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Thursday Jul 6, 2023   
Solar in ERCOT continues to grow, with each month’s average generation profile topping the same month from the prior year, which itself was greater than the profile from the year before that. Figure 1 | ERCOT Monthly and Hourly Average Solar and Wind Profiles, 2021 – Present   In the figure above, ERCOT system-wide wind and solar generation is averaged by month and hour to get to a “typical day” profile for each month. Different colors indicate different years; 2023 is red. So far this year, every month of 2023 has had more solar generation than the same month in the prior year. While some of the winter months have been close to the same (not much new solar is installed in the winter), the summer months have blown last year out of the water. Our next ... » read more
Wednesday Jul 5, 2023   
With the start of summer and Independence Day behind us, the prime time for nuclear outages is also up. Nuclear operators need to perform important maintenance once every year and a half or two years. They schedule going offline during the times when load is lowest during spring and fall. As summer heat starts to build, the grid needs the baseload energy from the nuclear plants. In the last week, the final nuclear plant with scheduled refueling this spring started to return online. Let’s look back on how the spring 2023 nuclear outage season measured up. Figure 1 | Total US Nuclear Outages in Megawatts with Forecast (2021 – 2023) The nuclear outages were off to an early start compared to 2022, surpassing 10 GW in the middle of February. By the time April rolled around, growth ... » read more
Monday Jul 3, 2023   
The sun is shining on the Golden State, which is evident by the current solar generation that works its way onto the grid via behind the meter and utility-scaled resources known as solar farms.  The growth has been impressive for years as the state implemented a Renewable Portfolio Standard more than a decade ago, to which the local load serving entities have been meeting their targets via the sun’s rays. Figure 1 | CAISO Utility-Scaled Solar/Wind Generation The solar owners really like it when the other resources play in their sandbox as it means less curtailments within a given day.  The chart in Figure 1 displays the last seven days of the CAISO solar and wind generation during the midday block of hours. The top pane is tied to the former while the bottom pane ... » read more
Friday Jun 30, 2023   
A flurry of recent EGPS articles discussing battery storage in CAISO and ERCOT (High Dispatch, Low Reward, The Battery Squeeze, and Market Flash: Dome it is: ERCOT Heat!) has me reflecting on batteries, not just within the electric-power industry, but in my everyday world. Whether I’m doing home repair jobs with battery-powered tools, watching my kids whiz around on their hoverboards, or looking up recipes on my phone, I am continually astounded by the energy density and value that Lithium-Ion batteries provide. Battery-powered mobility has eclipsed cars and golf carts to include bikes, motorcycles, one wheels, skateboards, watercraft, not to mention wheelchairs that seemingly keep up with the pace of traffic, which I’m looking forward to someday. See Figure 1 below. Within ... » read more
Thursday Jun 29, 2023   
The month of June has helped SoCal Gas make up significant ground replenishing its gas storage.  At the start of the month, SoCal Gas was looking at the need to put about 0.2 BCF into the ground each day over the summer in order to refill to full by the end of November.  In the intervening four weeks they have been way ahead of the mark, averaging nearly 0.5 BCF per day into storage.  After adding just 7.2 BCF to storage over the month of May, the month of June has seen SoCal’s caverns receive over 13.5 BCF of additional gas.  Part of the story has been SoCal Citygate pricing over PG&E Citygate to incentivize power burns to move out of SoCal’s system and up to the North, but the heart of this pattern has been the very low demand numbers over the course ... » read more
Wednesday Jun 28, 2023   
On June 17th the net discharge of the CAISO fleet provided almost 4 GW to the grid, a record-breaking amount of dispatch that reflects the increasing amount of available battery capacity. The average real-time price for SP15 and NP15 at the time was less than $100/MWh. While not a small amount, especially considering the negative prices operators paid to charge just a few hours before, the price peak of the day was far less than many of the high prices in the real-time market seen earlier this year. The figure below displays an average hourly dispatch profile for batteries for each month in 2023. June only includes the first 20 days of the month. The orange represents batteries discharging to the grid, while the blue is charging. The black line is an average of NP15 and SP15 real-time ... » read more
Tuesday Jun 27, 2023   
Driving to/from Boise, ID is a straight shot on I-84 where seven hours later you arrive at your destination.  The drive goes by rather quickly as three factors come into play, the first is the anticipation of your first stop to refuel the gas tank as it is far enough east where it is legal to pump your own gas!!  Once you get into Idaho, there are still some who sit in their car waiting for the attendant to walk up to the driver’s window only to realize they must get out and put their own card in the machine, select the type of gas and put the nozzle into the opening for the gas tank. Figure 1 | The Portland to Boise Drive The second factor is tracking the railroad infrastructure while driving along the Columbia River.  This one does not come across as much until you ... » read more
Monday Jun 26, 2023   
In this pre-trading NYMEX session the prompt month is holding on the Friday settle of $2.72 as the 15 day outlook is finally bringing seasonal warmth back several regions over the course of the 15-day forecast. Cali and the PNW will start to see sustained above normal temperatures as the dayime highs in Burbank climb from 77 to 87 degrees while Sacramento goes from 81 to 101 degrees by Friday. The Midwest, Midcon and Mid Atlantic currently see sporadic rain throughout the regions keeping the power demand well under normal in NEPOOL, NYISO and PJM.  This will look to change as we roll into the new month as the forecast is calling for warmer temperatures throughout and with that comes the summertime humidity. Figure 1 | Forecasted CDD Changes from Fri to Sunday ... » read more
Friday Jun 23, 2023   
Over the past few days, we have published a couple of newsletter blogs as well as a Market Flash discussing the recent price action in ERCOT, when Real Time prices hit the cap in several hubs. Figure 1 | ERCOT RT Dashboard, 6/17/23 – 6/23/23   The contributing factors to the price spike on June 20th have been well-discussed in the blogs linked above, but another interesting day is the 21st, where pretty much the exact opposite happened compared to the 20th. Starting in the top pane, which shows DA prices in blue and RT in orange (for the North Hub), the RT prices shot above the DA for the afternoon and evening on the 20th, but then in RT on the next day, the prices never got off the ground compared to the DA action. Moving to the next pane, the blue line shows RT load and the ... » read more
Thursday Jun 22, 2023   
A couple days ago on Tuesday there was plenty of excitement down in Texas, when the real-time prices shot up in the early afternoon well above the DA market clear and remained elevated until after 8 pm, reaching the price cap of $5,000 for over an hour.   It’s not the only piece of the puzzle, but one of the factors that can drive these unexpected spikes in real-time prices is when more load shows up than forecasted or when less wind supply is produced than projected.  Both of these were in play on Tuesday afternoon, as shown in the figure below.  The “Wind Delta” pane of the figure shows actual hourly wind generation less the day-ahead forecast, with a similar calculation for load in the “Load Delta” pane below.  On the afternoon of ... » read more
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