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Friday Oct 22, 2021   
Earlier this week, we wrote about the uptick in CAISO curtailments, particularly for solar. For most of 2021, curtailments have been in line with or even somewhat below curtailments for 2020, and until recently the total volume of curtailments was comfortably below the total volume this time last year. However, starting around the 9th of October, there was a noteworthy sharp uptick that has brought total curtailments rapidly up to 2020 levels: Figure 1: Cumulative Curtailments in the CAISO This image shows total cumulative curtailments in the CAISO for 2018-present (both solar and wind are included). Until very recently, the blue line for 2021 tracked with or slightly under the yellow line for 2020. Most of the recent, rapid increase is driven by solar curtailments.   Figure 2 ... » read more
Thursday Oct 21, 2021   
Any subscribers to our Platinum Renewables package who have been keeping and eye on the CAISO Daily Battery Dashboard may have noticed something strange lately. On that dashboard, we report the revenue opportunity that would be available to a 4-hour battery across several different markets:  Figure 1 | SP15 Battery Revenue Streams - Real Time/Day Ahead/Regulation This chart puts revenue from energy and ancillary markets in common units ($/kW-mn), so they can be compared to each other and to capital costs of future batteries more easily. Historically, there has been 3-4 times as much revenue potential in the regulation markets as there is in energy markets, but it seems like every time the dashboard refreshes that gap has shrunk a little bit further in SP15. The ... » read more
Wednesday Oct 20, 2021   
Here at EGPS, we keep a hawk’s eye on the Alberta power market because – even though it is shoulder season – AESO prices still exhibit wild volatility with only moment’s notice.  This October has been no exception.  On several occasions this month-to-date, hourly prices have moved in increments as large as $250.  While the forecast for major line-item fundamentals in the second half of the month seemed to indicate market conditions would mellow out, confounding factors have emerged that will keep the AESO on its toes. October is typically a volatile month.  Loads in October can be highly variable as the market can fluctuate between cooling- and heating-degree days within the span of just a few days.  At the same time, wind generation tends ... » read more
Tuesday Oct 19, 2021   
It has been the story since early spring that the North American natural gas market has been in the biggest bull market seen in the past ten years. Continuous contract prices ran up from $2.46 to  $6.31 in just six months. But a good portion of the bullish perception was based on the expectation of a normal winter. Under that scenario the heating load across the continent would cause an early draw down of inventory prior to the peak of HDDs in January. The experience of last February also remained fresh in the minds of the market as many of the structural balancing issues in Texas and Oklahoma have not been remedied. But now winter is just two weeks away and as short term weather models start to roll out heating degree day forecasts there is consensus that the record warm October is ... » read more
Monday Oct 18, 2021   
Last week’s special article, titled ‘CAISO Curtailment Components’, took a deep-dive into the CAISO renewable curtailments as the past couple of weeks have presented scenarios where the system operators need to shed localized generation as certain nomogram constraints are in play and the morning and middle of the day have no other outlets thus solar megawatts are the only solution when it comes to balancing the grid in real-time. Figure 1 | CAISO Solar and Wind Supply/Curtailments – Hourly The figure above displays the potential volume of energy for both solar and wind within the CAISO footprint over the past week with the x-axis representing the hours within a day while the y-axis is the MWh volume tied to each resource.  The gray colored bars is the actual ... » read more
Friday Oct 15, 2021   
In CAISO, what was already a meager hydro output during the summer has scaled back even further over the first half of October.  Flat Hydro generation has averaged 1.3 GW over the past two weeks, down from 1.7 GW over the month of September.  Interestingly, almost all of the reduced output has come during heavy load hour hours—during the peak evening ramp hours, in particular.  The figure below shows average hourly hydro generation in CAISO by month, which each year going back to 2015 having its own colored line.  The thick brown line represents the generation during the current year.  The profile went from being stretched out to the limit during the summer months to a much more compressed shape in October.  The bottom of the profile is unchanged from ... » read more
Thursday Oct 14, 2021   
It is hard to imagine the life that we once led just over two years ago.  The fall season was filled with consumption tied to Halloween as children and adults alike tried to figure out what costume they were going to be wearing to the party or out and about as they obtained handfuls of candy.  Once the end of October transitioned to November, the talk was all about Thanksgiving and who was going to be joining each household for the big dinner and conversations.  In our household, we had a routine of getting together with another family we have known for years but with the busy daily schedules could only muster getting together for the feast mentioned above.  The topic of going out on Black Friday always came up with everyone never really understanding the passion ... » read more
Wednesday Oct 13, 2021   
Sumas cash prices are on the march to reclaim its spot as the top priced western gas hub.  While this is typical for this time of year, a confluence of unique factors threaten to make this year’s run more outstanding than years past. Sumas spot cash gas prices typically spend the summers on a vacation of sorts as the pleasant summertime climates of the region give gas demand a reprieve.  Gas in the summertime does get consumed for power generation, but load levels tend to be lower than hotter climes, and the PNW’s fairly diversified power portfolio can often distribute loads across a variety of sources beyond gas.  This summer’s Sumas relationship to other hubs was not much different, though it was somewhat notable given PNW power loads were amongst the ... » read more
Tuesday Oct 12, 2021   
One of the pitfalls of forecasting natural gas supply and demand balances is assuming weather will be normal. It is a luxury that the forecaster gets to look out on a forward natural gas curve and assume a regressed demand level to the historical daily average degree day. Even if there is a bias towards global warming the question always falls back to what happens under normal circumstances. What is normal hardly ever gets challenged as it is too easy to just rely on a historical average even though it is recognized as the biggest driver of energy consumption. Figure 1 | Daily Lower 48 HDDs - Average, Actual and Forecast But over the past two decades it has largely been an error to not assume some level of global warming in the degree day equation. Those who have avoided this mistake ... » read more
Monday Oct 11, 2021   
Everyone is familiar with the acronym “www” as it stands for the worldwide web and infamous with every url that has been created over the past three decades as the internet is alive and well.  This past weekend, I had the honor of driving from Portland, OR to Walla Walla, where the path takes you down I-84 through the Columbia River Gorge Scenic region and the high desert landscape along the Columbia River.  The transition from the former to the latter in a prior lifetime was apparent by the diminishing tree lines and greenery giving way to the brown rock formations along the banks.  Since the early 2000’s, the other element that is on display to distinguish between the two regions along the drive are the wind farms that sit on both the Oregon and ... » read more
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