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Thursday May 21, 2015   
With Memorial Day weekend upon us and the end of May right around the corner, it is time to take a look at how the Pacific Northwest water year is playing out and what are the key elements to keep an eye on as we head into June. Let us start with the lastest ESP runs.  Over the past two weeks, the overall MAF for the Apr-Jul time period for The Dalles (TDA) has dropped another MAF. This puts the total MAF at 55.0 or 69% of normal. Figure 1 | NWRFC ESP Apr-Jul - The Dalles As you can see in the graph, the most recent runs have been in a pretty tight band. » read more
Wednesday May 20, 2015   
US natural gas exports to Mexico have grown rapidly, more than doubling between 2009 and 2013. This year, the combination of weak US prices and steadily rising Mexico demand, has pushed exports up compared to last year. As you can see in the graph below, southbound flows have averaged over 1/2 bcf/d higher year on year. Figure 1 | US to Mexico Exports The rise in the flow south has come from the Desert Southwest (DSW) and Texas. Starting with the former, the DSW exports have increased thanks to less demand from Cali (with storage there much more full then ... » read more
Tuesday May 19, 2015   
35 years ago yesterday, the Pacific Northwest was blanketed in ash dust as Mt. St. Helens erupted.  Fast forward to this year and as you drive home in Portland, the blue skies to the North have this flat mountain staring you in the eye with little snowpack remaining due to the abnormal warm winter weather we have seen as a high ridge parked itself off the Pacific Ocean most of the winter and spring season. This did not stop the hydro system from making a push yesterday as the overall 24 hour generation on the system jumped up to 13,500 MWa, which was up over ... » read more
Monday May 18, 2015   
Over the past two weeks, the Technical Management Team (TMT) meetings have been exciting to say the least as the one on May 5th concluded to bring the flows down from the 180 Kcfs level to the 165 Kcfs level at McNary (MCN).  The fish agencies agreed to it in the meeting, but you could sense that all eyes were going to be on the fish and their actual number count as they make their way downstream.  From system operation standpoint, this decision made sense for reliability on the grid as the current water year's MAF continued to shift down.  For ... » read more
Friday May 15, 2015   
Summer AC season is rapidly approaching. During the summer, warmer weather across the country drives up power demand as more people turn on AC units to cope with the hotter temperatures. One tool for  tracking the likelihood of heat waves is the NOAA forecast maps. These maps are produced daily by NOAA and show the probability of above or below normal temperatures, with the higher probability of above or below normal temperatures typically correlating with a greater divergence from normal. For example, if the maps show a very high probability of colder than ... » read more
Thursday May 14, 2015   
Earlier this week, the EIA released the latest Drilling Productivity Report (DPR). This report uses drilling rig data coupled with estimates of well productivity and estimated decline rates to forecast the production of oil and natural gas for the next month. The report focuses on the shale formations (Bakken, Eagle Ford, Haynesville, Marcellus, Niobara, Permian and Utica) which collectively produce a total of about 46.3 bcf/d of natural gas. The Permian, Eagle Ford, and Haynesville are located mostly in Texas while the Bakken and Niobara shale plays are in the ... » read more
Wednesday May 13, 2015   
Today's market results showed a pretty good drop in the Path 15 congestion.  Over the past few weeks, such a binding constraint has driven up the NP15 price while knocking down the SP15 price.  Most of the action has showed up during the middle of the day when load is moderate, there is plenty of sunshine (solar) and less moving down on the Paci intertie due to Midc being stronger than what it was at the end of April.   For example, yesterday's Path 15 congestion for today averaged $10.36 for the heavy load with the middle of the day hours (13-17) ... » read more
Tuesday May 12, 2015   
Last week, the CAISO released the annual Summer Loads & Resources Assessment (SLRA). This report details how prepared the CAISO grid is for the upcoming summer from a reliability perspective when warmer weather will push peak loads over 50% higher than current levels. In order to assess preparedness, the CAISO forecasts expected peak load for both the 1:2 (one out of every two years will be greater) and 1:10 (one out of every ten years will be greater) cases. In addition, the CAISO reports on capacity additions and retirements, imports, and expected ... » read more
Monday May 11, 2015   
As we move into the middle of May, this month has created some interesting movement in the overall supply stack. Mother nature has played a roll as this year's hydro numbers are roughly 7,000 MWa less than a typical May month. Figure 1 | PNW Daily Hydro - Year on Year Comparison As you can see in the graph, this year is under the 5 year band (shaded gray area).  Over the weekend, flows pulled back even more to where the total generation on the grid averaged 10,400 MW across the 24 hour period.  This is similar to the average output we saw last September ... » read more
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