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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
Tuesday Jun 15, 2021   
PG&E, the franchise electric and natural gas utility for Northern California, made news last week when they announced the reclassification of 51 BCF of their natural gas storage from working to base gas. It is the largest reclassification we have ever heard of in the natural gas market history.The decision follows last year's retirement of Los Medanos and Pleasant Valley which were two legacy storage assets on the system. The reclassification effectively takes the working gas capacity on the PG&E system down from 118 to just 52 BCF over the past two years. While the move was unexpected, it was not a total surprise to those who have been following the actions of PG&E over the past decade. The utility have been bit by a series of unfortunate tragedies at San Bruno and ... » read more
Monday Jun 14, 2021   
Over the past few months, the focal point in the renewable energy space has been tied to the battery technology making its way to the grid, starting in California where the integration is key due to the solar penetration over the years.  We have discussed how the new capacity is saturating the ancillary service markets and at times trickling into the real-time energy markets (Batteries in CAISO RT Market, where has all the cream gone?) as the midday to evening ramp price delta is present within the market conditions.  Some of the contributing factors tied to the price level continue to be the behind the meter and utility-scaled solar generation profile but there is another supply component adding upward pressure and that is the biggest battery on the grid which is better ... » read more
Friday Jun 11, 2021   
This morning before she left for work, my wife poked her head into my home office and said something to me that would have been unthinkable last week: “It’s cold!”.  After her declaration, I looked down and realized that I was sitting at my desk wearing a sweatshirt instead of the shorts and t-shirt that was my uniform just a few days prior.  This week brought the PNW a brief respite from the summer weather that jumped into high gear at the beginning of June.  The cool weather is coming to an end, however, as the entire West is facing another heat wave as we move into next week, with scorching hot temperatures across California, the Desert Southwest, and much of the Rockies.  The Pacific Northwest is taking a step back from joining in on the party ... » read more
Thursday Jun 10, 2021   
Over the past couple of years, the newest renewable technology to enter the conversation has been battery storage as the penetration of wind and/or solar across CAISO, ERCOT and SPP has been plentiful thus causing intraday volatility when it comes to balancing the system.  With several gigawatts of thermal generation tied up in the ancillary service sector of the grid and coal retiring in the South Central, each grid has been looking for the technology to save the day.  In the West, California still has the old-fashioned resource of hydro generation that is baked into the equation via the transmission lines from the Pacific Northwest as well as that of in-state facilities.  Since the California hydro system is much smaller and the transmission capacity is limited and the ... » read more
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