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Friday Jan 15, 2021   
ERCOT has been a poster child for wind energy in the US, with only SPP rivaling its capacity. Recently, however, more focus has turned towards increasing solar and battery installations. While wind is still unquestionably the dominant renewable resource in Texas, solar generation lines up nicely with the region’s peak load; batteries, meanwhile, are looking forward to the (in)famous ERCOT price spikes. 2020 saw moderate increases in wind capacity, but substantial increases in solar and battery capacity: Figure 1 | ERCOT Installed Capacity by Renewable Technology - 2019/2020 Actuals Figure 1 shows year-on-year installed capacity for batteries, solar, and wind in ERCOT during 2019 and 2020. The existing battery capacity in 2019 was more than doubled in 2020. Solar capacity was almost ... » read more
Thursday Jan 14, 2021   
The Lone Star State is getting a lot of attention these days as the star that we are dependent on for our ray of light each and every day is shining bright.  In the latest EnergyGPS Monthly report (Platinum Package), titled Rising Star(s), we take a look at how renewable technologies have slid into the slot of the up and coming, new resources on the electricity grid to get one step closer to what some deem as a carbon free footprint.  California was the first to approve a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) where everyone was looking at how it was going to play out early, learn from it and then implement what they think is best practices moving forward.  In ERCOT, they have not adopted such a standard, but continue to provide a higher price cap compared to the Golden State ... » read more
Wednesday Jan 13, 2021   
There have been rumblings of late that conditions are setting up for a polar vortex to emerge and make its way into lower Canadian and upper U.S. markets.  This could be the first polar vortex of the 2021 Winter Season and if all the stars align, the most drastic one since 2018.  If it does arrive, we can expect spot gas prices to increase with elevated heating demand. In markets where pipeline capacity can become constrained on heavy winter demand days, we see the gas sector’s residential/commercial consumers get into bidding matches with the power sector.  In these situations, res/comm always wins because shutting consumers’ heat off during a cold spell is not an option.  But shutting one type of power generation off can be an option, if another source of ... » read more
Tuesday Jan 12, 2021   
Coming into the winter the natural gas storage in Alberta was at record levels thanks to a banner injection season. From April through October of last year the province was able to put 240 BCF into the cavern complex taking the inventory up to 425 BCF prior to the start of this winter. Since then it has been on a record withdrawal pace despite the above normal temperatures across the continent. Thanks to an increase in pipeline export volume the Nova Gas system has drawn down 89 BCF in just a little over two months. But now average temperatures are expected to drop from 31 degrees to 2 degrees Fahrenheit.  Figure 1 | Alberta NG Storage Inventory The change in heating demand will take the Intra load up from 6 to 7 BCF per day. In years past this would not be a problem for the system ... » read more
Monday Jan 11, 2021   
As the calendar turned and 2020 went into the books and 2021 was initiated, the Pacific Northwest hydro Water Year was starting to form as the month of December was filled with plenty of precipitation. Since the temperatures were somewhat mild during the holiday season, that meant that the lower elevation levels saw more rainfall while the higher elevated started to see some snowpack accumulation around New Years.  The further you moved north, Central Washington and British Columbia were posted higher snowpack numbers which has helped keep the overall Jan-Jul MAF at The Dalles inching up with the latest sitting around the 96.4 MAF level as late as last week.  This is an interesting number considering we are in a La Nina year which usually equates to colder temperatures and ... » read more
Friday Jan 8, 2021   
In June of 2020, we noted that CAISO curtailment had already exceeded the total amount for 2019. Now, at the beginning of 2021, we can examine the entirety of 2020 curtailments: Figure 1 | Cumulative Renewable Curtialments by Year - Aggregated Total (System and Local) This figure shows a running total of curtailed MWh for every year since 2017. While 2017 and 2018 wound up in roughly the same place—2018 curtailments were even less than 2017 for a lot of the year—there’s an abrupt jump from 2018 to 2019, and an even larger one from 2019 to 2020. In every year, curtailment follows a rough pattern: Q1 has a significant amount, Q2 has a much larger amount, Q3 typically has very little, and Q4 is comparable to Q1. It makes sense that the greatest amount of curtailment would ... » read more
Thursday Jan 7, 2021   
Coming out of the holiday season, the song Let It Snow is still on my mind as the opening lines goes like this. Oh, the weather outside is frightful but the fire inside is delightful And since we've no place to go Let it Snow, Let is Snow, Let it Snow By the time we get into January, the lyrics usually become reality as Mother Nature usually delivers some frigid temperatures that are widespread across the entire country with a focus on the Midwest, Ohio Valley and Northeast.  That is not the case so far this year as the first seven days have delivered temperatures that are in the middle of the fairway with a precipitation pattern that that is going to keep the snow off the ground. Figure 1 | WSI 15-Day HDD Forecast - Daily The graph above represents the daily aggregated HDD levels ... » read more
Wednesday Jan 6, 2021   
A few years ago there was a T.V. commercial for Charles Schwab with the theme “Timing is Everything”.  I remember it because whenever it would come on my wife’s eyes would start to turn all misty like she was cutting onions or something.  The commercial takes a direct shot at the viewer’s heart-strings by starting with a satisfied middle-aged guy in front of his home office computer, presumably trading online, with the narrator saying, “You know how timing is everything.”  This was followed by flashbacks to our hero’s earlier days with the narrator explaining how he got the timing right on wooing the gal who becomes his wife; timing a move into their first home; timing when to teach his pee-wee football kid a trick play; teaching ... » read more
Tuesday Jan 5, 2021   
Last spring the crude industry was hit with one of the biggest shocks in the industry history when demand destruction from the COVID epidemic along with the break down of OPEC quotas forced WTI prices into negative territory. The result was a collapse in crude production all over the globe. In the Lower 48, output collapsed from 12 to 10 million barrels per day. Along with that collapse of crude production the output of associated natural gas fell. Total Lower 48 production dropped from 95 to 87 BCF per day. But now with the long recovery of oil demand across the globe, WTI prices have rebounded to $48 per barrel. The problem is that the crude production has been slow to respond. Despite the recovery of the WTI price associated gas volumes have remained stagnant at 92 BCF per day since ... » read more
Monday Jan 4, 2021   
2020 has been something of a launchpad year for grid scale batteries. We saw our 1054 MW of battery capacity across the US balloon to 1435 MW in 2020, but that only begins to tell the whole story. We also saw the largest battery system in the world, Gateway Energy Storage, come online in August with 250MW/250MWh of capacity. That record is unlikely to stand for long, no matter how you measure it. There are 4 separate projects sized 250 MW or larger which are scheduled to come online next year, and 15 projects with 250 MWh or more of energy storage. In 2020, California’s large IOUs procured 1580 MW of battery capacity across three separate RFOs, with projects scheduled for completion in 2021, 2022, and 2023. Just a few weeks ago, Public Utility Commission of Nevada approved 338 MW of ... » read more
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