to 3.3 BCF in an effort to supply premium priced markets.    Figure 1 | Empress Flows onto TCPL ... » read more
Monday Nov 16, 2020   
If you watched the Sunday night football game where the New England Patriots hosted the Baltimore Ravens at Foxboro Stadium all you saw by the end of the game was a down pouring of rain where the players visibility was at most 10 yards and a referee that was explaining calls on the field in a crisp hurried voice as the wind and rain was pelting him in the face.  From an energy perspective, the key to me was the fact that is was precipitation in the form of rainfall not snowflakes.  Figure 1 | Patriots vs. Ravens Football Game - Plenty of Rain This illustrated how the weather model runs formulated their forecast over the weekend as temperatures in the Midwest, Ohio Valley and Northeast all took a turn to the warmer side of the equation. This quickly has dropped the prompt ... » read more
Friday Nov 13, 2020   
As the nation sits and waits while the presidential election is finally settled, we’d like to turn our attention to Donald J. Trump’s record in the electricity sector. Yes, as election workers in Georgia are re-counting five million votes by hand, courts throughout the land are hearing about highly selective and locationally specific fraud, and Americans wait to learn when and how Donald J. Trump (DJT) will leave the White House, here at EnergyGPS we are indulging in our own form of fake news and alternative facts. It should come as no surprise that tree huggers everywhere are saddened that the greenest president in US history may soon be leaving office. Let’s take a look at the record. We’ll evaluate a few key metrics. Starting with coal, Figure 1 shows annual US ... » read more
Thursday Nov 12, 2020   
As a child, I remember opening up a Christmas present where inside was this toy that was named Stretch Armstrong.  It was a gel-filled action figure that you could pull on the arms, stretch its legs or twist its torso in a way that is not physically possible to the human body.  Once you let go of the figure, it did not take long for the body to reform itself to its original form.  Over the years, the action figure came back to life in 2016 when a toy manufacturer re-shelved the toy in its original form. Figure 1 | Stretch Armstrong - Gel-Filled Action Figure The action figure comes to mind when you look at the implied heat rates tied to the PJM and NYISO markets over the past week or so.  If you recall, Mother Nature dropped some colder weather on the ... » read more
Tuesday Nov 10, 2020   
Record warmth across the Midcon, Midwest and Northeast has been the dominant factor in the balancing this month. From the last week of October to the first week of November the Lower 48 heating degree day count fell from 16 to 7. In turn the nations heating demand fell from 28 to 15 BCF per day. This has flipped the storage activity from withdrawals back to injections at the worst time of the year. As a result the cash gas prices have fallen in an attempt to find new sources of consumption for the gas balancing. In order to get find higher power burns the pricing had to incentivize the shut down of coal plants in the power dispatch.    Figure 1 | Lower 48 Power Burns From the last week of October to this past weekend the Texas Eastern - M3 cash price fell from ... » read more
Monday Nov 9, 2020   
The power industry has gotten used to focusing on net load (demand minus solar and wind) instead of total demand alone as a starting place for determining how tight the grid is likely to be. In our recent special report, CAISO’s New Market Metrics, we examine how the next step in developing appropriate metrics for a renewable-heavy grid might include looking at net load ramp, the change in net load from the previous hour to the current hour. At least in CAISO, the net load ramp is already having a big effect on power prices, separate from the impact of the absolute net load in an hour.  When the solar generation starts to go out in the evening, you have two related by distinct problems: you need to bring a lot of generation online (high net load), and you need to bring it ... » read more
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