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Friday Jun 3, 2016   
Today's California load is the highest of all days and as a result, the SP15 day-ahead heavy load implied heat rate jumped up to an 11.82.  This is up roughly 1.5 heat rate points from the previous day's clear of a 10.38.  As you can see in the figure below, scheduled load was up over 1,900 MWa Figure 1 | CAISO Scheduled Load From a net thermal demand, the grid was needing over 14,000 MW as the load increased, virtual supply shifted down and imports from the Desert Southwest/Pacific Northwest shifted down.  This has prompted the natural gas fleet to ... » read more
Thursday Jun 2, 2016   
Over the last year we have been closely monitoring the coal to gas generation ratio. Weak gas prices and increased regulations has led to an unprecedented decrease in coal generation and subsequent increase in natural gas generation (relative to net demand).  As May came to a close we saw load rise over the past week and eagerly waited to see if coal generation would bounce back. Thus far we have not a significant increase in the coal to gas ratio.   Figure 1|Coal vs Natural Gas Burns Ratio (BCF Equivalent)  Diving into the individual ISOs the ... » read more
Wednesday Jun 1, 2016   
With all the issues swirling around Aliso Canyon this year, both SoCal Gas and CAISO have implemented a plan heading into the summer months to make sure there was enough gas to go around and that the generators in the state of California were able to re-submit their bids if there was a big gas movement in the cash market from day to day.  Well that occurred coming out of the long weekend as Socal Citygate went from indexing $1.85 over the 4 day holiday weekend to settling around $2.28 for today.  This $0.43 move up was outside the threshold and triggered ... » read more
Tuesday May 31, 2016   
Prior to the long holiday weekend, the forecast was showing some heat moving into the West this week.  As we gather ourselves for a new month, the forecast seems to be holding true as Sacramento is looking at triple digits most of the week, while Burbank will be getting warmer as we get deeper into the week. Figure 1 | Sacramento Temperatures - Forecast and Actual As a result of this heat, scheduled loads in California shifted up over 4,000 MWa compared to late last week. Figure 2 | CAISO Day-Ahead Scheduled Load - Hourly Most of the increase was concentrated ... » read more
Friday May 27, 2016   
Back in November I took a look at some of the work published by Vaclav Smil. Smil is a professor at the University of Manitoba who publishes on a wide range of topics including energy. He is one of the great thinkers of our time and also happens to be a very clear and productive writer. Google him if you haven’t already! Back in January of 2014 he wrote an article in Scientific American that explained how long it took for different fuels to reach different levels of penetration into the market. A summary of his points can be found in Figure 1. Figure 1 | Share ... » read more
Thursday May 26, 2016   
Over the weekend, the NWRFC's ESP MAF jumped up significantly (from 103 to 106.8 MAF for the Jan-July time period at The Dalles) due to the precipitation on the ground (rain Sat/Sun) and what was showing up in the 10 day forecast.  As this week progressed, the NWRFC 10-Day QPF maps were showing the precipitation pattern diminish significantly as we headed into the long Memorial Day weekend. Figure 1 | NWRFC QPF - Days 5 and 6 (Sat/Sun)       Coming out of the long holiday weekend, the precipitation picks up for a day but then looks to dry out as we ... » read more
Wednesday May 25, 2016   
Monday marked a rather monumental day in the energy sphere as Watts Bar 2 started up.   Figure 1 | Watts Bar 2 - Both Towers showing signs of activity Per the NRC report yesterday, it showed the unit kicking out 37 MW onto the grid.  This generation marks the culmination of a projected that was started over 40 years ago and the first new nuclear facility in 20 years.  Figure 2 | NRC Daily Outages - Watts Bar 1&2 The launch of the new facility also represents a milestone in the clean energy (or at least carbon-free energy) movement ... » read more
Tuesday May 24, 2016   
On May 18th, Boardwalk Pipeline Company's Texas Gas Transmission announced that the .758 BCF per day Ohio-Louisiana Access project will start up June 1st. This pipeline reversal will connect the Utica and Western Marcellus basins to points in the southern part of Louisiana. The anchor shipper for the new north to south capacity is Sabine Pass LLC. They contracted for .3 BCF of the .758 BCF of capacity for the use of filling the demand needs of the second train of their liquefaction facility. The commercial operations date of the second train at Sabine Pass is expected ... » read more
Monday May 23, 2016   
With the last full week of May upon us and the long Memorial Day weekend right around the corner, California is looking at substantially lower temperatures this week.  For example, Sacramento is looking at highs in the low 70's in the beginning of the week then jumping up into the mid/upper 70's by Friday.  Burbank is going to hold pretty steady in the low 70's, which is well below the above normal averages we have seen most of the month. Figure 1 | Burbank Temperatures - Actual and Forecast From a CAISO peak load perspective, the leveling of temperatures ... » read more
Friday May 20, 2016   
The Pacific Northwest hydro system can be a major force in western US markets – especially during the spring runoff. In most years, the collection of the 60 largest Pacific Northwest dams put more than 20,000 MW on to the grid during the peak runoff weeks in May and June. This is enough power to meet all demand, fill up the ties to California, and crater off-peak prices close to $0 per MWh and on-peak prices below $10 per MWh. The Northwest dams generate more power than all the other dams in the west put together. Before there were concerns about negative-priced ... » read more
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