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Tuesday Mar 8, 2022   
The last of the winter weather looks to be upon us across most of the Lower 48 as the 6-10 and 11-15 day periods have adjusted warmer across the board.  As it stands right now, the near-term conditions in the South Central, specifically Texas are going to bring colder weather as far south as Galveston. This means the likes of Dallas, Austin and Houston are all looking the overnight lows dropping down into the low 40’s with the weekend showing Saturday sitting in the mid 30’s.  The daytime highs will be all over the board with Houston ranging from 52 degrees today to upward to 73 degrees on Thursday. Figure 1 | Average Daily Temperatures – Austin/Dallas/Houston Such a change in the weather pattern is being reflected in the day-ahead auction results within the ... » read more
Monday Mar 7, 2022   
California has always been known for its sunshine and glitz and glamour in Southern California from Hollywood to the coastal beaches of San Diego.  Such weather and atmosphere are two things that drive the overall power markets as the former now controls much of the midday block of hours via behind the meter and utility-scaled solar projects while the latter takes on the morning and evening ramp demand profile depending on the time of year.  For example, this past Friday and Saturday delivered more clouds to the region, thus solar generation was substantially lower than what we have seen in the past few weeks. Figure 1 | CAISO Solar Profile – Hourly The graph below is an illustration of both solar and wind potential generation with the former sitting in the top pane and ... » read more
Friday Mar 4, 2022   
The implied heat rate is the standard measuring stick used by electricity traders to evaluate the relative value of power compared to natural gas. What is the 'implied' heat rate and  why is it important? Let’s start with a physical heat rate. This is the number of MMBtu’s of input fuel (typically natural gas) required to produce a MWh of electricity. For example, a combined cycle natural gas plant requires about 7 MMBtus per MWh of electricity produced. The “implied” heat rate is a simple calculation – electricity price for a given time period divided by the natural gas price for that same time period. For example, if the electricity price is $30 per MWh and the gas price is $3.00 per MMBtu, the implied heat rate is $30 per MWh / $3 per MMBtu which ... » read more
Thursday Mar 3, 2022   
ERCOT is no stranger to growth in renewable energy, making impressive strides in adding both wind and solar capacity over the past year.  Wind and solar generation together accounted for a full one third of all load satisfied in ERCOT this February.  Of course, as non-dispatchable renewable energy plays a larger and larger role in the grid, curtailments become increasingly common.  As we move closer to the end of winter and the period when curtailments have been most significant in the past, we are taking a deeper look at ERCOT and how the changing resources on the grid are likely to impact curtailments moving forward in a Newsletter Special Report, titled “ERCOT Curtailments Looming”.  Below is an excerpted portion of the report. The role and importance of ... » read more
Wednesday Mar 2, 2022   
The next few days could get a bit sloppy for the Sumas gas market.  Warming temperatures combined with a well-supplied power market leaves the region staring at the prospect of a gross over abundance of gas. Ever since the Westcoast pipeline in B.C. was repaired following the October 2018 explosion, then expanded, Sumas has found itself in a generally well-supplied gas environment.  To be sure, there are still scores of days in the depths of summer and winter in which gas demand outstrips supply, necessitating withdraws from the region’s storage facilities.  But, the market-long days are increasing.  This week puts this dynamic on stark display.  Despite still being very much in the midst of the winter, Sumas will confront a situation in which it could have ... » read more
Tuesday Mar 1, 2022   
Last year saw California receive  a record low amount of winter precipitation which compounded the drought conditions they had been suffering. The lack of snow pack forced many reservoirs along the Feather and Sacramento Rovers to run near bone dry shutting down hydroelectric operations in the Northern part of the state. This winter was expected to be a recovery from the difficulties seen throughout 2021. In November and December the state saw several large storms hit the northern region to which took the early snowpack levels to above normal. As we rolled into the New Year, the weather pattern started to revert back to what we saw the last few years; dryness during the heart of winter!! Typically, January and February are the months where the Sierra Nevada mountains ... » read more
Monday Feb 28, 2022   
The northeast region of the country looks to be pulling itself out of the late winter chill seen late last week and over the weekend.  This means that the daytime highs will move up into the low 40’s in Boston proper compared to the below freezing highs on display as of late.  The overnight lows that currently sit in the single digits will pop up to the above freezing level by Wednesday. Figure 1 | Boston 7-Day Weather Forecast As you can see from the 7-day local weather forecast for Boston, Thursday slips in on last cold shot as the overnight low is back down to 8 degrees.  As we get to the weekend period (first for March 2022), we are looking at above-freezing around the clock temperatures and on Sunday a precipitation pattern that will deliver heavy flaked snow ... » read more
Friday Feb 25, 2022   
What a difference a year can make! This time last year, ERCOT was just emerging from the grip of Winter Storm Uri, where prices hit the $9000/MWh cap for over three consecutive days, by far the most prolonged period of high prices ever to occur in ERCOT (or any other market, for that matter). Now, at the same time a year later, ERCOT is abruptly emerging from a streak of very low prices as yesterday saw a big spike up during the morning ramp as wiind had died down and the power demand was exceeding the forecast by 4.0 to 5.0 GW.  This was enough to stretch the system and place the hourly hub settles north of $3,000 (tapping the $3,350 mark HE10 in the North Zone). Figure 1 | Average Real Time Price by Day and Hour at ERCOT North Hub from 2/14/22 to 2/24/22 The graph above shows real ... » read more
Thursday Feb 24, 2022   
Living in Portland over the past month, one could almost believe that winter had skipped a year in the Pacific Northwest.  In a sky that seems perennially grey and overcast, there have been few clouds to be seen in recent weeks, with only a smattering of rain here and there.  Even as temperatures have dropped this week, the skies have been blue and the air is dry.  That’s not to say that there has been no precipitation whatsoever in the Northwest but looking at the figure below shows just how far we’ve been from the usual pattern of “8 months of nonstop rain” in the Portland area.  The image shows precipitation for the month of February to date as a percentage of normal for all the geographic sub-regions shown on the map.  The red color ... » read more
Wednesday Feb 23, 2022   
In the past week, AESO power prices have shuttled between a range of $32 to nearly $750.  Many of the price spikes into upper triple-digit territory have occurred within just a matter of hours of quiet, double-digit pricing.   While the moves can be alarming, they are generally predictable by watching forecasts for a few key line item fundamentals.  Namely: AESO wind and loads.  As part of our AESO and Canadian energy market coverage, we publish dashboards with forecasts of the market’s line-item fundamentals, and publish flashes and alerts to clients when those forecasts indicate volatility is en route.  That was the case last week and earlier this week when forecasts for Alberta weather indicated cold weather would lift loads, though the bigger ... » read more
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