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Thursday Aug 20, 2020   
I find myself scouring the website during the peak evening ramp hours to see how California is faring when it comes to balancing their system as this week will be looked back upon by economists, academic professors and the CAISO itself to make sense of how we got here, what does it mean for the near term and how will situations like this be handled in the future.  This blog is not going to go into all that but it does give you a flavor of how things are playing out.  If you sit in the California Heartland, you are working through a period of time where localized blackouts were enforced last Friday and a govenor's call for every resident to do their part by conserving the energy that was seemed to be abundant. Figure 1 | Pre-Summer CAISO Notification I went back to the archives ... » read more
Wednesday Aug 19, 2020   
It goes without saying that the Western markets have been nothing less than dull the past week or so as we have come across rolling blackouts, day-ahead exports getting cut and now the congestion between that of SP15 and NP15 was almost entirely eliminated for today's flow date.  That does not mean we should forget about what is happening on the ground level as the system operators are watching the big screens minute by minute/second by second in the bunker in/around Folsom, CA.  It is a stressfull time for many as balancing the electrical grid is never easy and with many new balancing authorities integrated via the Energy Imbalance Market (EIM).  It is an interesting puzzle that relies on several moving parts throughout the day let alone within each hour. If you ... » read more
Tuesday Aug 18, 2020   
In yesterday morning's newsletter we touched on the California power market. Today we will move over to the gas markets.  The record breaking heat has made the headlines all over the country after Death Valley posted a daytime high of 131 degrees Fahrenheit yesterday. The high temperatures have pushed the CAISO on peak load average to 50 GWa for today which smashes last year's peak load by over 6 GWa. Demand is not the only item setting records. The CAISO SP15 auction price pushed up to $667 for today's delivery which is a level not seen since the California Energy Crisis some 21 years ago.  There are rolling brown outs throughout the state as the capacity on the grid is stretched thin.  Figure 1 | CAISO SP15/SoCal CG Heat Rates for Q3 2017 - 2020 Gas demand is also at ... » read more
Monday Aug 17, 2020   
CAISO’s reliability took a turn for the worse on Friday August 15 and Saturday August 16.  High heat and high loads (approaching 47 GW) lead CAISO to initiate Stage 2 (S2) and Stage 3 (S3) emergencies on both Friday 8/14 and Saturday 8/15.  Stage 2 events represent physical scarcity of reserve margins and lead to initiation of demand response programs.  Stage 3 leads to involuntary load curtailments--i.e. rolling blackouts.  California's first in 19 years.  Figure 1 shows price patterns on Friday as the staged emergencies came and went.  At the outset it is notable that CAISO's markets saw scarcity a comin' since day ahead (DA) prices were very strong in these intervals, averaging $620/MWh for the period 18:00-21:59.   In Figure 1 ... » read more
Friday Aug 14, 2020   
The National Basketball Association is ending the first phase of their 'bubble' season as the 8-game regular season finished yesterday with the final day presenting a situation that they wanted.  The final four games on the schedule has a team vying for the 8th/9th spot in the Western Conference with our Portland Trailblazers holding the final time so they would fully understand the implications of their game and standing amongst the four.  Prior to any tip-off, the Blazers knew if they won they would lock in the 8th seed, but knowing how the others did would dictate what a loss meant.  For the Memphis Grizzlies, they came into the bubble holding a 3.5 game lead on the Blazers for the 8th spot but squandered it over the past three weeks.  The Phoenix Suns are the ... » read more
Thursday Aug 13, 2020   
Trypanophobia is the extreme fear of medical procedures involving injections or hypodermic needles.  It is common for young children as their skin is sensitive to being pricked by a sharp object.  As adults, we have a bit of a higher tolerance for the quick sharp pain the prick causes at the doctor's office.  I remember stories at the dinner table as a kid where my mother would tell us stories of her day as a nurse.  The conversation turned interesting when she turned the conversation on my father and his fear of such needles to this day.  She had stories of when they started dating and he was in stationed overseas as he was in the Air Force.  When it was time for his annual shots, he would try to get out of it but at the end of the day he had to go and there ... » read more
Wednesday Aug 12, 2020   
The NBA and MLS bubble concepts and deliverables went beyond expectations if you are a Portland sports fan as the Trailblazers (NBA) are fighting for the 8th/9th play-in seeds that have four teams battling day-in and day-out.  With two games left in the 'season' games, Portland found themselves in a win-out and get in situation, which meant that the game against the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday put everyone on high alert.  If you wanted the game or read about it afterwards, it was a game that would go down as one of the most impressive individual performances of the year if not over the past 5-10 years as Damian Lillard ended up scoring 61 points with 24 points in the fourth quarter alone.  What is most impressive with this performance is that two games ago, Damian missed ... » read more
Tuesday Aug 11, 2020   
Year on year the Lower 48 natural gas production is off from 93 to 87 BCF. Almost all of that is due to due to declines in associated gas production from the crude basins in Permian, the Rockies and Bakken. As of recent we are starting to see a bounce in some of those fields. This is being driven by a recent spike in the WTI price back in July. Since the first of the month several producing basins are showing more natural gas volumes get pushed onto the pipelines. North Dakota has seen a 13% gain in production in just the first week of August. Oklahoma natural gas has also piled on a 28% gain in volumes. Unless we get another catastrophic price collapse the crude and associated gas production should continue to rise. This is forcing the market to adjsut their production expectations ... » read more
Monday Aug 10, 2020   
Over the weekend, we saw temperatures start to rise as the next mini-heat wave is moving through the Lower 48.  Such a weather event would usually fill up the bleacher seats at Wrigley Field or pack Yankee Stadium to catch a game where the players in pinstripes takes on their arch rivals the Boston Red Sox.  With the pandemic still looming large across the country, the stadiums are filled with cardboard images of fans in behind home plate, sounds of the game are pumped into the stadium so players feel like they have support if they are the home team and a competitive advantage over their opponent.  Baseball has a lot of eyes on it as it has chosen to keep stadiums across the country as their respective playing fields unlike the NBA and MLS who have chosen the 'Bubble' ... » read more
Friday Aug 7, 2020   
We have the Major League Soccer (MLS) finalizing its welcome back tournament as the match for all the marbles will be early next week when 'our' Portland Timbers take on the hometown team of Orlando City who just beat Minnesota in a decesive 3-1 victory in the semi-finals.  Over in the National Basketball Association (NBA), we also have an Orlando bubble tournament/schedule going on with many of the playoff seeds already locked in so the major excitement is tied to the 8th spot in the Western Conference as Memphis entered the bubble with a 3.5 game lead over 'the' Portland Blazers.  After four games, the lead has dwindle to .5 games as Portland beat Denver putting it's record at 3-1 with four games remaining.  Once of the wins was against Memphis who has fallen on hard ... » read more
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