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Friday Jun 10, 2016   
Many of our newsletter readers come from the renewable energy industry. Even more of our readers come from the traditional wholesale electricity and natural gas space. Those in the renewable space have surely been watching this phenomenon over the last 24 months. Readers from the traditional wholesale markets need to listen up. Solar electricity is knocking on the door as the low-cost provider of new capacity. Anybody who tracks western US power markets surely understands the large role played by solar in the California RPS compliance market. When the California ... » read more
Thursday Jun 9, 2016   
The heat started to move through the Pacific Northwest late last week and hung around through Tuesday.  The individuals without AC in their home or apartment had to find other means to remain cool at night since the overnight lows did not drop below 65 degrees. Figure 1 | Portland Temperatures - Actual vs. Forecast From a load perspective, the middle of the day started to balloon upward with Sunday/Monday have the highest peak demand. Figure 2 | BPA Load and Wind Profile - Hourly Figure 2 illustrates the increase as it shows BPA's balancing authority's load ... » read more
Wednesday Jun 8, 2016   
A sustained heatwave settled along the coasts of the US early this week driving up cooling demand and with it power burns.  June MTD Power Burns are sitting at 29.3 BCF which is up 4 BCF from last month's average but slightly below last June;s average of 29.6 BCF. Figure 1| North American Natural Gas Power Burns - By Region The current short-term forecast's indicate that the heat is moving from the coasts to the center of the country and in the process will push US load levels above the current MTD average for the next five days including the ... » read more
Tuesday Jun 7, 2016   
With the moderate winter seen across the country, the natural gas landscape started out the injection season well above normal when it came to storage.  Many of the fields were well above their minimum withdrawal levels at the end March and have continue to refill over the course of the past two months.  This type of excess supply has put downward pressure on the overall gas prices on the cash/BOM and prompt month contracts.  This has pushed the combined cycle generation fleet below that of coal in many parts of the country therefore the units were able ... » read more
Monday Jun 6, 2016   
Last week saw extensive heat in the PJM, parts of the Northeast and the entire West as Portland saw highs near triple digits both Saturday/Sunday while Phoenix was around 115 degrees in the middle part of the day. Figure 1 | Phoenix Temperatures - Actual vs. Forecast NYISO saw its actual peak load come in quite a bit higher than the forecast amount early in the week, with the biggest delta showing up in the Zone J. Figure 2 | NYISO Peak Load - Actual vs.Forecast This type of demand pushed the net load (power demand minus wind) up to the 335 GW level after ... » read more
Friday Jun 3, 2016   
Today's California load is the highest of all days and as a result, the SP15 day-ahead heavy load implied heat rate jumped up to an 11.82.  This is up roughly 1.5 heat rate points from the previous day's clear of a 10.38.  As you can see in the figure below, scheduled load was up over 1,900 MWa Figure 1 | CAISO Scheduled Load From a net thermal demand, the grid was needing over 14,000 MW as the load increased, virtual supply shifted down and imports from the Desert Southwest/Pacific Northwest shifted down.  This has prompted the natural gas fleet to ... » read more
Thursday Jun 2, 2016   
Over the last year we have been closely monitoring the coal to gas generation ratio. Weak gas prices and increased regulations has led to an unprecedented decrease in coal generation and subsequent increase in natural gas generation (relative to net demand).  As May came to a close we saw load rise over the past week and eagerly waited to see if coal generation would bounce back. Thus far we have not a significant increase in the coal to gas ratio.   Figure 1|Coal vs Natural Gas Burns Ratio (BCF Equivalent)  Diving into the individual ISOs the ... » read more
Wednesday Jun 1, 2016   
With all the issues swirling around Aliso Canyon this year, both SoCal Gas and CAISO have implemented a plan heading into the summer months to make sure there was enough gas to go around and that the generators in the state of California were able to re-submit their bids if there was a big gas movement in the cash market from day to day.  Well that occurred coming out of the long weekend as Socal Citygate went from indexing $1.85 over the 4 day holiday weekend to settling around $2.28 for today.  This $0.43 move up was outside the threshold and triggered ... » read more
Tuesday May 31, 2016   
Prior to the long holiday weekend, the forecast was showing some heat moving into the West this week.  As we gather ourselves for a new month, the forecast seems to be holding true as Sacramento is looking at triple digits most of the week, while Burbank will be getting warmer as we get deeper into the week. Figure 1 | Sacramento Temperatures - Forecast and Actual As a result of this heat, scheduled loads in California shifted up over 4,000 MWa compared to late last week. Figure 2 | CAISO Day-Ahead Scheduled Load - Hourly Most of the increase was concentrated ... » read more
Friday May 27, 2016   
Back in November I took a look at some of the work published by Vaclav Smil. Smil is a professor at the University of Manitoba who publishes on a wide range of topics including energy. He is one of the great thinkers of our time and also happens to be a very clear and productive writer. Google him if you haven’t already! Back in January of 2014 he wrote an article in Scientific American that explained how long it took for different fuels to reach different levels of penetration into the market. A summary of his points can be found in Figure 1. Figure 1 | Share ... » read more
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