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Monday Mar 21, 2022   
The single biggest change in grid operations for Texas over the past year has been the doubling of solar capacity installations. Each month more output is coming online and the total capacity is expected to break 13 GWa by June, according to the EIA. That puts the total output on par with California and should have Texas become the nation's leader in solar energy by the end of the summer. The state is not going to stop there. By the end of 2024 Texas is expected to have 24 GWa of installed solar capacity on the ERCOT grid. Hopefully they will learn some lessons from the California integration struggles. As the solar footprint grows, so does the problems with managing the intermittent qualities of the generation. Having such a large portion of the overall generation profile ... » read more
Friday Mar 18, 2022   
Global LNG forward prices are backing away from recent record highs, and U.S. terminal maintenance season could be getting underway.  Yet, more capacity to export from new terminals and spreads that still remain unquestionably profitable indicate U.S. LNG exports should rip this summer. Over the past several weeks, our EGPS LNG and EU Storage reports have spent a good amount of time discussing the extraordinary volatility of global forward prices.  LNG forward prices have softened a bit from the record highs set at the start of the month, when concerns about global energy markets were ignited upon Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.  The average prices of Europe’s NBP gas hub’s Summer ‘22 strip topped out at an astonishing $49.39 on March ... » read more
Thursday Mar 17, 2022   
Wind has been plentiful over the past week in SPP, with wind generation reaching close to 20 GW at points on each of the past four days.  With temperatures rising throughout the region starting around the same time and translating into lower overall demand, the result has been a familiar one to those who follow SPP—net loads of 5 GW or lower, lots of curtailed wind, and SPP Hub prices sitting below zero for hours at a time. Figure 1 | SPP Net Load – Actual and Forecast The figure below shows the SPP North day-ahead LMP for Wednesday the 16th as well as for today in the yellow and blue lines, respectively.  Starting at midnight and lasting until the mid-to-late morning prices remain well below $0 and they dip below negative again at the very end of the day both today ... » read more
Wednesday Mar 16, 2022   
Springtime is moving into Texas.  Bluebonnets are already starting to appear on some roadsides; baseball programs are starting their early season workouts; and the beaches of Padre Island are starting to fill in with the untanned pates of spring breakers. Figure 1 | The Lupinus Texensis is a surefire sign that spring has arrived in Texas. The warming weather brings a bearish weight to the ERCOT power market by diminishing loads.  As Texans emerge from their winter cocoons to spend more time outside and the temperatures warm power demand wanes as less electricity is needed to heat and light homes.  We have discussed at length that ERCOT’s weather-normalized loads have been posting impressive growth rates over the past couple of years, but within the course of a year ... » read more
Tuesday Mar 15, 2022   
March is typically the month when the natural gas market shifts its focus on demand drivers. Residential/Commercial heating load , which is largely a product of weather, gives way to power burn demand from electric generation as cooling demand ramps up in the southern latitudes. The population turns off furnaces and turns on the air conditioning. It is appropriate at this time to look at some of the year on year changes we are seeing across the Lower 48 with respect to the power grid dispatch to determine the level of power burns we could expect this summer. The best way to accomplish this is to look at electric demand minus the impact of renewables generation to the grid. This would then provide a glimpse of the thermal commit needed to meet the balancing requirements.  In ... » read more
Monday Mar 14, 2022   
California continues to show its hand of having too much supply hitting the grid, especially on the weekends when the power demand is shifting lower as businesses are not operating like they tend to do during the week.  As a result, the CAISO system operators are at their seats edge each hour as they wonder what the wind generation, imports and actual loads will look like as the only option they have is to curtail renewable energy in the form of solar.  We have discussed the renewable penetration tied to the solar fleet, both behind the meter and utility scaled facilities over the years. Figure 1 | CAISO Solar Capacity Breakdown by Month We have also touched on the influx of battery capacity that has hit the grid over the past year, to which is now penetrating the real-time ... » read more
Friday Mar 11, 2022   
From time to time, we read and report on articles and publications from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBL). Recently, they published a paper regarding surface wind observations and their relationship to interannual variation in wind energy output. As usual, their work contains great analysis and insights. At Energy GPS, we tend to get deep into the weeds of specific regions or projects, so it’s always useful to take a step back and read work like this that examines nationwide energy trends. In the case of the paper referenced, the wind speed component was highlighted and worth discussing in today's blog.  One factor that makes wind speed and power analysis difficult is that the observation stations often aren’t located at the center of the wind power plant. » read more
Thursday Mar 10, 2022   
Daylight savings time is the practice of setting the clock forward by one hour so there is longer daylight during the evening period when everyone is still operating in a productive manner.  Some areas do not observe such as Arizona or Hawaii.  There is always conversation of doing away with the change and keeping the spring-forward mindset all year round.  Figure 1 | Daylight Savings Time Adjustment From an energy standpoint, the change impacts the grid in a way that the demand profile shifts a bit with another hour of higher volume showing up in the evening ramp while the morning period stays a bit darker until the official start of summer rolls into the conversation as the overall daylight period stretches outward.  Another impact is with the renewable solar ... » read more
Tuesday Mar 8, 2022   
The last of the winter weather looks to be upon us across most of the Lower 48 as the 6-10 and 11-15 day periods have adjusted warmer across the board.  As it stands right now, the near-term conditions in the South Central, specifically Texas are going to bring colder weather as far south as Galveston. This means the likes of Dallas, Austin and Houston are all looking the overnight lows dropping down into the low 40’s with the weekend showing Saturday sitting in the mid 30’s.  The daytime highs will be all over the board with Houston ranging from 52 degrees today to upward to 73 degrees on Thursday. Figure 1 | Average Daily Temperatures – Austin/Dallas/Houston Such a change in the weather pattern is being reflected in the day-ahead auction results within the ... » read more
Monday Mar 7, 2022   
California has always been known for its sunshine and glitz and glamour in Southern California from Hollywood to the coastal beaches of San Diego.  Such weather and atmosphere are two things that drive the overall power markets as the former now controls much of the midday block of hours via behind the meter and utility-scaled solar projects while the latter takes on the morning and evening ramp demand profile depending on the time of year.  For example, this past Friday and Saturday delivered more clouds to the region, thus solar generation was substantially lower than what we have seen in the past few weeks. Figure 1 | CAISO Solar Profile – Hourly The graph below is an illustration of both solar and wind potential generation with the former sitting in the top pane and ... » read more
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