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Friday Aug 11, 2023   
Summertime: Baseball and Electricity Summer 2023 has been a real scorcher in places and brought with it record-setting heat, particularly in the South and West, along with record-setting performance from many renewables throughout the US.   But summer also makes me think of our national pastime: baseball. I prefer the small-ball version of baseball: singles, stolen bases, bunts, and hit-and-run type play.  It’s more exciting than waiting for a base-clearing homerun.   The electric grid is increasingly playing its version of “small ball” in the form of distributed, smaller-scale, and intermittent resources such as renewables, supplemented with batteries and gas peaker facilities.  Meanwhile, our long-ball analogue, large baseload power ... » read more
Thursday Aug 10, 2023   
This summer has seen some key changes to real-time prices in ISOs across the country that have impacted the revenue renewables have received compared to previous years.  In our latest Newsletter Renewable Monthly report, “July 2023 – Comparing Price Profiles”, we dig into these renewable capture ratios by examining the changes in monthly price profiles, as well as the drivers behind the changes.  Below is an excerpt from the report, touching on both CAISO and ERCOT’s price changes. To start off with in CAISO, renewables performed roughly on par with June production, with the July solar profile peaking at 14.9 GW again while average wind generation shifted down 400 MW to 3 GW for the month.  The events resulted in a July price profile at SP15 that ... » read more
Wednesday Aug 9, 2023   
Just last month, we discussed the warmest June on record for global temperatures, but July has turned up the heat even more. This July was the hottest on record with temperatures across the globe shattering previously set highs. In the US, the Desert Southwest and Texas sat under a heat dome for much of the month. Several cities broke records for most consecutive days over 100 degrees (or over 110 degrees!), including Phoenix and El Paso. The heat strained the electrical grids as demand stretched with the need for air conditioning to create a livable environment. In our July monthly, titled ‘Turning Up the Heat in July’, we examined the impacts of a sweltering July on the affected grids across the country, as well as neighboring regions that offered support. Read on for a ... » read more
Tuesday Aug 8, 2023   
ERCOT continues its summer heat wave with temperatures across the state topping the century mark for the day-time highs.  Wind generation numbers are impressive all things considered, that is until it does not show up in the real-time market and the ERCOT system operators are left scrambling for megawatts knowing that the sun is eventually going to set, and the power demand is still present. Figure 1 | ERCOT Wind/Solar 12x24 Monthly Generation Profiles The graph above illustrates the renewable landscape across ERCOT for the first seven days of August 2023 and the months/years that proceed it.  The shapes on display are associated to the hourly average output by month for wind and solar units across the Lone Star state with each color representing the past three years.  The ... » read more
Monday Aug 7, 2023   
The month of August is considered the heart of the summer months as the third quarter of the calendar year transitions from the front half of the period to the back half.  Warmer temperatures are in the cards across the lower half of the mainland US while the upper half tries to fit in cooler overnight lows to keep the demand at bay.  Down in the Desert Southwest, there is talk about monsoon-like weather where rain moves in, and the daytime highs shift down below the current levels north of 110 degrees. Figure 1 | Phoenix Temperature Forecast/Warning The monsoon conversation continues to take on the theme of mon-Soon to be MORE HEAT in the Desert Southwest as the upcoming forecast is calling for next weekend to move back into the 110-112 degree level as the daytime highs while ... » read more
Friday Aug 4, 2023   
The California Carbon Allowance (CCA) price has been on the rise since the beginning of 2023, where it was averaging just under $30 per allowance. Starting in March 2023, the price level moved up a couple of dollars and held around the $31.50 level all of Q2-2023. By the end of June, the California Carbon daily settle price moved up to $33.26 but it was the month of July that started to tell a story as the month ended with the price shifting up to $36.70, which was a new record.  Records are meant to be broken, in this case it did not take too long as by August 1st, the California carbon prices reached an all-time high of $37.51. Since that time, the daily indice has pulled back some which begs the question of where do we go from here?  The chart in Figure 1 illustrates the ... » read more
Thursday Aug 3, 2023   
With Mid-C having taking back the position as the highest-priced hub in the West this week, the focus is on the Pacific Northwest where a temperatures are on the rise after a relatively mild end to the month of July and where the hydro system is becoming increasingly stretched.  Unlike further South in California, where hydro has continued its strong output essentially uninterrupted since mid-March, the Pacific Northwest hydro system entered the summer with low flows and limited storage.  This has been most pronounced high up in the system in British Columbia, where the two largest reservoirs sit behind Mica and Arrow dams.  Mica has been slow to refill over the past three months and in late June, the decision was made to begin releasing large amounts of water from Arrow ... » read more
Wednesday Aug 2, 2023   
After months of strong power burns during a cold California winter, the script was flipped in May and June. While May 2022 saw average power burns in California at 1.13 BCF, in May 2023 it was 0.17 BCF lower at 0.96 BCF. By June, the year-on-year gap increased to 0.42 BCF on average. Both SoCal gas and PG&E enjoyed the lower burns as storage had been severely depleted over the winter months. Storage caverns were able to greatly lessen their deficit thanks in part to the decrease in burns. A variety of factors influence California power burns, including weather, demand, the strength of the hydro year, and imports on the transmission lines. Another factor for the CAISO grid is the growing battery fleet. In our recent article, titled ‘CAISO Batteries’ Impact on Power ... » read more
Tuesday Aug 1, 2023   
Sunny San Diego, not so much over the past 48 hours as the marine layer moved in off the coastal waters.  Once you moved inland the daytime high of 78 degrees along I-5 quickly dialed things up as there was most definitely a 5-10 degree increase depending on the time of day and humidity was abound everywhere.  I know this, not by living there but visiting over the weekend for a soccer tournament at the Del Mar Polo Ground complex. Figure 1 | Del Mar Polo Grounds Soccer Complex What was also noticeable was the condition of the fields as last year they were hard and quite brown as the region was in a severe drought-like environment.  This year, the tide has definitely changed as the early part of 2023 delivered the highest precipitation volume on record for the past two ... » read more
Monday Jul 31, 2023   
Weather models have taken the CDD count down from coast to coast as the Northeast, Midwest and Midcon show below normal temperatures. Boston and NYC have the CDD count in single digits into next weekend with overnight lows in the low 60's, but beware of building heat coming towards the middle of August for the first two regions mentioned. The coolness that has moved in may be the calm before the storm as it is still only the fifth week of the key summer months. The heat dome in the West is expected to continue as the DSW has no signs of monsoon-like winds yet with daytime highs staying above 110 in Phoenix.   Figure 1 | Forecasted CDD Changes from Friday to Sunday July 30 From a power demand perspective, the coming days will see the Lower 48 net load drop to 500 GWa which is ... » read more
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