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Tuesday Dec 22, 2015   
Over the weekend, we started to get a glimpse into how the first few days of 2016 were going to look and what we saw was some colder weather.  This has been a rare occurrence as of late given that the 8-14 day period has been showing nothing by red/maroon across the Midwest and Eastern parts of the country.  This change in the weather pattern prompted the January contract to move up $0.144 to close out at $1.911. Figure 1 | Nymex Prompt Month Daily Close   What is pretty amazing is, who would have expected the January contract to be sitting below the ... » read more
Monday Dec 21, 2015   
As I watched the Green Bay Packers play the Oakland Raiders yesterday, it gave me a good glimpse of how much rain has been falling in Northern California over the past two days.  At kickoff, there was a light sprinkle coming down and by the time the first quarter was coming to an end, the rain picked up.  After halftime, not only did the rain continue to fall, but the temperatures were dropping as well.  Figure 1 | California Snow Water Equivalent Chart - Northern California As you can see in Figure 1, over the last week or so, this has been the trend ... » read more
Friday Dec 18, 2015   
As we discussed in yesterday's newsletter, it looks like Congress will pass a budget bill that includes a five year renewal of the tax credits for wind and solar. This has become a familiar dance whereby the tax credits either expire or are threatened to expire. The Republicans oppose their renewal/extension. The Democrats favor renewal. And a deal gets done as the year draws to a close or the New Year has just started to renew the tax credits. What's noteworthy this year is the five year extension period instead of the typical two year extension. I guess eliminating ... » read more
Thursday Dec 17, 2015   
The energy news keeps coming at us at a fast and furious pace. The bear market in crude oil and natural gas prices continues to grind on. On Tuesday afternoon natural gas prices fell to a 16-year low. The last time we've seen prices this low was when the dot com bubble was in full swing (remember Flooz?) and the nation was readying itself for the Y2K disaster (all hype). Oil prices continue to drop, with WTI trading around $35 per barrel and Brent trading at about $37 per barrel. Low energy prices have led to weak balance sheets, and those weak balance sheets ... » read more
Wednesday Dec 16, 2015   
There has been a lot of talk about the leak at the Aliso Canyon Natural Gas storage facility in Southern California over the past few weeks.  If you are not aware of the situation, Southern California Gas workers reported a leak in the largest storage facility in their system in late October 2015.  Since that time, engineers at the company have been working around the clock to figure out the best method to fix the leak. As of right now, the latest idea is to build a relief well along side the storage facility, in fact they want to build two just in ... » read more
Tuesday Dec 15, 2015   
Typically if you turn on the weather channel this time of year you would see blue swirls over the East Coast of the United States followed by the newscaster saying something about preparations for the first “Nor'easter” of the year.  For those of you lucky enough to have never experienced one, A "Nor'easter" a storm system that forms over the Northeastern coast as cold continental air clashes with warm ocean air.  The results are hurricane force winds, tons of snow, and lots of heating demand. This results in frigid ... » read more
Monday Dec 14, 2015   
December is an interesting month as the new water year is right around the corner and skiers are anxious to get up to the mountains given there is snowpack at the resorts.  Prior to this weekend, that has not been the case as the precipitation pattern across the region was met with a warm front leaving the region with more rainfall rather than snowpack.  In fact, last week the Portland metro area saw record rainfall hit over a two day span that led to major flooding of downtown's with a river running through it. From a hydro system standpoint, these side ... » read more
Friday Dec 11, 2015   
Over the past week, the Pacific Northwest has seen record rainfall over a two day span (4.76 inches fell between Monday and Tuesday).  Such an event brought record wind speeds to the area as well as some people were reporting that gusts got up to 140 MPH up on Mt Hood.  Yesterday, the weather pattern saw the high and low pressure system collide to where a tornado touched down just north of Portland in Battle Ground, WA where the wind speed hit 104 MPH. All this has prompted the overall wind generation in the Pacific Northwest to be strong this week as BPA's ... » read more
Thursday Dec 10, 2015   
After experiencing the rainfall and wind gusts the past few days in the Pacific Northwest, one has to wonder if Mother Nature is ever going to take this show south as there has been plenty of hype around an El Nino winter in Northern California.  I am not a weather forecaster, but I do believe things are setting up for El Nino to kick in over the course of the next couple of weeks. Figure 1 | NOAA Precipitation Pattern Over the weekend is the first round of showers expecting to move through Northern California.  With the overnight temperatures shifting down ... » read more
Wednesday Dec 9, 2015   
A couple of things come to mind over the past two days as I drive through Portland hitting all the big puddles that take up most of the intersection.  The puddles are there because the drains are clogged with the leaves that have fallen from the trees and massive amounts of rain that is moving through the city has nowhere to go.  Back to the things on my wind, the first thing is the memories of this summer and fall when the skies were blue and there was not a cloud in the sky.  Since the spring was rather mild as well,  the days of blasting ... » read more
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