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Tuesday Jan 10, 2023   
Starting around the holiday season (end of December) and continuing on into the New Year, PJM coal output has done adisappearing act. The climb seen in December 2022 can be attributed to the simple fact that the region was staring at an extreme weather pattern leading up to the holiday season.  Once that storm passed, Mother Nature reversed her course by bringing warmer weather into the fold to which quickly dropped the net load numbers across the region. Due to retirements over the years and the moderate weather, the current coal megawatt output is record breaking to start the year and it comes at a time when natural gas storage inventories across the regions have started to swell.  Since the thermal stacks have been evolving over the years as more coal plants retire ... » read more
Monday Jan 9, 2023   
The ERCOT grid has plenty of sunshine to go around, hence why so many people enjoy living in the Lone Star State.  Over the years, solar farm developers have enjoyed the blue skies as well given the overall capacity being captured by the sun’s rays has increased roughly 3.0 GW since the end of 2021 where it sat just under 7.0 GW. Figure 1 | ERCOT Monthly Solar Breakdown This is a similar growth pattern seen in 2021 which was a step up from the 2.0 GW spurt the prior year.  Once can see the ERCOT solar growth in the graph above as the cumulative peak generation is represented by the line with each year a different color.  The bars below the line are the month average generation from the solar farms whereas the top pane is what we call the capacity factor which is ... » read more
Friday Jan 6, 2023   
By Gwendolyn Buchanan   You don’t need to have been following energy markets in great technical detail over the last few years to know that California’s seems to face constant challenges. Demand keeps growing, with the latest all-time record set this past September. Drought contributes to low hydro availability, not only in CAISO but in the entire WECC. Wildfires pose a risk to electricity and gas infrastructure, and in turn, gas pipelines and power transmission lines can potentially spark wildfires. Figure 1 | Kathernine Blunt's Book - California Burning   It's this last point that WSJ reporter Katherine Blunt dives into in her book California Burning, published this past August. More specifically, after opening with a description of the 2018 Camp Fire, she ... » read more
Thursday Jan 5, 2023   
After an unusually dry start to the 2023 water year-not just in the Pacific Northwest, but throughout most of the Western United States—it seems like the tide has turned, just in time as the calendar flipped over to the new year just a few days ago.  Over New Year’s weekend, California was hit with a significant storm and is bracing for another atmospheric river borne weather event this afternoon that is expected to bring extensive rain, winds, and widespread flooding to the region.  Over in the Mountain West, the story has been a massive blanket of snow dropped across Utah and Wyoming.  Utah’s Sundance ski resort saw 42 inches of snow added to the slopes over a 48-hour period.  The story up in the Northwest is different, however.  While the PNW ... » read more
Wednesday Jan 4, 2023   
In the week before Christmas, PG&E CityGate started Monday at $30, jumped over $40, fell to $25, and then was up to $57 all before the holidays were over. Western natural gas prices were a roller coaster in December with extended cold weather and tightness in the Pacific Northwest. Along with high gas prices and competition on the ties came elevated power prices. EnergyGPS has written about the opportunities for batteries in these conditions in ‘The Cheer - When I Root…..’, ‘Battery Battle Cry’ and most recently in the special report titled ‘Capturing the Arbitrage’. The high gas and power prices meant more chances to discharge at incredibly high rates and ultimately bring in more profit. While the opportunities were certainly available, the ... » read more
Tuesday Jan 3, 2023   
Welcome to 2023! The last weeks of 2022 ended with a bang. After weeks of building cold throughout the Midwest and East the stars aligned sending polar air down into the Lower 48 for the Christmas holiday weekend. Temperatures plunged to negative territory throughout the Midcon, Midwest and Northeast. Chicago and parts of the Ohio Valley saw overnight lows dip to minus 12 degrees just in time for Christmas. The cold sent total Lower 48 ResCom demand to 58 BCF and total Lower 48 gas demand to record territory. This week the EIA will publish the storage inventory change from the demand event. The expectation is for a 265 BCF draw from the caverns. This change in storage inventory also includes the largest single production freeze off on record with 15 BCF of receipts forced off the pipeline ... » read more
Friday Dec 30, 2022   
Throughout this past year, we’ve published market flashes, blogs, and articles centered around ERCOT’s new ORDC rules, and comparing what prices would have looked like under the 2021 rules to what actually played out this year. Today, we’re revisiting the scarcity event that occurred in ERCOT over the holiday weekend, and again asking the question, what would this event have looked like in 2021? First, an overview of the event: Figure 1 | ERCOT Real Time Dashboard, 12/19/22 – 12/25/22 Prices in the real time market (orange line, top pane) jumped on the 23rd as load had been climbing the entire previous day, hovered around 70 GW overnight, and didn’t truly let up until Christmas Day. Meanwhile, wind generation was not only falling steadily all day on the ... » read more
Thursday Dec 29, 2022   
For years natural gas and coal have formed the backbone of dispatchable thermal electricity generation in markets across the country—so much so that we often refer to the sum of gas and coal production for a given period as “total thermal gen”.  With the slow but steady phasing out of coal as a resource in the US—starting in the West but moving into the Midwest and Northeast as both MISO and PJM faced significant cuts in coal capacity over the past 18 months—it may be time to rethink that paradigm.  The events of this past holiday weekend in PJM illustrate the changing conditions.  The chilly winter conditions heavily impacted the grid from both a demand and supply-side perspective, starting with the spate of freeze-offs in the region that ... » read more
Wednesday Dec 28, 2022   
The old saying ‘the eyes of Texas are upon us’ had the words altered a bit over the holiday weekend and the new saying went more like ‘all eyes are on Texas as another cold weather is upon us’.  Government agencies, ERCOT management and the actual system operators were watching Mother Nature’s every move as they were all kids trying to track the pathway of Santa Claus and his reindeer on Christmas Eve.  As we have all seen by now, the storm trackers delivered some of the coldest temperatures since the February 2021 period that nearly crumbled the ERCOT power grid and disrupted the natural gas pipeline infrastructure. Figure 1 | All Eyes are on Texas This go around had everyone on high alert leading up to the event as the ‘what could ... » read more
Tuesday Dec 27, 2022   
The news over the past week has been all about the deep freeze that gripped the Lower 48. From coast to coast the country saw below normal temperatures with some regions experiencing departures from normal of over 30 degrees. It was one of the coldest stretches of December weather on record pushing the country's natural gas demand to record levels. Since the impact was so widespread it also caused production receipts to freeze off in every major producing basin. Total Lower 48 natural gas production fell by 14 BCF or 15% of total output into the holiday weekend and is just starting to recover today. It will be a slow climb out of the production hole and could last up to two weeks before volumes are fully restored.   Figure 1 | US HDD Forecast Matrix for Dec 12-26 - Departures ... » read more
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