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Wednesday Sep 28, 2022   
‘Tis the Season’ is typically heard around the end of the year as families gather and exchange gifts, sit around the dinner table and tell stories while sitting around a fire.  In the electricity environment, we can use the slogan when describing the start of the SPP curtailment season, which has move up over the years. Figure 1 | SPP Cumulative Curtailment Volume – Year on Year Comparison The movement is on display in the figure above as each line represents the cumulative renewable curtailed volume by year starting in 2018.  As you move up the calendar to the current year, the SPP system is having a hard time placing the renewable megawatts to that of power demand; hence curtailments exist. Take for example, 2018 and 2019 was as flat of a line as there can ... » read more
Tuesday Sep 27, 2022   
On September 20th the Texas Eastern Pipeline suffered an outage at its Colerain segment in Eastern Ohio. In the EBB posting there was no reason posted for the capacity cut and TETCO indicated that the pipe would be back in service near the 28th of the month. The loss of this pipeline segment forces volumes shipped out of the region back into the Appalachias. Both TETCO and NEXUS Pipelines were forced to either cut production or back up pipeline volumes flooding storage or available space on other pipelines.  Figure 1 | Current NEXUS Pipeline Nominations   Immediately when the outage was posted the basis differentials to the Henry Hub started to diverge. Dominion South cash basis prices were settling near minus $1.00 prior to the force majeure. Afterwards due to the ... » read more
Monday Sep 26, 2022   
As the heat moves through the Western region this week, it will be quite different than a couple of weeks ago when the California grid was at the brink of its supply output.  A couple of reasons behind the comfort of the CAISO and utilities in the Pacific Northwest is the simple fact that the overnight low temperatures are acting as a natural air conditioner with highs in the upper 50’s/low 60’s in many key regions.  The second element is tied to the fact that there is enough renewable output on display with the battery fleet leading the charge while wind/solar are supportive.  The final piece is the simple fact that the Pacific Northwest Water Year is still paying off as entities still find a way for providing flexibility to the hourly profile. Figure 1 | CAISO ... » read more
Friday Sep 23, 2022   
We’ve discussed this concept in blogs before, but one approach that we frequently take to thinking about prices in ERCOT is to break them down into “buckets” based on implied heat rate. We look at the ratio of power price to gas price in any given interval, and decide whether that interval was experiencing scarcity, oversupply, or neither. This blog from a little over a month ago explored the “normal” hours, and discussed how even though prices in ERCOT this past summer have been volatile and spiky, the normal hours continue to behave, well, normally.   This time, we’re looking at the oversupply hours. We’ll use North Hub real time prices, and we’ll define an “oversupplied” hour as one where the implied heat rate is less ... » read more
Thursday Sep 22, 2022   
Over the past week SPP appears to have hit an inflection point when it comes to seasonal renewable energy.  The last two years the month of September has seen a point at which the rate of oversupply of renewable energy becomes much more common and the rate of wind curtailments increases.  SPP reached this point in the last week, which can be seen in the figure below, which plots a running total for annual SPP wind curtailments each year going back to 2019.  The yellow (2021) and purple (2020) lines for the past two years both suddenly increased in slope partway through the month of September and the brown line for this year shows an even more dramatic kink as the MW have been curtailed freely over the past few days. Figure 1 | Annual Cumulative SPP Wind Curtailments Part ... » read more
Wednesday Sep 21, 2022   
Power prices at the end of the summer in Alberta have been reaching record levels. In the last several years, power prices have averaged under $100/MWh, and if you go back to the mid-2010s, prices were much more likely to be under $30/MWh. This summer is a completely different story with daily average prices peaking over $750/MWh in the last week as AESO struggles to meet demand without prices skyrocketing for at least a few hours each day. With average prices in August and September in 2021 over $200/MWh and over $250/MWh in 2022, we explored the changes in the AESO grid and discussed whether the trend will continue in upcoming summers in an article titled ‘Alberta Supply Struggles to Meet Load Growth’. Read on for a sneak peek. Figure 1 | Alberta Daily Average Power Prices ... » read more
Tuesday Sep 20, 2022   
Last week we discussed the ongoing issue of the EIA East storage inventory deficit heading into the last weeks of the injection season. This has been an ongoing problem for most of the summer exacerbated by the record high power burns throughout the Midwest and East as well as the lack of production growth in the Marcellus Basin. Currently the EIA East storage inventory is at 661 BCF which is a 67 BCF deficit to last year and a 98 BCF below the five year average. The problem is that there are few avenues to closing the inventory issue and it is likely the EIA East will enter into the heating season at a five year low facing record breaking power generation demand.  Figure 1 | EIA East Storage Inventory for 2018 - 2022 One of the levers the East balancing can pull to ... » read more
Monday Sep 19, 2022   
Demand in California hit record levels this September. EnergyGPS covered this heat event extensively, including a report released right after the event on the role batteries played. The strong showing from batteries was the saving grace for CAISO during the evening ramp. With their grid heavily relying on intermittent renewables, CAISO depends on batteries to meet demand during busy hours when the sun has set. As the renewable goals of the state intensify at the same time load expands with hotter weather and structural growth, the importance of the growing battery fleet is only increasing. Read on for a sneak peak of 'CAISO Battery Performance During High Price Event(s)’, where we looked at how batteries performed during the high-stakes test of the heat event and discussed the ... » read more
Friday Sep 16, 2022   
Game On! Long-time readers of this blog may have noticed that I haven’t written about the annual Aluminum Man competition in a couple of years. Aluminum Man is a decathlon of leisure sports held once per year somewhere in Oregon. Yours truly, Tim Belden, is the Aluminum Man Commissioner (yes, a capital “C”). Our last competition was in June 2019. COVID kept us off the playing field in 2020 and 2021. It felt great to get back in the game again. The only energy-related content in this blog will be the names and scores of four people from “the biz” who participated in the competition. I’ll give a rundown of the games and results. This year’s event was held in Portland on September 10th. Let’s start with the basics. The event is called ... » read more
Thursday Sep 15, 2022   
SPP is in for a wild ride over the next few days as the wind generation numbers are substantially higher than what the grid has seen over the past couple of months.  To give you a perspective of the magnitude of change we are talking about, the first couple of weeks of September 2022 have averaged roughly 4.3 GW across the 24-hour daily strip whereas the current level just topped double digits with a pathway to just over 19.0 GWa for the same 24-hour period.  Such a move cannot be compensated by an uptick in the overall demand thus we are looking at lower net load numbers as we move through the weekend and into early next week. Figure 1 | SPP Net Load Daily Averages – Year on Year Comparison The graph above illustrates the change that is occurring as the lines represent ... » read more
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