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Tuesday Feb 9, 2021   
Over the past week there has been plenty of focus on the coming polar event that will run through the Lower 48. But that cold air has already made its effect north of the border. Alberta has been feeling the brunt of near record cold temperatures throughout the province. Departures are 35 degrees below normal at minus 20 Fahrenheit. This is as cold as it has ever been pushing the Nova system demand to record levels of over 7.5 BCF per day. Extreme conditions have also caused natural gas production to freeze off. Receipts are down from 11.8 to 11.3 BCF. This has taxed the supply/demand balancing forcing storage draws to their highest point on record of 3.4 BCF per day. With little storage withdrawal capacity left the market has to price back pipeline exports to satisfy native demand. » read more
Monday Feb 8, 2021   
Every since last January (2020), the Alberta power and natural gas markets have been on the radar screen as the month was one of the coldest on record. If you recall, the middle third of the month was nothing but unbearable as the daytime high temperatures did not surpass minus 10 degrees.  The last I checked that is arctic cold, even for a guy who grew up in the Midwest where the wind chill was so cold it made your eyelids freeze as they watered walking around the corner of a building.   Cold weather wreaks havoc on the power and natural gas grids as the former is battling units staying online with the morning and evening ramp blocks showing high hourly demand numbers.  The latter has two key components that drive the balancing, the first is the colder weather impacts ... » read more
Friday Feb 5, 2021   
By Tim Belden Skyrim! What is Skyrim you ask? It was the roleplaying video game that I bought for my then-sixth grade son eight years ago. We drove together to the mall and made our way past the Cinnabon, the Sunglass Hut, Footlocker, and the candle cart to my son’s favorite store on earth – GameStop! It was a small, unremarkable store, but it sold all the video games a middle schooler could desire – both new and used. After a few minutes of browsing and asking a couple of questions related to compatibility we were on our way home. When we got home, I promptly lost my son to hours of online adventures. I was intrigued by the Game Stop store and the business model of selling new and used games. I did a little bit of research on the company and decided to make a modest ... » read more
Thursday Feb 4, 2021   
The Lone Star State gets a lot of attention as it's slogan is such that 'everything is bigger in Texas'.  Little did the state's founders realize that it would pertain to the renewable energy sector known as wind generation.  Over the years, the Texas electricity grid (ERCOT) has been adjusting to developers racing to get their turbines up and running to capture the federal production tax credits.  The widespread attraction started out in the west, then transitioned to the middle of the state before heading north.  The latest move saw the southern zone see a massive influx of wind capacity due to the offshore winds providing a better hourly profile compared to inland facilities (farms).  At the end of the day, ERCOT has moved into the top slot of wind capacity ... » read more
Wednesday Feb 3, 2021   
Last week presented this winter’s first legit cold snap and gave a glimpse of what we may expect later this week and most of next week with another, more intense cold spell expected to arrive.  In fact, next week could feature some of the coldest temperatures in two winters, bringing volatility back to the market.  Going around the horn and starting in the Northeast: up in New England, the cold spell lifted Algonquin Citygate cash price over $11, its highest levels since December 2019 in order to inspire regional gas plants to forgo consuming gas so that molecules can serve the res/comm sector’s need to generate heat.   New England power prices had to rise to more than $90 to make it economical to burn fuel oil for power generation.  With power that ... » read more
Tuesday Feb 2, 2021   
The natural gas market was turned on its head over the weekend when the weather forecast added 20 HDDs to the 6-10 day forecast. The week was already expected to be the coldest of winter but now if the weather holds it will turn out to be one of the coldest periods experienced over the past three years. February 8 is expected to be the coldest day of the coming stretch with an HDD total of 39. The highest HDD day over the past five winters was on January 1, 2018 when a 45 was recorded. The market has been waiting for this event for over a year. As noted in Figure 1, winter never arrived last year with only a handful of days above climatology. This year started warmer but now has one of the coldest weeks of the past ten years on deck.    Figure 1 | Daily HDD Totals for ... » read more
Monday Feb 1, 2021   
MeatLoaf is a band that continues to have their music play on Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora as well as certain Rock Music radio stations across the United States and other parts of the world.  One album that grab the attention of many was titled 'Bat out of Hell' which is the 1977 debut by the American rock singer and composer Jim Steinman.  Searching on Wikipedia, the story is told that the album was developed from a musical, Neverland, a futuristic rock version of Peter Pan, which Steinman wrote for a workshop in 1974.  The next two years were spend recording the album at various studios, including Bearsville Studios, Woodstock, NY and eventually released in 1977 by Cleveland International/Epic Records.  The album's musical style is influenced by Steinman's ... » read more
Friday Jan 29, 2021   
We've written extensively over the past several months about how the warm and mild winter has affected the natural gas and electricity markets across the country.  The weather has taken a turn this week in California, however, as precipitation has blanketed the state, with snowfall in the Sierra mountains, rain in the lower elevations, and even flash flood warnings in the southwest.  We also had some snowfall further North at EGPS headquarters earlier in the week, a relatively rare occurrence in Portland.  To help us all remember sunnier days in California, let’s turn our attention to CAISO, where solar generation has become an increasingly integral component of the grid over the last several years.  Solar capacity in CAISO reached almost 12 GW by the end of ... » read more
Thursday Jan 28, 2021   
Costco runs are a normal occurrence for many as the wholesale chain has figured out that we need two dozen lemons, twelve muffins, sixteen hamburger patties and a box of forty-eight individually bagged chips just in case anyone in the neighborhood gets hungry.  The two items that that fly off the shelf around Christmas time is the packages of AA and AAA Duracell batteries as somehow the marketing team stocking the shelves knows I need thirty-two of each type so they make their way into the cart.  Figure 1 | Costco Duracell Battery Packs - AAA As you pass through the checkout line, the bulk batteries make their way into the cart on the other side of the scanner and as you put all the purchases in the back end of your vehicle, the thought of what am I going to really do with ... » read more
Wednesday Jan 27, 2021   
The winter season across the Pacific Northwest and California has been almost obsolete as warmer weather was present in the month of November and December 2020.  As we turned the corner, the start of January 2021 was no different as the Pacific Northwest was looking at above normal temperatures to which pushed the precipitation to more rainfall than snowpack at the middle and lower elevation levels.  This presented the region with plenty of water on the Westside portion of the hydro system and as you can see in the figure below, it translated into more megawatts hitting the grid. Figure 1 | Westside Hydro Generation - Flat Daily Average The chart in Figure 1 is the daily flat average generation (megawatts) for the Westside region of the Pacific Northwest hydro system.  We ... » read more
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