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Friday Jul 10, 2020   
These are exciting and difficult times in the electricity and natural gas markets. I'm not talking about right now -- as in how the markets are dealing with the current economic conditions. Rather, I'm talking about making good decisions related to the long term value of assets. It's exciting because de-carbonizing the grid is happening at the same time as technological and manufacturing innovation. The result is declining costs for new resources and an increasingly large buffet of things to choose from. I've always thought the "easiest" days for development were the early years of the QF contracts -- from the late 1980s to the mid 1990s. Developers had to outwork or outsmart a very sleepy utility industry. The "easiest" days for traders probably ran from 1995 through 2005 -- a ... » read more
Thursday Jul 9, 2020   
A price signal usually does the trick when it comes to getting the power and natural gas grids to balance.  The common terminology in both markets for such balancing is the word 'spread'.   If you talk to market participants, they formulate a conversation about the spread between two markets to explain how the supply/demand picture will play out.  In the gas sector, it is usually tied to the pipeline flows being max'd out and internal demand is high enough that you have to get power burns off the local system.  Once this happens, the power burn consumption resides in another region and the megawatts will be moved across the transmission lines that are in place.  If the demand for power is high enough in a region, the transmission line will meet its limit and ... » read more
Wednesday Jul 8, 2020   
The acronyms are run deep in Texas as the University of Texas goes by 'UT' while College Station graduates go by 'A&M', which formally stands for Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas (Texas A&M).  if you drive futhur north you land in Dallas where the Mustangs of 'SMU' call home.  Southern Methodist University is famed for its football program getting caught up in a scandal that saw the NCAA dissemble the football program back in 1987.  Just to the east of SMU sits a small univeristy in Fort Worth, Texas with a nickname of the Horned Frogs or better known as 'TCU'.  The purple and white colors represent that of Texas Christian University, whcih has an enrollment of 10,500 students as any given time. Figure 1 TCU and SMU  There are several ... » read more
Tuesday Jul 7, 2020   
It has been a long three months of social distancing and lock down for my family (Stebbines). The efforts to avoid COVID contact started back in February when we had several neighborhood doctors warn elderly residents about the coming pandemic. By and large we have been disciplined about hand washing, face masks and avoiding unnecessary trips into public. It has worked. My family and those that live around me have been able to avoid catastrophe. But the cost has been the lack of comfort we have previously enjoyed. Prior to the outbreak we could come and go as we pleased never giving care to transmitting a virus. This has taken a toll on the teen age kids. They miss their friends and have become anxious about increasing contact this fall when they go back to school.  Because we got so ... » read more
Monday Jul 6, 2020   
As we start the first full week of July, the summer heat is upon us as the Midwest is topping the 90 degree mark as daytime highs while the likes of New York and other surrounding demand centers are looking at highs in the upper 80's with plenty of humidity.  In fact, over the next 48 hours, the weather pattern is going to bring some thunderstorms to the region that is shifting up its power demand load profile. Figure 1 | NYISO Daily Power Demand Profile - Next 7 Days The heat is not isolated to the Midwest and Eastern seaboard as the Southeast and South Central felt some wamer weather over the long 4th of July weekend.  The upcoming week is going to give way to higher wind generation which in turn will actually drive down the overall net load profile within ERCOT and ... » read more
Thursday Jul 2, 2020   
This 4th of July is going to be a little different than years past for many as the family trips over the long holiday weekend have been postponed, camp sites are functioning but still do not have the energy that warrants enjoying smores around the campfire with friends/family and the firework displays in some cities have been postponed to limit the bigger crowds along a waterfront of some sort.  Since the celebrations are going to be few and far between, I thought it would be a good time to celebration the EnergyGPS Newsletter Product as it has been around for over 18 months now and growing with clients on a daily basis.  The EnergyGPS Newsletter product offering was designed to allow individuals like yourself to stay on top of pertinent topics in the energy space on a ... » read more
Wednesday Jul 1, 2020   
We have written about the AC de-rate for the month of June 2020 in several of our daily/weekly reports as it has impacted both the power and natural gas markets across the West.  For example, the excess hydro generation in the Pacific Northwest along with the de-rated AC transmission line has forced the Midc heavy and light load to price itself out of the gas stack most of the month.  This has led to the both GTN and NWP pipeline power burn nominations to average .206 BCF/d for the month whereas June 2019 averaged .587 BCF/d.  The .381 BCF/d delta is a big number considering the fact that natural gas prices have dropped, which is usually an opportunity for gas plants to beat out the other thermal units in the supply stack.  The problem in the Pacific Northwest is the ... » read more
Tuesday Jun 30, 2020   
The rally in the natural gas spot market stems from the grid ramping up its power burn demand from units sourced by the molecules on the pipelines.  Some of this demand stems from Mother Nature keeping the power profiles at summertime levels with the renewable penetration waning in places such as ERCOT and SPP as we move into a new month.  In our latest article published, 'How wide is net?', we detailed the key moving parts to the recent shift down and what it would take to move the needle back into the middle of the range of the current prompt month contact level.  At the end of the day it takes demand on the system and with the power burns hitting 38 BCF/d on Monday and estimated to top the 39.5 BCF/d mark for today, the June monthly average will exceed last year's level ... » read more
Monday Jun 29, 2020   
The old saying "when it rains it pours" could not be more fitting to a region that gets plenty of rainfall throughout the year.  That region, of course, is the Pacfic Northwest as another Water Year is coming to an end.  This weekend was not about how Mother Nature drops precipitation on the region at any given period from November of the previous year though the month of June. Instead, it is was about how much snowpack there is at the higher elevation, the lack of power demand on the grid, strong wind days and the circumstances around the transmission capacity reductions on the major lines heading into California.  As the end of the day, the events listed were more impactful to the Midc prices than any weather event Mother Nature could throw at the system in the form of a ... » read more
Friday Jun 26, 2020   
Despite the strong environmental ethic of its denizens, the Pacific Northwest has been a dead zone for renewable energy development over the last decade.  Of course the power system has its enormous hydro renewable resource base and a strong conservation ethic that began in the 1980s, with the passage of the Pacific Northwest Electric Power Planning and Conservation Act.  Despite the region's particularly good wind resource base, wind energy deployment in Oregon and Washington has been largely stalled since 2012. Current installed capacity has reached 6,200 MW.  This is a level that will impress your neighbor but we know that's a yawn in comparison to the installed capacity of  ERCOT, SPP, or MISO.  The PNW has no centralized power market or regional ... » read more
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