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Monday Apr 11, 2016   
With the warmer weather moving through the Pacific Northwest last week, the Northwest River Forecast Center (NWRFC) started to increase the overall flows on both the Snake and Columbia River tributaries to where this week is showing the former flowing over triple digits by mid-week while the latter has Grand Coulee jumping up to 150 kcfs by Wednesday. Figure 1 | EnergyGPS 10 Day Hydro Generation and Flows Putting both of these together takes the McNary flows from averaging around 240 kcfs last Friday up to 293 kcfs on the 12th and 307 kcfs by the 13th.  At these ... » read more
Friday Apr 8, 2016   
Will the California duck fly to Texas sometime soon?   Despite the fact that ERCOT and the CAISO have very different approaches to designing and operating electricity markets, the markets have ended up with the highest concentration of renewables in North America. What happens in one market can foreshadow what may happen in the other. Texas has led the charge in wind development. California has led the charge in solar development. With declining solar panel prices and a tremendous solar resource in Texas, the busbar price for solar projects in Texas keeps ... » read more
Thursday Apr 7, 2016   
California has been breaking records when it comes to temperatures for this time of year over the past couple of days.  This has been reflected in the overall load profiles across all of the load serving entities. Figure 1 | CAISO Peak Load - Actual and Forecast With the heat comes the lack of wind across the state as well.  As you can see in Figure 2 below, the overall wind output has been down across both regions over the past couple of days. Figure 2 | CAISO Wind Generation - Actual/Forecast You can see that the wind picks up in the North today, while ... » read more
Wednesday Apr 6, 2016   
Monther Nature played a good April Fools joke on the Northeast as April (1st) started out with warm weather and some tranquility.  How different a weekend makes as Spring has been put on hold in the Northeast as the first full week of April has brought freezing temperatures and snowfall to many parts of New England. Such weather has caused an increase in the overall res/com demand and has wreaked havoc on the current state of the power system in the Northeast. Some of this is due the derate at Stony Point on the Algonquin gas pipeline.  The scheduled ... » read more
Tuesday Apr 5, 2016   
Over the past few years April has not only been the start of injection season but also the start of summer coal capacity retirements. Last spring almost 13 GW's of coal capacity was retired in favor of new renewable or combined cycle generation. Power burns responded by growing over 2 BCF per day in Q2 2015 alone. There is another round of coal retirements planned this April as well. This is a different year. We do not expect to see any increased power burns this April associated with the shut down of the 4000 MW's of coal capacity listed in Figure 1. Figure 1 | April ... » read more
Monday Apr 4, 2016   
Early last week, the office threw out a 74 degree high choice market at the Portland International Airport (KPDX). The stipulation was that the gauge has to top that mark sometime between Wednesday and Friday last week.  As we ended up watching the hourly reading, Wednesday reached 73 degrees where Thursday sat right at the mark. By Friday, a little cloud cover was expected to move in, but towards the end of the day, we saw the 75 degree mark intra-hour. This just gives you an indication that the Pacific Northwest has turned the corner to Spring now that we are ... » read more
Friday Apr 1, 2016   
In a highly contested decision, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio ruled in favor of First Energy and American Electric Power to subsidize the operation of seven coal plants and one nuclear power plant in the name of grid reliability. The ruling was released earlier today and guarantees a rate of return for the following power plants within the state of Ohio: Figure 1 | Ohio Power Plants Covered Under the March 31, 2016 PUCO Ruling   As you can see in Figure 1, the BCF equivalent gas displacement to this ruling is just under 1.4 BCF/d (the coal plants listed ... » read more
Thursday Mar 31, 2016   
Heading into April there are multiple factors that will tighten power markets across the Northeastern United States. In previous newsletters we have discussed two bullish factors that are expected to impact the natural gas markets beginning in April. The first of which is the end of withdrawal requirements at numerous storage facilities across the country.  Once the requirements are lifted storage operators will have increased flexibility to inject gas, bringing more buyers to the market.  The increased demand will tighten the cash to prompt month spread for ... » read more
Wednesday Mar 30, 2016   
Move over Earth, Wind and Fire, there is a new band touring the state of California called Solar, Hydro, Imports and Wind.  The band was formed a couple of years ago and the rendition of 'Shining Star' and 'That's the Way of the World' really took off.  They made a big splash this year by adding the 4th member to the band (Hydro).  So far this year, they have had three number one songs on the Billboard's top 50 songs, they are called the 'The Duck's Belly', 'No need for Natural Gas' and 'Windy Days Ahead'.  If you get a chance you have to go ... » read more
Tuesday Mar 29, 2016   
Back in 2007 when Henry Hub natural gas prices were $7.00 per MMBTU, a decision was made at the Tennessee Valley Authority to go ahead and complete the construction of the Watts Bar 2 nuclear power plant. Construction on the plant was originally started in 1972 and suspended in 1986 when the energy infrastructure in the United States was considered overbuilt. When TVA approved the completion of the 1150 MW plant in 2007 the cost was expected to be 2.5 billion dollars. After the Fukushima disaster in Japan, the NRC mandated that TVA make significant safety enhancements ... » read more
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