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Friday Jun 24, 2022   
Energy GPS Consulting recently finished a project analyzing a very wonky yet important policy question related to price formation in the CAISO. Unlike most of our work, which is proprietary for a specific client, this work is now in the public domain. Powerex and the Public Power Council hired EnergyGPS to evaluate the impacts of fast start pricing policies on CAISO real-time market prices. Let me explain – until recently FERC policy called for RTO’s to exclude certain costs from the calculation of LMPs. One type is startup costs. If it cost a combined cycle plant $16,000 to go from a cold state to full generation, that cost was excluded from the calculation of the LMP. Instead, those startup costs were conveyed separately to the generator and recovered from load via and ... » read more
Thursday Jun 23, 2022   
Yesterday, June 21st marked the end of the spring with the summer solstice making it the longest day of the year for 2022.  It also marked a change in the spill operations for the hydro projects on the Lower Snake, as the Fish Operations Plan (FOP) had this Tuesday as the transition from spring spill to summer spill rules.  A similar transition occurred last week on June 16th for the Lower Columbia projects.  For each of the eight projects on the Lower Snake and Lower Columbia, this change consists of a shift from adjusting spill to reach a specific target of total dissolved gas (TDG) in the water to spilling at a flat rate or flat percentage of overall spill.  The change in operations was evident yesterday on the Lower Snake.  The summer spill standards have ... » read more
Wednesday Jun 22, 2022   
At the beginning of spring, we at EnergyGPS revamped our nuclear outage forecast line to better reflect upcoming nuclear outages during refueling season. Refueling season usually happens during spring and fall when loads and temperatures are mild. The goal is to do maintenance during a time when the grid can handle losing out on the baseload nuclear energy. To create a better forecast, we looked at historical patterns to identify each plant’s 18 or 24 month cycle. Then we calculated the average amount of time that plant is 100% offline and mapped out when this year’s refueling would happen. The resulting forecast is shown below in the dotted line of figure 1. Solid lines represent the sum of nuclear outages across the country in MW from 2017 to 2022 where the dark black line ... » read more
Tuesday Jun 21, 2022   
Over the past two weeks there has been a large shift in sentiment for the NYMEX Henry Henry Hub natural gas futures. It was not supposed to go this way. Expectations were for higher prices through the summer as power burns and LNG exports brought about a convergence between North American and global natural gas values. But it has not gone that way due to a number of changes in the balancing. Now the gas pricing is heading into the peak of summer electric demand $2.50 lower than where it was just weeks ago eroding all of the price gains that were made since the beginning of May.   Figure 1 | NYMEX Continuous Contract for 2021-2022 It would be easy for the market to point to all of the price change as a result of the loss of the Freeport LNG terminal through the end of the year. » read more
Monday Jun 20, 2022   
If you watched the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Finals and were a Golden State Warriors fan you were jumping out of your seat and high fiving the friends who shared the same joy as they beat the Boston Celtics this past Thursday night.  The SoCal Gas and California System Operator (CAISO) were not singing the same tune as the Warrior fan base since that time as the former’s storage system delivered their high five in the way of notices stating that the system had a high inventory situation that needed to be dealt with both on a day-ahead and intra-day basis.  The latter was working off the premise of lower power demand, plenty of transmission flows and a solar fleet that would be enjoying the sunny skies that Mother Nature presented over the weekend.  ... » read more
Friday Jun 17, 2022   
by Tim Belden In the words of Kurtis Blow: “Basketball is my favorite sport I like the way they dribble up and down the court Just like I'm the King on the microphone so is Dr. J and Moses Malone I like Slam dunks take me to the hoop My favorite play is the alley oop I like the pick-and-roll, I like the give-and-go Cause it's Basketball, uh, Mister Kurtis Blow” I have a love hate relationship with the Golden State Warriors. Let’s get the “hate” part out of the way first – their fans. Many Warriors fans are a horrible mix of Laker fans and Duke fans. Super annoying. Smug. If you grew up or live in any type of normal place, these folks make your skin crawl. But ... » read more
Thursday Jun 16, 2022   
In recent years since wind and solar generation has become a significant portion of the supply stack in certain regions of the US, the early spring or “shoulder months” has been the period when renewable curtailments have been most prevalent.  In the past, the month of May has been characterized by a distinct “leveling off” of curtailments as the weather warmed up and demand rose, after which over the course of the summer it was rare to see renewables facing oversupply issues.  In our latest Newsletter Renewable Monthly article, “May 2022 – Spring Curtailments Not Slowing”, we take a look at conditions relevant to renewable energy in different US markets, including several where curtailments are prevalent.  This spring in each ... » read more
Wednesday Jun 15, 2022   
Last year the Pacific Northwest was dealing with a heat dome that was setting record highs throughout the region while this year has seen just the opposite as we are in the middle of June and it is still quite chilly for this time of year in the early morning.  When you throw in the simple fact that the current regional water year has had the bookend atmospheric river systems move through, it could not be more opposite in nature when it comes to the overall supply/demand landscape. Figure 1 | The Pacific Northwest Bookend Weather The impact tied to the weather in the Pacific Northwest could not be any more opposite as the extreme heat tilted the Mid-C balancing act to higher prices as local utilities saw their power demand skyrocket to a point that the local transmission and ... » read more
Tuesday Jun 14, 2022   
The natural gas industry was spun on its head last week when Freeport LNG, the 1.9 BCF per day LNG liquefaction facility, suffered a fire neat the onsite storage tanks. Immediately the plant was shut down and guidance for an outage lasting at least three weeks was issued by Freeport. But there is every indication that the plant could be out longer than company guidance as the US Department of Transportation, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is now onsite looking into the cause of the explosion. The PHMSA is chartered with overseeing the safe operation of the natural gas infrastructure across the Lower 48 and they take their mission very seriously. In the aftermath of Texas Eastern and ElPaso Pipeline ruptures over the past several years it is noted that they ... » read more
Monday Jun 13, 2022   
If you are a person who needed a weekend to not leave the house and just get caught up on their sleep or binge watch their favor HBO, Netflix or Prime series; the Pacific Northwest was the place for you as the atmospheric river system placed plenty of precipitation over the region. The rainfall was so impressive at times the sloped driveway was like a running stream and the gutters were overflowing with nothing clogging it but the volume of water coming off the roof. Figure 1 | Atmospheric River System – Pacific Northwest Region In fact, reading the news headlines of the sweltering hear across the country was hard to believe with the weather conditions in the Pacific Northwest. In a recent article, titled ‘The River System – Pacific Northwest’, we detail how the ... » read more
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