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Friday Mar 10, 2017   
  There is no lack of innovation in California. It is one of the state’s core competencies. Whether technology, environmental regulations, renewable energy, movies, or entertainment the Golden State leads the way. An innovation in the electricity market that has been steadily gaining steam over the last few years is the development of Community Choice Aggregators or CCA’s. CCA’s are governmental entities formed by cities and counties to procure electricity for their residents, businesses, and municipal facilities. Think about a competitive ... » read more
Thursday Mar 9, 2017   
Our daily newsletter has covered what has been happening at Orville Dam since the spillway started to give way as the lake behind the dam reached emergency spillway levels in the middle of February. This event call for over 200,000 people living in the surrounding neighborhoods to be evacuated for safety reason.  A couple of days later, the residents were able to return to their homes while the riverbed below the spillway/dam was filled with large pieces of concrete as well as boulders/soot from the hillside being washed into it.  Such debris caused the ... » read more
Wednesday Mar 8, 2017   
With the renewable push over the years, the Lower 48 has seen quite a bit of wind and solar hit the grid.  The pioneer to all of this was the State of California where they implemented a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) that paved the way for wind generation to be built both in the Pacific Northwest and in-state during the early years.  Recently, the renewable of choice has come in the form of solar facilities that have recently peaked over 9 GW during the middle of the day.  Looking at the midday average we are seeing over 8.1 GW hit the grid during ... » read more
Tuesday Mar 7, 2017   
There were some big changes to the weekend weather models that caused us to alter our natural gas demand forecast. Starting on the Saturday model runs, a subtropical ridge built over the Desert Southwest allowing cold air from Canada to drop into the Midwest. By day 8 of the forecast it is now expected to be over the Mid Atlantic and New England. Chicago is expected to see a drop in its daytime highs from the mid 60's down to the low 30's. This change in the flow pattern took a prevailing forecast that had been trending above normal for most of the winter and pushed ... » read more
Monday Mar 6, 2017   
Prior to this year, all the Chicago Cubs fans could do is talk about the Steve Bartman foul ball incident in 2003 that robbed them of their first National League Championship Series (NCLS) in 58 years and a chance to win the World Series that had escaped them since 1908. Back then the Cubs were the first team to play in three consecutive World Series (winning in 1907/1908 and losing to the crosstown rivals Chicago White Sox in 1906 - 4 games to 2 games). Figure 1 | The Incident - NCLS Chicago Cubs Game Over the past 13 years, we have seen the Boston Red Sox ... » read more
Friday Mar 3, 2017   
Calpine’s web site describes a number of peaker plants within its California fleet. The following is a description of the 48 MW Wolfskill Energy Center. The Wolfskill Energy Center is a “peaker” facility located in Suisun, California. The single natural gas-fired aero-derivative combustion turbine generator at Wolfskill is used to rapidly respond to peak system electricity demands. Highly flexible, quick-responding peaker plants help integrate intermittent renewable resources into the state’s power grid While Calpine is known for its large ... » read more
Thursday Mar 2, 2017   
A couple of weeks back, we wrote about Oroville Dam and its situation of being at full capacity and Mother Nature sending more water its way in the form of rain. This was going to lead to the system operators spilling as much water as they could down the current working spillway.  Unannounced to the any, Mother Nature was also busy moving the earth below the dam's hillside and area that contained the spillway.  As a result of all this water and land movement, the spillway started to crack as a big sinkhole opened up about 1/2 the way down the concrete ... » read more
Wednesday Mar 1, 2017   
With March Madness right around the corner (College Basketball's National Championship Tournament), I could not help but think of the final song  they play where all the big highlights of the NCAA basketball tournament are shown with the singing of 'One Shining Moment' in the background.  If you do not know what I am talking about it would be worth a couple of minutes to watch the youtube of the 2015 tournament (Wisconsin Badgers lost to the Duke Blue Devils). Back in 1986, composer David Barrett sat in a bar in East Lansing and wrote then entire song ... » read more
Tuesday Feb 28, 2017   
TransCanada Pipeline Corporation is one of the largest pipeline companies in the world. Starting as a infrastructure company in 1951, their first big asset was the construction and operation of the Canadain Mainline that runs from the gas production fields in the Alberta Foothills eastward to Quebec. It is one of the longest natural gas pipelines in the world. It has been the main source of supply for Eastern Canada for more than 50 years. But in the past ten years their market share for natural gas use across North America has shrunk with the production developments ... » read more
Monday Feb 27, 2017   
When I first started in the energy business, I did not know the terminology as I was a high math teacher who went into the business world as an IT support/help desk staffer.  Once I worked my way up through the ranks as an analyst for the cash desk, my head was spinning as I had more questions than answers.  I remember one of the questions I asked the term trader one day, "what is the different between the heavy load and light load numbers?"  I thought it was a fare question at the time, but he just looked at me and started laughing with the ... » read more
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