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Wednesday Sep 2, 2020   
The ERCOT market saw a little excitement Monday afternoon as prices jumped over $1,600 during one afternoon hour only to be topped the next with 5-minute prints over $2,000.  This type of action has been few and far between this summer as the solar profile has doubled the capacity on the grid to which most hits right when the grid needs the energy.  The issue that still persists is the shape of the wind generation within the Lone Star state as the middle of the day takes a sharp turn down only to return by the end of the evening ramp.  Figure 1 | ERCOT Wind Hourly Profile by Month The graph above is an illustration of the hourly wind generation by month within ERCOT.  There is a definitely a V shape that goes on within each month with the months of July and August ... » read more
Tuesday Sep 1, 2020   
Driving around yesterday in the suburbs of Cincinnati, the number of "Help Wanted" signs in storefronts across town caught my eye as they were universal across a number of different business including the hardware store, restaurants, sporting goods and even the golf course. I could not help but wonder about the economy recovering from the COVID shock we experienced this past spring. Back in April and May businesses closed as government mandates forced a quarantine. But now just a few months later the anecdotal evidence suggests the economy is back on track and reverting to the tight labor conditions we experienced prior to the epidemic. These things should show up in the natural gas demand tied to the power burns industrial and commercial components of the supply/demand balance. » read more
Monday Aug 31, 2020   
The days/weeks all get co-mingled now that we are in the sixth month of the coronavirus pandemic.  If you are a child, it has been a little confusing over the summer months as the vacation plans were altered and hanging out with friends seems like a rare occurance as social distancing amongst families is still in play.  If you live in Portland, the virus situation as taken a back seat to the ongoing protests in the streets of downtown.  The landscape is a bit bizarre as you can go downtown during the daylight hours and see individuals shopping and walking around like one envisions the downtown area around Pioneer Square.  As the sun is setting, the city centre area is being transformed into the night act of protestors taking over the streets.  The other night I ... » read more
Friday Aug 28, 2020   
The month of August is coming to an end and that usually means fall is in the air, football season has begun and schools are in session.  The only one that seems to be playing out across the country is the fall is in the air component as the weather forecast has several regions cooling off this weekend and holding lower cdd's early next week and once we get to the 11-15 day period the model runs have the Lower 48 below the normal line and well below that of last year. Figure 1 | WSI CDD Daily Forecast - Lower 48 This is typically football weather as the weekend mornings are spent gathering in parking lots or backyards ready to tailgate before entering the stadiums or turning on the television to hear the crowds in the background singing their school song the players run out of the ... » read more
Thursday Aug 27, 2020   
Ill Advised Written by Tim Belden, Energy GPS LLC, August 26, 2020   Portland is a volatile place right now. If you read the news you see scenes of protests and riots. This week, our local utility is in the news – Portland General Electric (PGE) announced that they experienced trading losses and the stock price has lost more than 10% in a few days. In an 8k filing, PGE stated: “… energy trading activity in certain wholesale electricity markets (that) resulted in realized and unrealized losses of $127 million as of August, 24th” “total third quarter losses in the portfolio are estimated to be up to $155 million subject to market conditions – although the ultimate amount of the losses could exceed that amount.” “Certain PGE personnel ... » read more
Wednesday Aug 26, 2020   
There is a lot going on in the marketplace these days as the West is slowly migrating back to normal after a week of high/chaotic prices that saw the Desert Southwest real-time bilateral market get up to $4000/mWh while the Midc limped along at levels that mimiced that of coal units being on the margin.  If you look at the cash markets for today, SP15's bilateral price settled in at $82.33 while Midc was just under $25.00. The $57 spread was $20 higher than what we saw for Tuesday but well below the $104 and $411 spread tied to the heat wave.  As we move into the month of September, the Western market will have its disconnects as fires inside of California continue to rage the forests and hillsides where neighborhoods are being engulfed once again. Figure 1 | West Bilateral ... » read more
Tuesday Aug 25, 2020   
This summer we are seeing a surge in nuclear outages across the Lower 48. Compared to August of last year the NRC outage report is showing an additional 5 GWa off line. Most of these outages are either forced, elective maintenance or retirements as the refuel season typically does not start until after the Labor Day weekend. The change from last year has averaged out to an additional 1 BCF per day of power burn demand month to date but this does not tell the whole story. Total power burns for the Lower 48 are averaging 41 BCF for this month which is just under where we were this time last year. That is a big shift from what we have been experiencing for most of the summer injection season.   Figure 1 | NRC Nuclear Outages for August 24 The Lower 48 power burns have ... » read more
Monday Aug 24, 2020   
Last week was one for the ages as extensive heat moved through the entire West with the coastal cities in California reaching triple digits while the Desert Southwest was over 115 degrees for the entire period.  Such heat was something that the grid has seen in prior years but this year tallied blackouts on a Friday and Saturday evening inside PGAE's system, a chaotic bilateral market as the CAISO made the decision to cut exports to surrounding balancing authorities and wildfires raged across the state.  Each one had its own dialogue and conversation that will eventually have a chapter in the book written about the California Deregulated Market. Our latest Newsletter Article titled 'The Book's Next Chapter', takes a deeper dive into the key moving parts that led up to the ... » read more
Friday Aug 21, 2020   
This week EGPS has written extensively about the situation in California over the past week, as CAISO has seen everything from rolling blackouts and curtailed exports to energy prices exceeding $1000 amid the summer heat spell that has smothered  the entire West.  Looking at the acrobatics the CAISO has been performing to try to stay on top of their demand for power makes me think of circus performers like in Cirque du Soleil, which I would have gone to see earlier this month here in Portland, if their 2020 summer shows hadn’t been canceled due to COVID-19. Figure 1 | Picture from Cirque Du Soleil: Volta Image Source: The EIM is a key component of CAISO’s “balancing act”, easing the ability of members to find a home ... » read more
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
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