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Thursday Aug 12, 2021   
The Pacific Northwest is starting another heat wave as temperatures in Portland reached 101 degrees late Wednesday afternoon and Thursday is expected to top 106 degrees.  Seattle is not as hot but anything above 95 degrees is sweltering to a region that stated back in June that 33% of the households had air conditioning.  That percentage might have moved up ever so slightly since the record breaking heat event earlier in the year so they can cool off this go around. Inland, we have Spokane and Boise back above the century mark, which is breaking newly found records as their summer is the hottest on record in the recent era.  The bottom line is that Mother Nature is not letting up on the gas pedal when it comes to the Pacific Northwest as the temperatures are expected to ... » read more
Wednesday Aug 11, 2021   
In Exelon’s most recent earnings call they confirmed they are pushing ahead with retiring two major nuclear facilities starting next month.  The news is noteworthy for the nature of the retirements: the loss of highly utilized baseload power. Between now and the end of the year, the volume of new nameplate capacity to be introduced to the U.S. power market will be more than three times greater the amount of nameplate capacity to be retired in that time. However, the different nature of the retiring capacity versus new capacity makes the net delta tighter than it would appear by simply looking at nameplate alone. In essence: the market will be retiring capacity that tends to run more consistently and at higher utilization rates, while the new additions will be heavily weighted ... » read more
Tuesday Aug 10, 2021   
California is in the middle of its biggest drought in history. But this issue was not borne from just poor snowfall from last winter. It is a problem that has been decades in the making. The population has swelled and little to no infrastructure has been added to accommodate the jump in usage. After what was a record snowfall in 2019 filling all reservoirs to capacity, it only took two consecutive years of poor snowpack in order to flip the problem in the other direction. The state is now scrambling to repurpose water deemed for agriculture use over to the general population as there is now a fear that the problem can persist into next year or beyond. With no other sources of water the supply is almost entirely reliant on the weather.  Figure 1 | Northern California Snow Water ... » read more
Monday Aug 9, 2021   
As part of the EnergyGPS Newsletter Platinum Renewable Package, the CAISO and ERCOT power markets are the frontrunners when it comes to analyzing the technology that is changing the supply stack.  The former has its Renewable Procurement Standard (RPS) that was implemented over a decade ago while the latter has utilized an economic signal to market its renewable growth.  Both have endured some hardships over the past year as CAISO is coming up on the one year anniversary of its first energy related rolling blackouts in two decades while ERCOT has been tethered to the February 'Freeze-Off' that has had ripple affects throughout the state where consumers, suppliers and energy providers continue to dig themselves out of the hole that was created.  Focusing in on ERCOT,  ... » read more
Friday Aug 6, 2021   
As the battery fleet in the CAISO continues to build out, it is fun seeing how the dispatch of the fleet changes. I happened to be looking at one of the Energy GPS battery dashboards this morning and the image below grabbed my attention. Figure 1 | CAISO Hourly Battery Dispatch Last 14 Days Two things stand out from this graph. The first is obvious, the battery activity in CAISO this years (orange line) is massive compared to 2020 (blue line). Part of this stems from higher installed capacity, where there were several hundred MW installed in 2020 and about 2,000 MW installed today. The maximum average fleet output exceeds 1,000 MW on many days. To put this into context, had this number of batteries been on-line in the summer of 2020, CAISO may have avoided some of the blackouts. The ... » read more
Thursday Aug 5, 2021   
As we move into the latter half of gas storage injection season, most western markets are sitting on inventories at or above normal levels, with the notable exception of Alberta's AECO market.  SoCal started the injection season with inventories at five-year highs.  From mid-June to mid-July, though, inventories fell below year-ago levels as heat-driven demand rose.  We discussed in a series of flashes such as here and here explaining that more power demand had to be met from sources within the SoCal region due to wildfires in Oregon cutting the ability to import megawatts from the north.  As the lines were restored and SoCal temperatures and demand eased, the past week has seen a reversion to year-on-year surplus.  SoCal inventory builds tend to slow (or even ... » read more
Wednesday Aug 4, 2021   
By Steve Edburg and Tim Belden There was big market design news in the Pacific Northwest this week. BPA issued its “Draft EIM Close-out Letter”. In this letter BPA laid out the rationale for joining the EIM. “At this point, I am proposing that Bonneville joins the EIM in March 2022” states current BPA Administrator John Hairston. While this was the expected outcome, I still have to pinch myself when I think that in less than a year BPA will participate in a (slimmed down version of a) centralized market in the WECC. In classic BPA form, they are joining more than 7 years after Pacificorp made its move in 2014. At this point, it is unclear just how much BPA will participate and what impact its participation may have. Of utmost importance will be the volume of ... » read more
Tuesday Aug 3, 2021   
Late last week Enbridge was given permission by the Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), a group within the Department of Transportation, to operate the Texas Eastern Transmission pipeline at full capacity. This is now the light at the end of the tunnel for the beleaguered pipeline which has seen four ruptures since 2017. In the wake of the last rupture in May of 2020, the PHMSA issued a Corrective Action Order limiting the operation of the pipeline until the repair and full inspection of the pipeline could be completed. It took over a year but not the pipe has been given a clean bill of health. That should allow TETCO to increase flows from the Marcellus production basin down to the Gulf at 2.4 BCF per day. That is 1 BCF per day higher than current ... » read more
Monday Aug 2, 2021   
ERCOT is becoming the melting pot of renewable technology as wind is the anchor tenant while solar generation is making its way to the forefront of the conversation as it matches up well with the hourly peak power demand profile that is represented on the grid.  The final piece to the ERCOT puzzle is being formed as we speak, it is no other than the battery technology.  The path being taken by ERCOT is a bit different than that of California as there is no mandated renewable volume quota being driven by policy, it is more like a standard economic market structure where sending a price signal warrants new build and in the case of ERCOT it has been in the renewable space. Figure 1 | ERCOT Solar Capacity and Generation - Monthly Breakdown From a price and net load standpoint, the ... » read more
Friday Jul 30, 2021   
As we enter the final days of July, the CAISO hydro system is providing the grid with only 1.5 GW as a flat average.  This is 1 GW less than during July in the previous year—which was already lower than the previous several years by 1 to 2.5 GW.  Figure 1 illustrates the differences in generation over time by plotting the average hydro generation in each hour of the day by month.  Hydro is separated into the CAISO categories of “small hydro” and “hydro” in the first two panes, while the bottom pane shows the combined total for all hydro in the system.  Each curve shows a typical generation profile for each year, with differently shaded lines for 2019, 2020, and 2021. Figure 1 | CAISO Small Hydro, Hydro, and Total Hydro Average Hourly ... » read more
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