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Friday Aug 4, 2023   
The California Carbon Allowance (CCA) price has been on the rise since the beginning of 2023, where it was averaging just under $30 per allowance. Starting in March 2023, the price level moved up a couple of dollars and held around the $31.50 level all of Q2-2023. By the end of June, the California Carbon daily settle price moved up to $33.26 but it was the month of July that started to tell a story as the month ended with the price shifting up to $36.70, which was a new record.  Records are meant to be broken, in this case it did not take too long as by August 1st, the California carbon prices reached an all-time high of $37.51. Since that time, the daily indice has pulled back some which begs the question of where do we go from here?  The chart in Figure 1 illustrates the ... » read more
Thursday Aug 3, 2023   
With Mid-C having taking back the position as the highest-priced hub in the West this week, the focus is on the Pacific Northwest where a temperatures are on the rise after a relatively mild end to the month of July and where the hydro system is becoming increasingly stretched.  Unlike further South in California, where hydro has continued its strong output essentially uninterrupted since mid-March, the Pacific Northwest hydro system entered the summer with low flows and limited storage.  This has been most pronounced high up in the system in British Columbia, where the two largest reservoirs sit behind Mica and Arrow dams.  Mica has been slow to refill over the past three months and in late June, the decision was made to begin releasing large amounts of water from Arrow ... » read more
Wednesday Aug 2, 2023   
After months of strong power burns during a cold California winter, the script was flipped in May and June. While May 2022 saw average power burns in California at 1.13 BCF, in May 2023 it was 0.17 BCF lower at 0.96 BCF. By June, the year-on-year gap increased to 0.42 BCF on average. Both SoCal gas and PG&E enjoyed the lower burns as storage had been severely depleted over the winter months. Storage caverns were able to greatly lessen their deficit thanks in part to the decrease in burns. A variety of factors influence California power burns, including weather, demand, the strength of the hydro year, and imports on the transmission lines. Another factor for the CAISO grid is the growing battery fleet. In our recent article, titled ‘CAISO Batteries’ Impact on Power ... » read more
Tuesday Aug 1, 2023   
Sunny San Diego, not so much over the past 48 hours as the marine layer moved in off the coastal waters.  Once you moved inland the daytime high of 78 degrees along I-5 quickly dialed things up as there was most definitely a 5-10 degree increase depending on the time of day and humidity was abound everywhere.  I know this, not by living there but visiting over the weekend for a soccer tournament at the Del Mar Polo Ground complex. Figure 1 | Del Mar Polo Grounds Soccer Complex What was also noticeable was the condition of the fields as last year they were hard and quite brown as the region was in a severe drought-like environment.  This year, the tide has definitely changed as the early part of 2023 delivered the highest precipitation volume on record for the past two ... » read more
Monday Jul 31, 2023   
Weather models have taken the CDD count down from coast to coast as the Northeast, Midwest and Midcon show below normal temperatures. Boston and NYC have the CDD count in single digits into next weekend with overnight lows in the low 60's, but beware of building heat coming towards the middle of August for the first two regions mentioned. The coolness that has moved in may be the calm before the storm as it is still only the fifth week of the key summer months. The heat dome in the West is expected to continue as the DSW has no signs of monsoon-like winds yet with daytime highs staying above 110 in Phoenix.   Figure 1 | Forecasted CDD Changes from Friday to Sunday July 30 From a power demand perspective, the coming days will see the Lower 48 net load drop to 500 GWa which is ... » read more
Friday Jul 28, 2023   
The western US power grid has held things together so far in July. Coming into the month, we were looking at a “new normal” with Mid-C and Palo Verde both trading at a significant premium to CAISO. In the last week or so, the western markets have reverted to a more traditional playbook with flows from Mid-C and NP15 heading south into SP15 and then flows from SP15 heading east to Palo Verde and Mead. The star of the show this month has been the Desert Southwest where temperatures have exceeded 110 degrees for 25 consecutive days. That’s strong. To meet this demand, both Palo Verde and Mead have been relying on exports from SP15. Maximum hourly exports have reached 2700 MW at Palo Verde and 1200 MW at Mead during certain hours in the last ten days. To balance the grid ... » read more
Thursday Jul 27, 2023   
PJM has dealt with a handful of high demand days already in July, including two weeks ago on the 13th when real-time prices spiked to top out at $488.20 at the Eastern Hub and $153.20 at the Western Hub.  For the most part, the heat this summer has been focused on the Northeast and the impact for PJM has been characterized by heavy transmission flows out of PJM and into NYISO, with NYISO in turn exporting into ISONE.  During these periods, however, PJM’s other neighbors were not experiencing the same heat or tightness, which was reflected in transmission flows in those directions.  So, what happens if those regions get tight at the same time as PJM and the Northeast?  We see exactly those conditions on the way as a perfect storm of heat has been moving into not ... » read more
Tuesday Jul 25, 2023   
The Midwest ISO is heating up with warmer temperatures in the forecast for the balance of the week. Prior to this event, the weather has been modest throughout the month of July which has led to modest power demand numbers in many of the demand regions.  The issue is on the supply side as the thermal stack has been hit hard with coal retirements over the years while the wind generation fluctuates where higher output definitely aids in the overall marginal cost of energy while lower wind profiles start to stretch the internal supply stack. Figure 1 | MISO Wind Breakdown – Monthly The image panes above detail the wind growth over the years within the MISO region as the bottom displays the cumulative potential peak volume while the bars are tied to the monthly generation ... » read more
Monday Jul 24, 2023   
The month of July has nearly come and gone as we only have one week left, to which much of the Lower 48 will be blanketed with some sort of summer heat. The South Central is looking at extremely warm temperatures while the Midwest is transitioning from a moderate spurt to that of above normal while the East is going to rid itself of a rainy start to Q3.  The West region has had a week or so where temperatures in the Desert Southwest have reached as high as 119-121 degrees only to fall to the upper 90’s overnight.  In fact, it was so hot in Las Vegas that some flights were delayed due to the planes not being able to take off.  In one instance, the backlog of departing planes left passengers idling on the tarmac for hours where heat exhaustion came into play and ... » read more
Friday Jul 21, 2023   
Recently, an odd pattern has been showing up in ERCOT’s prices. Figure 1 | ERCOT DA and RT Prices, 7/14/23 – 7/20/23 One pattern is just that DA prices are spiking every day while RT prices sit on the ground, but that’s not what we’re talking about this time. The part that looks odd is the double-pointed peak that’s been appearing almost every day. Although this image only shows instances of that pattern occurring in the DA prices, it’s been showing up in RT too, on days such as July 10th or 12th. One of the spikes is reliably during HE20, which isn’t surprising. But what’s causing the spike a couple of hours earlier, anytime from HE15 to HE17? Why would prices spike, then go down, then spike again rather than just staying high? The answer ... » read more
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