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Monday May 1, 2017   
With the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) in California, everyone is keeping an eye on what is happening on the ground.  We have discussed terms like the 'Duck Curve' or 'Giraffe Neck' in previous newsletters.  Each one of these terms are tied to the solar penetration within the state and how it is shifting down the prices in the middle of the day and keeping the morning/evening ramp hours quite high as well as the light load hours. Figure 1 | CAISO Day-Ahead Prices/Heat Rates - Daily You can see on weekends, the light load hours trade well above the ... » read more
Friday Apr 28, 2017   
If you live in the Pacific Northwest, this winter seems to be dragging as the last few days have brought us chilly overnight lows once again.  In fact, I look at my thermostat every morning when I get up and see what it says about how cold it is in my house.  With the furnace programmed to turn off in the evening and kick in sometime around 5:00 am, I can usually gauge how cold the temperatures got outside overnight as it shifts down to 62 degrees on a cold crisp day in the middle of winter and is up around 69 degrees on a warm spring day.  When I awoke ... » read more
Thursday Apr 27, 2017   
As of roughly two weeks ago, the California precipitation record of 34 years (1982-83) was broken for the Northern Sierra's.  In fact, since then Mother Nature has continue to push more rainfall/snowpack into the region to a point that we are well beyond the previous record. Figure 1 | CDEC Northern Sierra Precipitation Levels (Inches) As you can see in the figure above, the current year's level of 92.8 inches is well above the 88.5 inch record of 1982-83.  The percent of normal for the 26th is roughly 206% of normal.  As we all know, precipitation ... » read more
Wednesday Apr 26, 2017   
The last week has seen material price swings at the Northeast gas hubs which are worthy of further discussion. There was a strong push up in basis prices as maintenance work began at the Cromwell Compressor station on the AGT pipeline which derated flows into northern Connecticut and Massachusetts to the tune of 100-200 MMCF for the 18th and 19th.  As a result, AGT was forced to price high enough to attract additional flows from Canada via Waddington on the IRQ Z2 pipeline. Once the compressor returned to full capacity AGT and Z2 fell below Transco ... » read more
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
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