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Tuesday Apr 25, 2017   
This week marks the peak of the nuclear refuel outage season across the Lower 48 states. As of today, there are 23 GWs of nuclear generation capacity offline for seasonal maintenance. From this point forward the number of nuclear generating units on outage will start to decrease. From now into the first week of May we expect 11 GWs of capacity to return to the grid.  Figure 1 Nuclear Outages as per the NRC Daily Report as of April 23 The following plants will end their refueling cycles over the next ten days. If you notice, quite a few of those plants will ... » read more
Monday Apr 24, 2017   
When it comes to the hydro situation across the West, there is always something going on worth discussing.  The two areas that have presented themselves this past week are tied to the draft at Grand Coulee and the overall generation profile down in California.  Starting with Grand Coulee, the April Flood Control had the end of month elevation target at 1222 ft., which was verified in the April Flood Control numbers posted earlier in the month. Figure 1 | NWRFC MAF - The Dalles As you can see in the graphs above, the steady climb in MAF (snowpack) ... » read more
Friday Apr 21, 2017   
The last few months have been very interesting in the CAISO as strong hydro in the Pacific Northwest and California coupled with the steadily increasing solar output has caused oversupply and resulting curtailment on the western grid.  Today's newsletter is tied to what is happening in the EIM market as a result. Figure 1 | Renewable Production, Renewable Curtailment, and Flows Figure 1 depicts a typical recent week. Each pane of the graphic represents one day of data with hourly values for each day. The top pane shows CAISO solar production (shaded area) and ... » read more
Thursday Apr 20, 2017   
...For doing maintenance. It is easy to focus on the power plant maintenance each year. The outages are readily available and reported by several entities including the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. What is harder to determine is the level of impact from the maintenance in the gas sector. Pipelines post information hidden in some notice or have it laid out in a format that is not easily accessible from a coding standpoint. They also fail to mention the volumes that will be impacted by the outage and the effects to other upstream and downstream points along the ... » read more
Wednesday Apr 19, 2017   
The skies are begging to clear over Southern California and temperatures are on the rise. Daily highs begin moving higher in the Burbank area this afternoon and are expected to hit 90 degrees by Friday.  Forecasts from Sacramento to San Diego are showing similar upside through then end of the week.   Figure 1 | Burbank Actual Temperatures vs Forecast We have already seen the impact of the sunnier skies in the DA for Wednesday as solar generation increased an additional 1,326 MWa over the HL (putting the peak back over 7,200 MW). The increases in solar ... » read more
Tuesday Apr 18, 2017   
I thought it would be good to take a quick look at what is happening on the ground when it comes to the renewable penetration in California and a water year that is setting new records with the amount of precipitation that has hit the ground (yesterday's newsletter). Figure 1 | CAISO Renewable Growth Over Time As you can see, at the end of 2011, the renewable choice started to add solar generation into the mix and by the end of 2013 it was the rising star (no pun intended).  The conversation started to be around how the hourly profile would impact the middle of ... » read more
Monday Apr 17, 2017   
Back in 1982-83, the world was quite different as a gallon of has was $0.91 while the average household income was $21,500.  A new car was going for just under $8,000 while the yearly inflation rate was 16.6%.  The Dow Jones averaged 1046 while interest rates were 11.5%.  I tell you all this information as it was during that time the state of California was experiencing quite a bit of rain.  In fact, the 1982-83 water year was the wettest on record in Northern California as the Sierra region saw 88.5 inches. Figure 1 | Northern California Sierra ... » read more
Friday Apr 14, 2017   
We enjoy thinking about long term power markets. Regions like ERCOT and CAISO are especially interesting as it is not clear how the high levels of renewables in those markets will play out. Each market has its own unique renewable resources and market rules. The experiment will be played out in the coming years, and it will be interesting to see what happens. One of the cool things about electricity markets is trying to understand the future of one market by taking a look at other electricity markets around the globe that may share similar characteristics. Back in my ... » read more
Thursday Apr 13, 2017   
Vince Lombardi once said, "What the heck is going on around here?" when he was referring to the play of his football team. His voice was stern but had a tone of dismay to what he was seeing.  The Pacific Northwest over the past few weeks could have the same quote with a similar tone. Figure 1 | BPA Wind/Load/Thermal/Net Interchange Values - Hourly Looking at Figure 1, there is a lot to talk about to answer Vince's question.  Let us first take a look at the red line, which represents BPA's power demand (load) within its balancing authority. » read more
Wednesday Apr 12, 2017   
Looking out at the North American power landscape one thing that stands out to us are the exceptionally strong nuclear outages. Starting around April 1st the total outage number began to deviate strongly from 2015 and 2016. Currently, there are over 21 GWs worth of nuclear outages across the US which is roughly 6 GWs above the last two years.  Figure 1 | Total Nuclear Plant Outages vs last 6 years - ConUS MWs Typically, an uptick in nuclear outages translates into stronger power burns as combined cycle units ramp in to pick up the slack, however this is clearly ... » read more
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