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Thursday Feb 15, 2024   
Congestion continued to be on display within the California market where the constraint sits between Southern and Northern California.  This is known as an interzonal constraint that impacts the balancing act within the CAISO footprint and bottlenecks the movement of megawatts through the Golden State. Figure 1 | CAISO Day-Ahead Marginal Cost of Energy (MCC) The price impact to market participants is significant where NP15’s heavy load is clearing in the upper $40’s on a consistent basis while SP15 has ranged from $17.18 to $32.29 with the 15th settling in at $21.64.  Tracking the day-ahead to the real-time market carries with it several deviation components such as scheduling error and renewable profile deviation that works the grid operators from hour to hour ... » read more
Wednesday Feb 14, 2024   
NP15 batteries aren’t feeling the love this Valentine’s Day as their opportunities to capture day-ahead arbitrage have fallen dramatically in the last two months. The figure below is featured in the CAISO Monthly Battery Dashboard which is released on the 1st of each month and available as part of EnergyGPS’s Renewable Platinum Plus Package. On average this January, NP15 batteries had the opportunity to earn $14.50/MWh of arbitrage in the day-ahead market while December 2023 was even lower at $12.63/MWh. This contrasts with the highs of 2023 in April at $80.53/MWh and August at $78.29/MWh. SP15, too, had a new low in December 2023. Both gas and power prices were low at the end of last year while the winter sun meant less solar to drive midday prices down further. » read more
Tuesday Feb 13, 2024   
Solar generation across California and ERCOT are impacting their respective grids in a way that the system operators are having to deal with balancing the grid through some sort of renewable curtailments, which is led by a zero or negative price signal depending on the location.  For example, over the weekend California’s SP15 real-time price took a nosedive as the midday displayed a low price of -$42.00 between HE11 and HE15. Figure 1 | SP15 Real-Time Price Settles – Hourly The chart above illustrates the SP15 hourly price action for the day-ahead (blue bars) and both real-time markets (RTPD – 15 minute, RTM – 5 minute) over the past three days.  It is clear that the weekends find trouble quickly as the day-ahead clears are negative and it only worsens ... » read more
Monday Feb 12, 2024   
There was a point during the Super Bowl where the cameras took the audience outside of Alliant Stadium to show the sun setting in the desert as the rays displayed an orange sky and reflection of the building that line the Las Vegas strip. Figure 1 | Sun Setting in the Desert Southwest There used to be a time when individuals in the Midwest watched the game on their respective big screens inside their cozy home with a fire going dreaming of a warm spring day when the snow finally melts and the Twin Cities starts to feel a little like the Vegas as the city goes from its wintery slowdown to that a vibrant metropolitan feel. Mother Nature has changed all this this winter as the Midwest is experiencing one of the warmest February’s on record with no snow on the ground and daytime highs ... » read more
Friday Feb 9, 2024   
The recent January cold snap tested the grid in the Pacific Northwest region. Robust underlying load growth coupled with extremely cold weather contributed to record levels of demand for many balancing authorities and a new winter record for the region. Conditions were so tight that we hear that several balancing authorities entered Energy Emergency Alert 1 (EEA1) status meaning “real-time analysis shows all resources are in use or committed for use, and energy deficiencies are expected.” We have heard through the grapevine that one balancing authority reached EEA2 or higher triggering a request for emergency energy from all available sources. The region relied on more than 4,000 MW of imports from other regions (excluding imports from BC), many of which were likely spot ... » read more
Thursday Feb 8, 2024   
Perhaps the defining characteristic of this past January that was consistently observed across the entire country was significant cold snap that showed up in the early-to-mid month.  In much of the country the drop in temperatures produced significant effects on the power and natural gas markets.  In our latest Newsletter Renewable Monthly Report, “January ’24 – Sun’s Rays and Cold Days”, we delve into the latest in renewables during the month of January, market by market (sample Renewable Monthly Report).  One example is ERCOT, where the solar growth that has been on display over the past 10 months is measurably changing the evening ramp with implications for both ISO balancing and price formation.  The colder weather was present in ERCOT ... » read more
Wednesday Feb 7, 2024   
It’s that time of year again when nuclear plants go offline for refueling. It hardly feels like enough time has passed since the last round of outages that started in Fall 2023. Part of the reason for that is that there are still a few plants remaining offline from the last round. The Prairie Island plants were offline all of November, December, and into the start of 2024. Prairie Island 2 is still 100% offline at the start of February. Similarly, Waterford 3 is just starting to return to the grid after going offline for refueling in October of last year. Overall, nuclear outages have been unseasonably high at the start of this year, reaching over 8 GW off last week. Just as outages have started to calm, we’re seeing the first plant offline for spring refueling and can expect ... » read more
Tuesday Feb 6, 2024   
The weather model runs delivered colder temperatures across the Lower 48 and Canada coming out of the weekend, which meant that the middle of February was going to see higher rescom demand compared to the current levels.  One would think that with such a move in HDD levels, the front of the forward natural gas curve would have moved higher as it was less than a month prior that the last cold front wreaked havoc on specific regions, including the South Central Region. Figure 1 | Lower 48 HDD Comparison – 2/5/2024 This was not the case as the prompt month (March 2024) traded in a tight range and did not deviate away from Friday’s settle of $2.07.  This is important to note as the discussions around what comes next is happening as part of the EnergyGPS North American ... » read more
Monday Feb 5, 2024   
California got pummeled this weekend with another round of storms that left areas in the southern part of the state flooded and nowhere to go.  This has been a common theme for the past two years as the regional precipitation pattern is different from the previous five that left the grid with drought-like conditions.     Figure 1 | The Next Round of Storms Mother Nature’s pattern is not the only thing that has changed over the years as the grid’s day-ahead and real-time pricing is displaying potent S to N congestion during the midday block of hours as the massive renewable presence tied to solar is outpacing that of any new battery capacity and/or transmission upgrades where they are needed most.  The marginal cost of congestion (MCC) expanded out to ... » read more
Friday Feb 2, 2024   
Cali’s Snowpack Is Off to a Slow Start Last year around this time, I kept an envious eye on California’s Mammoth Mountain to ogle over their gaudy snow levels.   At the end of January 2023, Mammoth had 397 inches of snow, compared to this season’s total of 98 inches through the end of January, coming on strong lately with 72 inches since New Year’s.   And although comparing this year to an audacious 2022/2023 season may be unfair, this year’s snow accumulation to date raises concern for hydro operations, water management, and wildfires the next few months.  Figure 1| Uncertain Snowpack this Winter So far this year, California’s mild and wet winter has left the state with a snowpack well below normal and far behind last ... » read more
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