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Thursday Nov 12, 2020   
As a child, I remember opening up a Christmas present where inside was this toy that was named Stretch Armstrong.  It was a gel-filled action figure that you could pull on the arms, stretch its legs or twist its torso in a way that is not physically possible to the human body.  Once you let go of the figure, it did not take long for the body to reform itself to its original form.  Over the years, the action figure came back to life in 2016 when a toy manufacturer re-shelved the toy in its original form. Figure 1 | Stretch Armstrong - Gel-Filled Action Figure The action figure comes to mind when you look at the implied heat rates tied to the PJM and NYISO markets over the past week or so.  If you recall, Mother Nature dropped some colder weather on the ... » read more
Tuesday Nov 10, 2020   
Record warmth across the Midcon, Midwest and Northeast has been the dominant factor in the balancing this month. From the last week of October to the first week of November the Lower 48 heating degree day count fell from 16 to 7. In turn the nations heating demand fell from 28 to 15 BCF per day. This has flipped the storage activity from withdrawals back to injections at the worst time of the year. As a result the cash gas prices have fallen in an attempt to find new sources of consumption for the gas balancing. In order to get find higher power burns the pricing had to incentivize the shut down of coal plants in the power dispatch.    Figure 1 | Lower 48 Power Burns From the last week of October to this past weekend the Texas Eastern - M3 cash price fell from ... » read more
Monday Nov 9, 2020   
The power industry has gotten used to focusing on net load (demand minus solar and wind) instead of total demand alone as a starting place for determining how tight the grid is likely to be. In our recent special report, CAISO’s New Market Metrics, we examine how the next step in developing appropriate metrics for a renewable-heavy grid might include looking at net load ramp, the change in net load from the previous hour to the current hour. At least in CAISO, the net load ramp is already having a big effect on power prices, separate from the impact of the absolute net load in an hour.  When the solar generation starts to go out in the evening, you have two related by distinct problems: you need to bring a lot of generation online (high net load), and you need to bring it ... » read more
Friday Nov 6, 2020   
With the passing of Sean Connery this week, I've had James Bond on my mind. One of my favorite Bond films is Diamonds are Forever. Diamonds have been in our local headlines around here this past week, so why not write about the interplay between electricity and diamonds. A couple of years ago I received an intriguing, inbound inquiry about a potential consulting project – a man representing “a major player” in the diamond industry wanted to know if we could research claims being made by synthetic diamond manufacturers about the renewable content of the electricity they were using to produce synthetic diamonds. My healthy imagination went to work as I envisioned I was being cast into a remake of the James Bond movie, Diamonds are Forever. It would somehow involve a ... » read more
Thursday Nov 5, 2020   
As many Americans wake up this morning, they will most likely be turning on their televisions/radio or picking up their phones to check the latest news on the Presidential election.  Any friends or relatives in other parts of the world are either ahead on the news or pinging to check in on where things are at.  The ups and downs across the current swing states has the attention of many including the two candidates, who in their own right are sitting inside closed quarters crunching the numbers.  So where is their focus you ask, it is all about Pennsylvania and Georgia as they carry a level of electoral votes that are a must have for Trump and a nice to have for Biden who sits ahead in AZ and NV.  If you have been following the path to this point, you can recall ... » read more
Wednesday Nov 4, 2020   
I am writing this blog prior to any voting finalized across the country so this is not about who the next president of the United States is, it is about what is going on all over the country as everywhere you turn it seems like there is some sort of destruction of personal property, demolition of buildings and/or graffiti on the side of walls that were once painted a solid color or have some sort of Portland Art Tax money going to good use.  A good example of this was on my daily morning trip to the local Starbucks on Tuesday morning.  I placed my order on the mobile app and walked up to the corner where the store was located.  It did not take long to notice the plywood board that was placed where a glass pane once divided the indoor space with the sidewalk.  As I got ... » read more
Tuesday Nov 3, 2020   
Over two years ago, the Westcoast Pipeline suffered a catastrophic rupture just south of the Station 4 compressor.  Enbridge, the owner/operator of the pipe, was forced to take the T-South segment capacity down from 2 to 1 BCF while the section was repaired and tested. By cutting that capacity from the British Columbia foothills down into the Huntington/Sumas demand areas, the entire Pacific Northwest had to readjust gas pipeline flows. Without access to the Vancouver and Northwest Pipeline deliveries, British Columbia natural gas producers were forced to shut down operations. Total production in the region fell as the supply was islanded off from the main source of demand throughout the 2019 Winter Season.  Over the past year, there has been changes that have altered ... » read more
Monday Nov 2, 2020   
We are now transitioning into the 11th month of 2020, which might just go down as one of the most memorable periods of our recent history.  We started off the year with a robust economy that was eventually met with the COVID-19 pandemic that essentially shut down the world with the likes of Italy, France and Spain locking down their borders for over a month.  Here in the United States, the situation seems to have start in a retirement community in Kirkland, WA only to gather momentum to the vast majority of the country by the end of March.  Once April rolled around, states were in lockdown mode as well which meant that students were sent home from their university/local schools, businesses were not open and families were trying to establish some new routine that would allow ... » read more
Friday Oct 30, 2020   
This weekend, we’re celebrating two occasions—Halloween on Saturday, and, on Sunday, the unfortunately temporary end of Daylight Saving Time (DST).  Daylight Saving Time is always at the forefront of our minds at EGPS as it is a scary time as new data sources might break, datasources do some spooky things and a report that has been working has a chance of breaking.  It is this time of year that brings up memories to another problem that we run across frequently, which is matching multiple time series data sets that were given to us to analyze.  The issue is simple, each data set could be in any time convention (standard, which does not observe DST, or prevailing, which does) or time zone. In fact, it’s such a recurring problem that one of the first ... » read more
Thursday Oct 29, 2020   
The end of October is right around the corner but that does not give much hope to the residence in California that are fighting off more fires that have started over the past fews days.  Places such as Orange County are now being evacuated after several areas in Northern California have been running from the flames for weeks now.  If you recall, the Pacific Northwest got into the fray in September while Colorado was brought in a couple of weeks ago.  The former was such a rare occurrence as the skies were filled with ash for over a week while firefighters were out in the battle field trying to keep the flames from entering the Portland metro area.  The latter has created a similar situation near Fort Collins and the north side of Denver prior to the winter chill moving ... » read more
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