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Tuesday Jun 29, 2021   
The focus of the news over the past week has been the record temperatures in the Pacific Northwest. Portland hit 115 degrees on Sunday which was hotter than Phoenix and Las Vegas. The heat dome looks to be breaking as of this morning but the above normal bias is in place until further notice. Over on the East Coast they are experiencing their own heat wave that started this weekend when temperatures throughout the Mid Atlantic posted 1-5 degrees over forecast with daytime highs pushing into the low 90's. With high humidity the heat index moved into the mid 90's. The bigger issue was that overnight lows never got below 65 degrees forcing cooling demand to run around the clock.  Figure 1 | Philadelphia High/Low Temperatures for May-June 2021  The warmer temperatures over the ... » read more
Monday Jun 28, 2021   
After several long emails from the Clash at the Border (OR and WA) soccer tournament's coordinator, Friday's matches were played with 30 minute halves and one water break.  Most matches were moved to grass fields given that the temperature were rising and the rubber particles that lie beneath the fake grass tend to make the material 3-7 degrees warmer depending on the time of day.  For those teams that did play on turf, the Friday night temperature of 94 degrees felt more like 102 degrees.  There was plenty of water and a slight wind so one could be convinced that the conditions were manageable going forward.  An email came out earlier on Friday stating that the tournament was cancelling the Saturday afternoon matches due to the heat conditions now exceeding 105 ... » read more
Friday Jun 25, 2021   
By Tim Belden Photo courtesy of Chris Taylor I went swimming last week. Against my will. In a river. In Idaho. The water was not nearly as cold as it could have been. And that has implications for electricity markets in the western US this summer. Let me explain … I took a raft trip down the main stem of Idaho’s Salmon River with six friends. The Salmon River, which is the longest un-dammed river in the continental United States, is a major tributary to the Snake River, slicing through the mountains and valleys of the River of No Return Wilderness. Access to the Salmon River is strictly controlled via a lottery system. It is one of the hardest permits to get. The “controlled season” (when you need to enter via the lottery) began on June 20th of this year. My ... » read more
Thursday Jun 24, 2021   
Electrical load growth has been on our minds a lot here at EnergyGPS. ERCOT, CAISO, and the Desert Southwest have all struggled to provide energy during extreme (but not unprecedented) weather events over the last 12 months. Some of these trying demand conditions have occurred even as states were in various stages of lockdown, which should have provided some load relief. As the pandemic continues to recede across the US, we are seeing some combination of masked demand growth from last year and fresh new demand hitting the grid. Even under more moderate weather conditions, we have been seeing loads come in higher this year compared to previous years at simillar temperatures.  So why is this happening one might ask?  There are many factors that are likely contributing to ... » read more
Wednesday Jun 23, 2021   
Global LNG prices just keep marching higher.  Gas demand in both Europe and Asia this summer-to-date has been running extraordinarily strong due to unusual heat and widespread disruptions to non-gas-fired sources of generation.  This is preventing storage inventories from building on a pace sufficient to indicate there will be enough gas in the ground headed into winter.  For Europe, there is still a good degree of uncertainty around the timing of completion of the NordStream 2 project that could provide a new source of gas supply.  Amid this environment, forward prices keep rallying to attract as many LNG cargoes as possible. European demand has been buoyed this summer by heat and disruptions to non-gas-fired sources.    June is on pace to be the ... » read more
Tuesday Jun 22, 2021   
The Desert Southwest made headlines last week when on peak power prices soared from $31 to $1470 per MWh. Usually when prices spike in this manner it is event or outage driven where the grid loses a key piece of infrastructure. For the DSW their loss of key infrastructure occurred two years ago when the 1.6 GWa coal fired Navajo generating station was forced into retirement. Under normal conditions the grid has more than enough resources to meet its needs. But when temperatures are driven to much above normal levels there is not enough rampable power supply to meet the peak hours of the day. Power prices had to rise enough to incentivize power imports from the Intermountain as well as California power grids to supplement supply. The problem is that as summer progresses the call on peaking ... » read more
Monday Jun 21, 2021   
As the month of June starts its final third and the first days of summer are upon us the power and natural gas markets have quite exciting throughout the spring with the West region presented with early heat, the South Central mostly tied up in overcast skies with plenty of rain off the Gulf of Mexico but showed a spurt of heat last week to push ERCOT's power demand to record June levels.  The Midwest and Northeast have been taking on all types of weather the past few weeks with some colder temperatures with precipitation only to get a few days of above normal temperatures.  The natural gas landscape has been saddled with issues tied to the TETCO pipeline thus taking the market fundamentals to reform themselves as less gas can make it down to the Gulf of Mexico region. The ... » read more
Friday Jun 18, 2021   
Back in May, we wrote about ERCOT’s 'Tale of Two Curves' comparing the front and back of the curve and the different drivers of each. Now, in June, there are some interesting things going on with the Jan-Feb ERCOT Round the Clock contract that we have highlighted in our latest Newsletter Platinum Special Report titled 'ERCOT's Winter Block'.  The report highlights how the fact tied to the February winter storm drove up the value of the 2022 referenced months due to scarcity issues that were present.  We often compare ERCOT’s scarcity pricing mechanism to marbles in an urn, where every marble represents a price interval. Every month, ERCOT draws about 2900 marbles (one for each 15-minute pricing interval). While most marbles represent normal or even ... » read more
Thursday Jun 17, 2021   
Coming out of the weekend, the weather delivered high temperatures across Texas.  Highs of 87 degrees in Austin, 88 in Houston, and 89 degrees in Dallas on Monday were the start of a warming spell that is a sign of things to as we look ahead to the summer months.  Load reached its highest levels since mid-February, eclipsing 69.5 GW at it’s peak on both Monday and Tuesday.  Figure 1 below plots daily ERCOT HL demand by the daily temperature in Houston during June in the last three years.  The three blue points in the shape of triangles represent this Monday and Tuesday, as well as the prior Friday, 6/11.  These most recent points show demand increasing over days in 2019 and 2020 with similar temperatures as a possible sign of structural changes to demand in ... » read more
Wednesday Jun 16, 2021   
The summer season's first notable tropical storm system is brewing off the coast of Mexico.  Current projections indicate the system poses greater potential for demand destruction than supply-side disruptions.   Tropical storm system "Invest 92L" has emerged in the southwestern corner of the Gulf of Mexico (GoM) in Mexico's Bay of Campeche.  Forecasters have been progressively increasing the probability of the system becoming a cyclone within the next several days.  Yesterday, the National Hurricane Center upped its probability of a cyclone forming within 48 hours from 10% to 40%, and is now giving an 80% chance a cyclone forms sometime in the next five days.    Figures 1a and 1b | At left is the location of tropical storm system "Invest 92L" (image via ... » read more
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