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Thursday Jun 30, 2016   
Over the last year, we have observed fuel switching in the power sector from coal to natural gas due to declining natural gas prices. In one short month, spot natural gas prices have surged 34%, flipping this story. On May 27th the Henry Hub July futures contract traded $2.169. On Tuesday June 28th, the July contract rolled off at $2.917. This price increase is bound to have an impact on demand for natural gas in the power sector. EnergyGPS has been closely watching the dispatch of coal and natural gas in the ISO generation stack data. These data show the amount of ... » read more
Wednesday Jun 29, 2016   
Early yesterday morning news began to filter in about a natural gas plant explosion at an Enterprise/BP owned natural gas processing facility near Pascagoula Mississippi, simply known as the Pascagoula Processing Plant.  The aptly named name facility experienced and explosion late Monday evening and a fire that carried into Tuesday morning.   By early morning that fire was under control, fortunately no one was hurt in the event. Figure 1| Fire at Pascagoula Processing Plant   The processing facility sits on the Destin pipeline which stretches into the ... » read more
Tuesday Jun 28, 2016   
The thunderstorms and flash flooding that ravaged West Virginia last week caused the death of 23 people and displaced thousands from their homes. Some weather services are calling it a 1 in 1000 year weather event. Several thunderstorms lined up in what weather forecasters call trains battered the west side of the state. It will take years to recover from the damage. The natural gas industry also sustained damage in the flooding. West Virginia possesses some of the most prolific production plays in the Marcellus basin. Known as for its wet gas production, producers ... » read more
Monday Jun 27, 2016   
California utilities have been net importers of power since the beginning of electricity trade. Large central power stations in the southwest have fed power into southern California for decades. Northwest utilities have shipped excess power down the AC intertie since the 1960s. Over the years California utilities became very astute buyers. I still remember the days in the mid-1990’s when Southern California Edison would brashly play sellers off of each other to negotiate the best price. If you refused to bend to their conditions they’d fire up their own ... » read more
Friday Jun 24, 2016   
This week Tesla Motors Inc. announced its purchase of SolarCity in a proposed all-stock deal that values SolarCity at up to $2.8 billion which represents a premium of 20% to 30%. The news was not exactly cheered by Tesla investors – with Tesla shares down over 10% since announcing the purchase. The media has covered this story pretty well, with a number of good articles and opinion pieces appearing in the trade press as well as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and LA Times. There are so many interesting storylines here that it is hard to know where to ... » read more
Thursday Jun 23, 2016   
With the recent trend up in both the overall power demand across the country, something had to give in the way of more natural gas fired generation turning on or coal units ramping up to help balance the grid across the country. Figure 1 | Net Load - 7 Day Rolling Flat Average Looking at the regional temperature breakout, the Desert Southwest and Southern California saw record highs with former hitting the 120 degree mark early in the week while Burbank came in around 112 degrees.  In the Midwest it was hot and humid from Minneapolis down through Cleveland. » read more
Wednesday Jun 22, 2016   
PG&E has announced plans to retire both Diablo Canyon nuclear facilities when their licenses expire in November 2024 and August 2025.  The retirements will mark the end of the nuclear era in California after the early retirement of the SONGS nuclear facility in 2013.  The Diablo Canyon nuclear facility contains two reactors both capable of generating around 1,120 MW and is located near the city of San Luis Obispo in the NP 15 system. Figure 1 - Diablo Canyon  The plant has been under fire since the Fukushima nuclear disaster due to the units ... » read more
Tuesday Jun 21, 2016   
Last week the California Public Utilities Commission reserved June 20 - 23 on the calendar to hear oral arguments about the new PG&E rate design that is expected to get implemented this year. This new rate plan increases distribution access charges for any and all consumers connected to the PG&E gas distribution system. Anyone who uses the PG&E to get gas delivery to a facility will get an increase in rates This is a result of new pipeline safety and integrity plans that are getting implemented in the aftermath of the San Bruno explosion and fire that ... » read more
Monday Jun 20, 2016   
For those of you who deem yourself as veterans in the West Power markets will remember the era of the SCE limit. This was a binding constraint that was put into place by the CAISO operators to make sure there was enough power turned on within the LA Basin for what SCE deemed as reliability.  Once this constraint was put into place, the spread between SP15 and NP15 blew out as there was plenty of generation on the outside looking in. This constraint was exposed when SONGS went offline and eventually the units were retired.  But after the big push in the ... » read more
Friday Jun 17, 2016   
Here at EnergyGPS we spend a lot of time helping buyers and sellers of renewable projects analyze and parse risk. Our expertise sits at the intersection of wholesale and renewable markets. For a number of years, renewable resources operated in a parallel universe to the wholesale markets. Project developers signed long term power purchase agreements (PPA) with utilities which had compliance obligations. The traditional PPA called for the buyer to purchase unit contingent, intermittent, as-generated output at the project node. The utility would then either sell the ... » read more
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