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Friday Jun 15, 2018   
The first time I analyzed batteries as a wholesale power market asset was in 2013. A private equity outfit was looking into a battery company and asked me to help them evaluate the wholesale electricity market application of the batteries. The company was too far over its tips financially, and the applications for batteries in the electricity sector were largely behind the meter load management plays. Given the costs at the time and the revenue opportunity, there was simply no way to make the math work outside of a few niche opportunities. I learned a ton on that project about battery control technology, state of charge, degradation, and behind the meter applications. I learned about how accurately batteries can follow a signal and how much better they perform on performance based ... » read more
Thursday Jun 14, 2018   
The recent heat wave that moved through the Ohio Valley is a reminder to those in the Northeast that summer is almost upon us. In many markets across the country, electrical demand peaks during the summer time. As people start to switch on their AC units, driving up load, the ISOs are doing their best to have all resources available. With the calendar shift between seasons just a week away, we are seeing resources in PJM and New York return from maintenance. Figure 1 | Columbus Historical (Bar) and Forecast (dotted lines) Temperatures Last week in our newsletter we discussed how the Zone A LMP rallied due to line outages in the region. Multiple transmission lines coming out of Niagara took planned maintenance outages which drove congestion to the highest levels we have seen in ... » read more
Wednesday Jun 13, 2018   
Over the past couple of weeks, we have written about the weather in ERCOT as well as the recent price spike that drove HE 16 on June 5th up to $8,000 (ERCOT's Price Spike).  In the article underlined, we detailed the key components one needs to watch for as we move into the back half of June and look forward to the months of July and August.  One of the key components is the ERCOT wind profile as its volatility has an impact on the net load numbers on the grid. Figure 1 | ERCOT Wind Generation Hourly Profile - Actual and Forecast In the graph above, it shows the hourly ERCOT wind generation by day for the last 8 days as well as the next 7 day forecast.  If you look to the far left, you will see the later afternoon hours dip down below 1.8 GW HE 14 and sit around the 2.1 GW ... » read more
Tuesday Jun 12, 2018   
SoCal Gas continues to have a number of issues on their system that are expected to continue through next winter. Pipeline capacity into the Los Angeles Basin is severely restricted due to a number planned and forced outages. The result is that moderately high gas demand days will have to be met with storage draws to maintain pipeline reliability. That poses a bigger problem. The beleaguered Aliso Canyon storage cavern has also added to the supply woes because of the restraints placed upon its use by the California Legislature. The government imposed mandate will keep the regions largest storage cavern sitting on the sidelines unless its usage is deemed crucial to maintaining system integrity.   In anticipation of the supply issues during the peak of summer heat, SoCal ... » read more
Monday Jun 11, 2018   
A month ago in a newsletter found here, we discussed the fact that the bulk of the CAISO's stated quarterly economic benefits are mainly driven by the fact that the $10 to $30/MWh in transmission costs that participants see in the day ahead WECC markets, simply vanish in EIM.  In today's Newsletter I would like to discuss what companies will benefit most from a market that is more about optimizing free transmission than it is about true imbalance (generation/load deviation from forecast).  With that, let's start off with this past quarter's benefits, as seen in Table 1.  You will notice in here that the CAISO, PacifiCorp, and APS are the biggest winners, with the first two making the majority of the haul.  The CAISO's benefits are pretty obvious, as they are able ... » read more
Friday Jun 8, 2018   
As an electricity market analyst I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the states of Texas and California for keeping work interesting for me (and keeping me employed). As the grid continues its long journey transitioning from thermal resources to renewables, California (What's your CCV West Power?) and Texas (ERCOT's Price Spike, The Heat is On (ERCOT Stack) are the pioneers. These unlikely renewable bedfellows have taken very different paths to this point and likely have different paths looking forward. The ERCOT renewable engine runs on a combination of abundant, cost-effective renewable resources and competitive market forces. Renewables are cheap compared to other alternatives, and forward curves support new build economics. Importantly, the renewable build out in Texas ... » read more
Thursday Jun 7, 2018   
Last week saw some of the strongest Zone A LMPs in recent memory as they jumped to $125 in the OPA for Friday June 1st. While temperatures were moderate throughout the state, multiple transmission lines throughout the Zone took planned outages. The Niagara – Robinson 230 kV line was the first to go offline on the 29th instantly congesting flows out of Niagara. The next day, two Niagara – Packard 115 kV lines took outages adding fuel to the fire. As we will see, these flows out of Niagara are important to keeping energy flowing freely. Figure 1 | Zone A 7-Day Day Ahead LMP and MCC   The issue with this particular region is that nearly all the local generation comes from the hydro facility out of Niagara. As the 345 kV steps down to smaller lines, it begins to congest as ... » read more
Wednesday Jun 6, 2018   
The beauty of both the natural gas and power markets is you have an opportunity everyday to take a position based off of technical trading and/or the market fundamentals.  Here at EnergyGPS, our focus is on the latter as we feel it gives you a good idea of what is happening on the ground while allowing you insight to what will be happening in the future.  On the natural gas side of the equation, the pendulum has swung back in favor of the basis points (hubs) as the production continues to grow in certain areas as well as LNG demand and transports constraints into the demand areas of Southern California (What is your CCV West Power?). Figure 1 | The Pendulum is Swinging We should not forget about our friends to the north AECO continues to be one of the most volatile ... » read more
Tuesday Jun 5, 2018   
Natural gas balancing has seen quite a few supply/ demand changes this year. The winter started off with a bang when the EIA posted a record draw for the first week. By the time we moved into the month of February the cash values around the country were back down below the price of coal forcing gas fired generation to adjust their dispatch. The reduced gas prices relative to stronger coal pricing forced up power burns. March and April had record heating degree days in the Plains which caused ResCom demand to jump up to all-time highs. More recently, spring has been reduced to a two week event as above normal temperatures have driven up the cooling load across the Lower 48. Most would have thought that demand side shocks like what we have experienced would lead to some price ... » read more
Monday Jun 4, 2018   
This is the time of year when various commissions come out with their assessment of the electricity and natural gas grid's ability to meet peak load for the upcoming summer.  A week ago the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) put out their 2018 Summer Reliability Assessment.  A week prior to that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) put out their Summer 2018 Energy Market and Reliability Assessment.  A week prior to that the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) put out their 2018 Summer Loads & Resources Assessment.  Just a couple days prior to the CAISO's report was the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) putting out their Aliso Canyon Risk Assessment Technical Report Summer 2018.  In general these reports ... » read more
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