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Thursday Mar 2, 2017   
A couple of weeks back, we wrote about Oroville Dam and its situation of being at full capacity and Mother Nature sending more water its way in the form of rain. This was going to lead to the system operators spilling as much water as they could down the current working spillway.  Unannounced to the any, Mother Nature was also busy moving the earth below the dam's hillside and area that contained the spillway.  As a result of all this water and land movement, the spillway started to crack as a big sinkhole opened up about 1/2 the way down the concrete ... » read more
Wednesday Mar 1, 2017   
With March Madness right around the corner (College Basketball's National Championship Tournament), I could not help but think of the final song  they play where all the big highlights of the NCAA basketball tournament are shown with the singing of 'One Shining Moment' in the background.  If you do not know what I am talking about it would be worth a couple of minutes to watch the youtube of the 2015 tournament (Wisconsin Badgers lost to the Duke Blue Devils). Back in 1986, composer David Barrett sat in a bar in East Lansing and wrote then entire song ... » read more
Tuesday Feb 28, 2017   
TransCanada Pipeline Corporation is one of the largest pipeline companies in the world. Starting as a infrastructure company in 1951, their first big asset was the construction and operation of the Canadain Mainline that runs from the gas production fields in the Alberta Foothills eastward to Quebec. It is one of the longest natural gas pipelines in the world. It has been the main source of supply for Eastern Canada for more than 50 years. But in the past ten years their market share for natural gas use across North America has shrunk with the production developments ... » read more
Monday Feb 27, 2017   
When I first started in the energy business, I did not know the terminology as I was a high math teacher who went into the business world as an IT support/help desk staffer.  Once I worked my way up through the ranks as an analyst for the cash desk, my head was spinning as I had more questions than answers.  I remember one of the questions I asked the term trader one day, "what is the different between the heavy load and light load numbers?"  I thought it was a fare question at the time, but he just looked at me and started laughing with the ... » read more
Friday Feb 24, 2017   
Dipnet fishing at Celilo Falls in the 1950’s, just upstream of The Dalles Dam. 2,320 Miles: Length of the Mississippi1450 Miles: Length of Colorado River744 Miles: Length of the St Lawrence River1243 Miles: Length of Columbia River 593 kcfs: Average flow of Mississippi22.5 kcfs: Average flow of Colorado River590 kcfs: Average flow of St Lawrence River265 kcfs: Average flow of Columbia River Largest Dams in the United States:6,809 MW: Grand Coulee Dam (Columbia)2,620 MW: Chief Joseph Dam (Columbia)2,515 MW: Robert Moses Niagara Power Plant (Niagara)2,160 MW ... » read more
Thursday Feb 23, 2017   
Yesterday’s newsletter discussed the announced closure of the Navajo Generating Station in Arizona. Today we discuss a report that advocates for the closure of the Columbia Generating Station nuclear facility located near Richland, Washington. With the Navajo plant, the project owners are opting to close it down, while the Columbia Generating Station owners want to keep operating it and a group that I was not heretofore familiar with – Physicians for Social Responsibility – would like to close it down. Let’s start with a little background ... » read more
Wednesday Feb 22, 2017   
 Figure 1 | Navajo Power Plant In the last week we’ve seen news articles related to two major power generating stations in the west come across our screens. One relates to the Columbia Generating Station, a nuclear power facility on the Columbia River. The other relates to the Navajo Generating Station, a coal power facility located near Lake Powell in Page, Arizona. Both of these power plants are under economic pressure because the forward-looking costs to operate them exceed expected market prices. A combination of factors are expected to continue to put ... » read more
Tuesday Feb 21, 2017   
Those of us who live in the Pacific Northwest try to find every excuse around this time of year to head down to the Southern part of California for a little sunshine and warmer weather.  That is not the case this year as California continues to get hit with massive storms across the entire state.  For example, a friend of mine was flying to Los Angeles for the long weekend to spend some time with friends in and around Long Beach.  I got a text from him on Friday night stating his flight was delayed by 3:30 out of Portland due to the heavy showers ... » read more
Friday Feb 17, 2017   
I have always been intrigued by the phrase “Smart Grid.” It is one of those buzz phrases that people use that could mean almost anything. Simply Googling the phrase brings up a number of definitions. Here are two: “an electricity supply network that uses digital communications technology to detect and react to local changes in usage.” or “Smart grid generally refers to a class of technology people are using to bring utility electricity delivery systems into the 21st century, using computer-based remote control and automation.” No ... » read more
Thursday Feb 16, 2017   
With the flows shifting up over the weekend and into the early part of this week, we started to see some lack of market/lack of turbine capacity spill at several of the dams along the Lower Columbia and Snake River basins.  All four of the dams on the Lower Columbia showed spill for the purposes of lack of turbine capacity.  Figure 1 | Lower Columbia Flows and Spill - Hourly This was confirmed on yesterday's TMT call at the very end of the meeting.  The spill was not due to lack of market as the price in the market was still attractive to a ... » read more
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