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Monday Jun 1, 2015   
When you watch a horse race of any magnitude, the first 3/4 of a mile is designed around each jockey trying to get their horse in position for the final big push as they come around the final turn and make their way to the finish line. Since they all have to get to the same destination, there are some horses that have to put on an all out sprint while others are just trying to hold on.  So what does this have to do with West Power, in particular the Pacific Northwest, you should ask? Since we are into June now, the Pacific Northwest's hydro year is on the final ... » read more
Friday May 29, 2015   
Yesterday’s EIA storage number showed an injection of 112 BCF, which was about 7 BCF above expectations. The 1 BCF/D excess was a bearish price signal to the market and in turn the prompt month (now July) ended up trading down $0.135 or about 5%. Prior to July being the prompt month, it traded between the $2.784 and $3.07 marks for the month of May.  The shift down yesterday sliced right through the lower end of the band as it ended up settling just under the $2.71 mark. Figure 1 | July Henry Hub Settle Prices prior to it being prompt month ... » read more
Thursday May 28, 2015   
As we start a new month next week (June), the forecasts continue to show some heat moving through both Northern and Southern California.  Per the CAISO demand forecast, the peak load looks to be coming in around 32,000 MW.  As you can see in the graph to the right in Figure 1, the load is dispersed across all three load regions with SCE and SDGE having the biggest spike up; whereas PGAE is showing a steady increase through June 3rd.  Figure 1 | CAISO Peak Demand - Daily Such a heat event will trigger the solar output to increase as well with the ... » read more
Wednesday May 27, 2015   
Over the past couple of weeks, McNary flows have been averaging north of 212 Kfcs across the 24 hour period. Part of this has been due to increased side and Lower Snake flows.  The latter has been averaging around 62-65 kcfs range over the past week or so.  This is up almost 10-15 Kfcs from the middle of the month. Figure 1 | Little Goose Hourly Flows - Lower Snake Add to it, flows out of Canada have ticked up as International Boundary has gone from averaging just over 100 Kcfs to pushing through 114 Kcfs yesterday.  Up until yesterday, Grand Coulee ... » read more
Tuesday May 26, 2015   
As we head into the last week of May 2015, the weather pattern for the West is starting to shift to the warm side and should continue to do so as we move into the month of June.  For example, up in the Pacific Northwest the likes of Portland and Spokane are looking at highs in the low 80's tomorrow and by Friday some forecasters are calling for the high to jump up into the upper 80's. Figure 1 | Portland Temperatures - Actuals and Forecast This will translate into more demand, especially during the middle of the day and evening ramp hours as people will be ... » read more
Friday May 22, 2015   
Over the past 15 years, the North Gila/Hassayampa transmission line has always been noteworthy due to the name itself, but more so as it is tied to the Palo Verde transmission line per the CAISO nodal market model.  When work has been performed on the line, the Palo Verde branch group gets derated which restricts flows into California and causes congestion.  Such congestion usually pushes up SP15 prices and down the Palo Verde node.  For example, this past week, the Palo Verde line has been derated and congestion on the line has been as high ... » read more
Thursday May 21, 2015   
With Memorial Day weekend upon us and the end of May right around the corner, it is time to take a look at how the Pacific Northwest water year is playing out and what are the key elements to keep an eye on as we head into June. Let us start with the lastest ESP runs.  Over the past two weeks, the overall MAF for the Apr-Jul time period for The Dalles (TDA) has dropped another MAF. This puts the total MAF at 55.0 or 69% of normal. Figure 1 | NWRFC ESP Apr-Jul - The Dalles As you can see in the graph, the most recent runs have been in a pretty tight band. » read more
Wednesday May 20, 2015   
US natural gas exports to Mexico have grown rapidly, more than doubling between 2009 and 2013. This year, the combination of weak US prices and steadily rising Mexico demand, has pushed exports up compared to last year. As you can see in the graph below, southbound flows have averaged over 1/2 bcf/d higher year on year. Figure 1 | US to Mexico Exports The rise in the flow south has come from the Desert Southwest (DSW) and Texas. Starting with the former, the DSW exports have increased thanks to less demand from Cali (with storage there much more full then ... » read more
Tuesday May 19, 2015   
35 years ago yesterday, the Pacific Northwest was blanketed in ash dust as Mt. St. Helens erupted.  Fast forward to this year and as you drive home in Portland, the blue skies to the North have this flat mountain staring you in the eye with little snowpack remaining due to the abnormal warm winter weather we have seen as a high ridge parked itself off the Pacific Ocean most of the winter and spring season. This did not stop the hydro system from making a push yesterday as the overall 24 hour generation on the system jumped up to 13,500 MWa, which was up over ... » read more
Monday May 18, 2015   
Over the past two weeks, the Technical Management Team (TMT) meetings have been exciting to say the least as the one on May 5th concluded to bring the flows down from the 180 Kcfs level to the 165 Kcfs level at McNary (MCN).  The fish agencies agreed to it in the meeting, but you could sense that all eyes were going to be on the fish and their actual number count as they make their way downstream.  From system operation standpoint, this decision made sense for reliability on the grid as the current water year's MAF continued to shift down.  For ... » read more
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