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Tuesday Jun 2, 2020   
Just a couple of weeks ago SoCal Gas held a customer forum where they went over system performance and planned maintenance outages for the rest of the summer. Once the meeting was opened up for questions, many stakeholders questioned the panel on the prospect for increasing the 235-2 and 4000 line paths that run from the Las Vegas area into the Los Angeles Basin. SoCal confirmed that there is no impending plans to increase the throughput on the beleaguered paths. The receipts have been restricted due to a previous rupture leaving the deliveries constrained by .7 BCF per day. The communication left many market participants with the sentiment that there would be no coming capacity changes in the near future. Well it only took three days before SoCal Gas posted a two month outage on the path ... » read more
Monday Jun 1, 2020   
The past few months have been trying in a lot of ways as each and every one of us have tried to figure out the new daily routine of working from home and if you have children still at home the idea of online schooling is real.  The news updates from around the world were informative in a way that gave us a sense of how bad things were in China, Italy as well as other parts of the world.  In the US, all eyes have been focused on the bigger demand centers like New York City or the State of California as they both took an aggressive stance on their own respective stay-in-place policies and procedures.  Both economies are still not even close to where they once were but this month should see some progress as there have been talks of opening up the more populated areas to the ... » read more
Friday May 29, 2020   
Much is being written about renewable Curtailments in California.  Gary Ackerman, the author of a popular 'Burrito', has gone so far as to create a betting pool on where renewable curtailment will end up this year.  He will be having a couple of entry rounds and the most recent pool closed in late April.  That crowd-sourced forecast (average of entries submitted  by 30 readers ) is 1.72 GWh—nearly double where we landed last year.  (Source: Gary Ackerman, The Friday Burrito Vol. XXIII #15 May 8, 2020). Figure 1 details the current status of both the local and system curtailments within the CAISO footprint, to which we have now reached the 1.0 GWh (all of last year was around .974 GWh).   There are a lot of factors that go into the 'why' ... » read more
Thursday May 28, 2020   
ERCOT has become the leader when it comes to wind capacity hitting the grid across the Lower 48.  Since that is the case, more conversation is being had about the changing intraday directional wind and the speed to which it is being gauged.  These two components have a big impact on how ERCOT's real-time supply is dispatched as certain types of units are needed as a quick response time is essential for balancing.  When you throw in the fact that the power loads have some swing to them with any deviation from a temperature forecast the grid's real-time picture starts to look quite different from that of the day-ahead market.  Wednesday, May 27th  2020, was a day that saw the real-time net load profile come in lower than the day-ahead and as a result the hourly ... » read more
Wednesday May 27, 2020   
It has been an amazing set of events this past spring. The coronavirus impacts nearly collapsed the world economy. The contagion forced populations on every continent to find shelter in their homes. Commerce in almost every major industry came to a standstill. The largest impact on the world stage was leveled upon the petroleum industry. The combination of lock down mandates and the failure of OPEC quotas left the world awash in oil. West Texas Intermediate prices fell from the mid $40's to minus $36 in less than six weeks. Producers slashed volumes, workforce and CapEx budgets in an effort to stay alive. As of right now it looks like their efforts have worked. WTI prices have recovered to $34 per barrel as of this morning.  Figure 1 | NYMEX WTI (CL) Continuous Contract Prices ... » read more
Tuesday May 26, 2020   
The past week 10 days has seen the Pacific Northwest hit is peak hydro flows on the system, which led to hydro generation numbers that averaged over 18.0 GW across the heavy load period.  We detailed how system operators managed the supply/demand balance in the following article, 'Water Just A Spillin'.  This led to the Midc bilateral market trading down around $0.00 for both the heavy and light load periods as the wind generation was additive to the already robust hydro output mentioned.  Down in California, prior to the renewable solar movement, the grid operators embraced the times less expensive supply would travel north to south on the AC and DC transmission interties as it would help displace thermal generation being produced in across the state. Figure 1 | CAISO ... » read more
Friday May 22, 2020   
The phrase "sucking wind" comes to mind when I take a look at recent ERCOT wind-weighted pricing. By this I mean the Urban Dictionary's third definition which is "In business, to perform poorly." Energy GPS has advised on a lot of wind deals in Texas -- we've represented sellers, buyers, capital providers, and merchant projects. We do settlement validations for a number of VPPAs scattered around the US -- including some in ERCOT. In recent months we've noticed that the corporate buyers have been cutting checks to projects due to the low price environment. ERCOT wind VPPAs that have been signed in the last few years have been in the $17 to $19 per MWh range, broadly speaking. Most settle at ERCOT North. Figure 1, below, shows the wind-weighted price for ERCOT North (using ERCOT North Wind ... » read more
Thursday May 21, 2020   
Growing up as a child in Western Wisconsin, the memories in the spring were tied to the snow melting and the local river tributaries rising to where the water actually starting flowing over the bridge out of town.  When this occurred, it was time to grab a group of friends and head to the entry point upstream with our canoes. As we entered the water, the conversation was all about how we needed to navigate the waters that were our version of high rapids. Figure 1 | The Spring Activity on the River I start this blog out with this story as the Midwest and other parts of the country are experiencing such flooding that starts with the Mississippi River and all it's tributaries that run through many small towns from Minnesota down throught Lousiana.  As we move to the east, the ... » read more
Wednesday May 20, 2020   
The bilateral price signal at the Midc for today is representative of the old days when Mother Nature would provide enough water in spring where the need for coal and natural gas-fired generation would not be needed across the entire 24 hour period.  When this occurs, both the heavy and light load settles shift down to the $0.00 mark with many of the end of day transactions shfiting into negative territory.  For today, the heavy load ended up settling at $0.09 while the light load came in at a negative $0.28 which tells us there is not much more the system can do but turn to the renewable/baseload sector within its own region. Figure 1 | Midc Bilateral Settles  Looking at the key components for such a downturn, look no further than the hydro and wind generation as the ... » read more
Tuesday May 19, 2020   
Spring is not the typical time of year when we expect to have extreme heat rate moves in the Northeast power markets. That situation is usually reserved for the West with the large hydropower swings and early heat events. But this year due to a number of circumstances there have been some very volatile swings that are typically not seen until we get to Q3. The swings have been quite wild with the rates moving from and expectation of an 8 during Q1 to over 12. Then virus lock down effects, swings in weather, pipeline ruptures and a production shut-ins have all fueled more volatility.  Figure 1 | PJM/M3, On Peak Cash Heat Rate Settles for Q2 2020  Here are some bullet points for the events this spring: A record warm winter dropped ResCom demand and cash gas prices. This led ... » read more
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