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Tuesday Mar 28, 2017   
In recent weeks, we have noticed a trend in our PJM power plant analysis. Output from natural gas fired facilities have take a much higher turn and are setting all time highs for this time of the year. This defies the convention that natural gas generation will steal from the market share of coal fired facilities during times where the gas prices are inexpensive. But compared to last year, the natural gas prices serving the PJM grid have almost doubled.   Figure 1 | PJM Total NG Generation (2015 - 2017) Last week, the Dominion South daily index moved up to $2.90 ... » read more
Monday Mar 27, 2017   
Someone needs to turn off the spigot here in the Pacific Northwest after another weekend of precipitation in the form of rainfall at the lower elevations and snowpack in the mountains.  In fact, as we drove down to Eugene for a soccer weekend, the height of the rivers that ran under I-5 was impressive as many were nearing the overpass bridge.  All this precipitation has shifted the Jan-Jul MAF at The Dalles up to 127 MAF, which is 126% of normal. Figure 1 | The Dalles Jan-Jul MAF This steep move up is two-fold as the earlier portion of the climb showed up ... » read more
Friday Mar 24, 2017   
Earlier this month the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) published “Solar Market Insight 2016 Year in Review” which is a joint effort of Wood Mackenzie and SEIA. http://www.seia.org/research-resources/solar-market-insight-report-2016-year-review This is a great read not only for those in the solar industry, but also for those in wholesale power and natural gas markets as the rise of solar will have material impacts on the markets in the years to come. Figure 1.2 from the report shows new capacity additions in the US by type of generation. Solar ... » read more
Thursday Mar 23, 2017   
Over the past week, the Pacific Northwest has been running on mostly hydro generation and a little wind as the natural gas noms have been showing less than .100 BCF taken off the pipe by gas fired generators.  There is some coal running for reliability purposes as they are using it for ancillary service reg up/down.  This is exposing the Pacific Northwest hydro system to what we call 'lack of market' spill where they take water and move it through the spillway despite having turbine capacity.  A good example of this can be seen on the Upper Columbia ... » read more
Wednesday Mar 22, 2017   
The month of February saw cash prices shift down to levels that prompted coal to gas switching, as a result, in the lower net load bins we started to see a response to power burns that shifted them closer to the 2016 level on certain days.  This was due to an abnormally warm temperatures throughout the country.  The early part of March stated to cool back down with the middle of the month giving the Midwest and Eastern part of the country a 'mini winter' as temperatures dropped and rescom demand shifted up.  As we move into the end of March it is clear ... » read more
Tuesday Mar 21, 2017   
Just a few short years ago the TransCanada Mainline, running from Alberta eastward to Quebec, was a crucial artery for gas supply in North America. Built in the 1950's, it was considered a cricial piece of infrastructure for heating the eastern population centers. But with the advent of shale gas production in the Marcellus and  Utica Basins, the pipeline is looking more like a fading star than a necesssity it once was. In an effort to find new markets for the production of inexpensive natural gas, pipelines extending from the United States into Canada are being ... » read more
Monday Mar 20, 2017   
The winter in the Pacific Northwest has been anything but normal.  A friend of mine said he heard, "if you are 32 years old or younger and have lived in Portland your whole like, this winter is the coldest you have ever experienced".  If you recall, the month of February was the wettest on record along with the average temperatures coming in 4-5 degrees below normal.  The colder jet stream from the Pacific Northwest northern region collided with the Pacific jet stream that pushed up from California and dumped plenty of snow along the I-84 ... » read more
Friday Mar 17, 2017   
Well folks … it looks like we have two NCAA tournament newsletters in a row. Yesterday’s was written by Midwest Jeff. Today’s written by Northeast Tim. You can probably imagine how pre-occupied our office is this week, between filling out brackets, tracking games, and talking trash. I come from New York State, Upstate New York. New York used to be a state that enjoyed a proud basketball tradition. Some of the greatest college basketball players of all time hail from New York – Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Pearl Washington, Chris Mullen, Julius Erving ... » read more
Thursday Mar 16, 2017   
With the NCAA basketball tournament getting ready to start all I can think about is the Wisconsin Badgers making a run or the Minnesota Golden Gophers rising to the occasion as it is their first appearance with Richard Pitino as their head coach (son of Louisville's head coach Rick Pitino).  These are my loyalties along with the sleeper pick of the University of North Dakota as my father has told me so much about this team as he follows every team that is from his hometown state.  Each and every team has the same goals of reaching the Final Four and actually ... » read more
Wednesday Mar 15, 2017   
Looking at the nuclear outage schedule heading into this spring one area in particular stands out to us as ISONE is expecting 3 if their 4 units to come down sometime during April.  Seabrook (1,159 MWs) is expected to come offline on April 1st followed by Millstone 2 (882 MWs) and Pilgrim (685 MWs) on the 9th.  If we weight the capacity by the number of days offline April is expected to average 2,256 MWa worth of nuclear refueling outages on a daily basis.   Figure 1 | ISONE Nuclear Outage Schedule   NY is also expected to see some outages this ... » read more
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