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Wednesday Mar 15, 2023   
Recent data released from ERCOT puts operational battery capacity over 2.8 GW yet actual dispatch to the grid remains much lower. The highest discharge for the ERCOT fleet in the last four months didn’t even hit 0.4 GW, let alone 2.4 GW. The figure below shows an average daily profile for the last four months. Note that March only includes the first seven days. On an average day this February peak discharge occurred in both the morning and evening ramps, totaling less than 170 MW for each peak. This March is only slightly higher with the morning peak around 190 MW. To understand this discrepancy between stated capacity and actual dispatch to the grid, we’ll looked at the more developed CAISO battery fleet, apply lessons learned there and estimate when this ... » read more
Tuesday Mar 14, 2023   
There are just a couple of weeks in the winter withdrawal season. Currently the EIA is reporting Lower 48 natural gas inventory at 2 TCF which is .5 TCF higher than this time last year. But that does not tell the whole story. The lack of heating load has left inventory well above normal especially in the South Central and East. Most of the past five months have disappointed as record warmth reduced storage draws to half of what they would historically record. The effect has dragged the NYMEX natural gas pricing down from $7 in November to $2.61 as of yesterday's close. But if you look at the break out in the West it tells an entirely different reality. The West has experienced one of the coldest winters in the past three decades keeping heating load elevated. Combine it with a ... » read more
Monday Mar 13, 2023   
The CAISO day-ahead auction clears continue down the path of widening the NP-SP heavy load spread as the Panoche_230_Gates nomogram displays binding to the tune of over $1,000 at its peak during the midday block of hours. Figure 1 | CAISO Day-Ahead Nomogram Binding Constraints – Hourly The figure above displays the CAISO Day-Ahead nomogram constraints driving the current price action for both the SP15 and the Palo Verde nodes.  The two that stick out as of late is the one mentioned above as it drives a wedge into the SP15 hourly price signal while the other nomogram is that of the Devers_500_Devers_230kV line as it is impacting the early morning ramp period and drifts into the midday.  For Thursday, March 9th 2023, both picked up a head of steam where the only saving ... » read more
Friday Mar 10, 2023   
Author: Andrew Kasius When I was younger, I spent many formative years delivering morning newspapers.  I’d sling that bag over my shoulder, stuff my bike baskets, day in and day out, and head into the dark and cold and deliver the news.  And then, at week’s end, go collecting my route and get my well-earned $1.25!   In retrospect, although this feels like it was Dickensian-esque child labor, I remain partial and loyal to local news providers.   Figure 1| Newspaper Boy with Schwinn Stingray, Banana Seat and Baskets One recent story, local to where I live, caught my eye that I wanted to share with our readers.  On a local level, it’s a significant economic development story and on the regional and national level, it highlights the challenges ... » read more
Thursday Mar 9, 2023   
The state of California is one of the primary pioneers of renewable energy in the United States.  We are used to analyzing and discussing CAISO renewables regularly, but in California our discussions of renewables tend to revolve around solar and wind with a combined penetration level of over one-third (i.e. wind and solar generation accounts for over one-third of all annual load in CAISO), along with the swiftly rising battery storage component of the CAISO supply stack.  This winter the conversation has changed to push another renewable resource in California to the forefront—hydro power.  We delved into each renewable component in our latest Renewable Monthly Newsletter, “February 2023 – East/West Divide”. California and the West experienced a ... » read more
Wednesday Mar 8, 2023   
Punxsutawney Phil is the official groundhog in Pennsylvania, determining whether six more weeks of winter remain, or an early spring is on the way each February. While several other groundhogs on the East Coast have popped up over the years, Phil’s followers claim him as the true predictor for the Northeast despite a less than stellar track record. This year he saw his shadow, meaning six more weeks of winter for the Northeast. The West Coast doesn’t have any groundhogs to rely on for weather forecasting, so Oregon turns to their official state animal: the beaver. Stumptown Fil, also known as Filbert the beaver, made his yearly prediction this Groundhog’s Day at the Oregon Zoo. Rather than using his shadow, Fil picks his favorite stick with a note tied around the top. He ... » read more
Tuesday Mar 7, 2023   
The end of the natural gas withdrawal season is just weeks away and it is likely that the Lower 48 inventory will end neat 1.9 TCF. That is a surplus over last year’s levels of approximately 500 BCF and puts the end of the injection season on the path to 4 TCF which would be one of the highest refill totals over the past 25 years. There have been plenty of factors that has helped the Lower 48 inventory recover from last spring's inventory levels including a very warm winter and natural gas production gains. But none was bigger than the Freeport LNG rupture from last spring where the liquefaction site kept 2 BCF per day in the Gulf Coast region (record high level of inventory at the beginning of March). Under such conditions in the Lower 48, our neighbors to the found themselves not ... » read more
Monday Mar 6, 2023   
SoCal Gas posted the following notice late last week pertaining to the L235 unplanned maintenance issue that showed up a couple of weeks ago. Figure 1 | SoCal Maintenance Notice - L235 As a result of an inline inspection, safety related conditions were identified on Line 235 that necessitated a pressure reduction. Accordingly, on February 16, 2023, the operating capacity of the North Needles Subzone was reduced by 800 MMcf per day, the operating capacity of the North Desert Zone was reduced by 280 MMcf per day, and the operating capacity of the Kramer Junction Subzone was increased by 70 MMcf per day. Validation and remediation activities are ongoing. The preliminary expected completion date of the Line 235 remediation work is March 17, 2023. This preliminary timeline is based on current ... » read more
Friday Mar 3, 2023   
From 2019 to 2022, the ERCOT solar market share grew from 1% to 5.5%, and its impact on ERCOT’s previously nonexistent “duck curve” is starting to become apparent. The duck curve is a phenomenon that’s particularly prominent in CAISO, where solar is in excess of 30% of the market share (this metric includes behind-the-meter). Figure 1 | ERCOT Solar Breakdown - Monthly Looking at the graph above, the top pane represents the 'capacity factor' which takes the monthly average generation and divides it by the cumulative potential capacity that is in play within ERCOT.  The two components mentioned are on display in the second pane with the blue bars tied to the former while the orange line represents the latter. There is definite growth on display starting in the ... » read more
Thursday Mar 2, 2023   
Things are changing quickly for the Pacific Northwest Hydro system, with the signs all pointing to an increasingly dire situation for the month of March and into the spring.  After a mixed experience over the month of February that included very low levels of precipitation in central Oregon and Washington as well as much of southern Idaho but also some much-needed rain and snowfall up in the higher elevations in British Columbia and the Upper Snake, the outlook is dry for the first 10 days of March.  Even with the pockets of strong precipitation high in the system, river flows through the month of February were quite limited, keeping generation quite modest.  The figure below shows precipitation for the month of February in the left-hand pane, while the right-hand pane ... » read more
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