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Thursday Jan 7, 2021   
Coming out of the holiday season, the song Let It Snow is still on my mind as the opening lines goes like this. Oh, the weather outside is frightful but the fire inside is delightful And since we've no place to go Let it Snow, Let is Snow, Let it Snow By the time we get into January, the lyrics usually become reality as Mother Nature usually delivers some frigid temperatures that are widespread across the entire country with a focus on the Midwest, Ohio Valley and Northeast.  That is not the case so far this year as the first seven days have delivered temperatures that are in the middle of the fairway with a precipitation pattern that that is going to keep the snow off the ground. Figure 1 | WSI 15-Day HDD Forecast - Daily The graph above represents the daily aggregated HDD levels ... » read more
Wednesday Jan 6, 2021   
A few years ago there was a T.V. commercial for Charles Schwab with the theme “Timing is Everything”.  I remember it because whenever it would come on my wife’s eyes would start to turn all misty like she was cutting onions or something.  The commercial takes a direct shot at the viewer’s heart-strings by starting with a satisfied middle-aged guy in front of his home office computer, presumably trading online, with the narrator saying, “You know how timing is everything.”  This was followed by flashbacks to our hero’s earlier days with the narrator explaining how he got the timing right on wooing the gal who becomes his wife; timing a move into their first home; timing when to teach his pee-wee football kid a trick play; teaching ... » read more
Tuesday Jan 5, 2021   
Last spring the crude industry was hit with one of the biggest shocks in the industry history when demand destruction from the COVID epidemic along with the break down of OPEC quotas forced WTI prices into negative territory. The result was a collapse in crude production all over the globe. In the Lower 48, output collapsed from 12 to 10 million barrels per day. Along with that collapse of crude production the output of associated natural gas fell. Total Lower 48 production dropped from 95 to 87 BCF per day. But now with the long recovery of oil demand across the globe, WTI prices have rebounded to $48 per barrel. The problem is that the crude production has been slow to respond. Despite the recovery of the WTI price associated gas volumes have remained stagnant at 92 BCF per day since ... » read more
Monday Jan 4, 2021   
2020 has been something of a launchpad year for grid scale batteries. We saw our 1054 MW of battery capacity across the US balloon to 1435 MW in 2020, but that only begins to tell the whole story. We also saw the largest battery system in the world, Gateway Energy Storage, come online in August with 250MW/250MWh of capacity. That record is unlikely to stand for long, no matter how you measure it. There are 4 separate projects sized 250 MW or larger which are scheduled to come online next year, and 15 projects with 250 MWh or more of energy storage. In 2020, California’s large IOUs procured 1580 MW of battery capacity across three separate RFOs, with projects scheduled for completion in 2021, 2022, and 2023. Just a few weeks ago, Public Utility Commission of Nevada approved 338 MW of ... » read more
Thursday Dec 31, 2020   
Happy New Year to everyone!!!  We hope your evening is filled with laughter and joy with your immediate family and potentially video conferencing with loved ones from afar at some point over the long weekend.  Reflecting back on this past year, we have all been through a lot as the world we once knew has been turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic. It seems like so long ago that I was driving a 15-person van full of soccer players (being team manager for my daughter's team) from the hotel to the pitch, stopping for a bite to eat at some local food establishment and finding some activity to occupy their time when they were not in uniform.   On the work front, the office banter has ceased and the morning meetings where we all congregate in the conference room to ... » read more
Wednesday Dec 30, 2020   
"El camaron que duerme se lo lleva la corriente"  The current carries away the sleeping shrimp.  This Mexican saying can be heard when someone is warning you not to sleep on an opportunity.   In recent years, the Mexican gas market has been an opportunity for the U.S.  In the modern shale boom era, the U.S.’ rise to prominence as one of the world’s top producers of oil and gas outpaced growth within the domestic demand market.  This compelled the need to look abroad for markets to consume swelling U.S. production.   In recent years, Mexico has become one such market.  But – as with LNG – as the volume of gas the U.S. exports to Mexico increases, the opportunities for Mexican market fundamentals to impact U.S. » read more
Tuesday Dec 29, 2020   
Oh how the tables can turn on natural gas so quickly. Most of the Midcon, Midwest and Northeast enjoyed a white Christmas this year as several snowstorms ran through the regions. It was the culmination of a recovery in winter weather which was off to a slow start. November saw record warmth putting fears that a repeat of last winter was in the cards. NYMEX Henry hub fell from $3.30 down to $2.39 in just three weeks. But since the beginning of December the winter sentiment had been changing. Along with it came a bounce in natural gas prices as expectations of a white Christmas and normal January developed. It was all dashed once the Christmas holiday passed. The weather models once again turned on the blow torch. This makes it over a year since the weather has had any sustainable below ... » read more
Monday Dec 28, 2020   
When you grow up in an area of the country where there was always snow on the ground during the holidays.  Once you move to an area of the country that has minimal chances of snow sticking while St. Nick comes down the chimney, your heart goes back to those childhood memories.  On Sunday night, it was peer joy to turn on the television for the Green Bay Packers vs. Tennessee Titans football game in the heart of the Midwest (Green Bay) and see the thickness of the white snowflakes sticking to the ground. Figure 1 | The Snow was Falling This is not something that is going to be seen as we turn the corner to the New Year as the 15-day weather has warmed to a point that the accumulated HDD numbers have shifted down substantially with the latest model runs. Figure 2 | WSI Run on Run ... » read more
Wednesday Dec 23, 2020   
The word switchyard has a variety of meanings if you look it up on google.  The one that is most common in the energy sector is tied to power generator where it lies directly adjacent to the facility.  It is almost similar to a substation but does not have transformers and only operates at a single voltage level.  It's main duty is the interconnection between generation and transmission.  The generator bus (fed via the step up transformer) switches and diverts the power ont the feeder busses at the other end of the yard before it is sent out into the grid via transmission lines. Figure 1 | High Voltage Switchyard - Electrical Facility When it comes to the actual generator type that feeds the switchyard, the source comes in a variety of constructs such as nuclear ... » read more
Tuesday Dec 22, 2020   
Typically as the weather transitions from fall into winter the jet stream becomes more amplified. This amplification brings cooler air from the northern latitudes down across the continent. But over the past year the jet stream has seen little amplification leaving the continent with no sustained cold events. Last winter and this winter have been mild as a result. Another consequence of this pattern in the jet stream is that it is favorable for wind output. Both last winter and this winter have seen boosts not only in the overall wind capacity but also in usage factor over previous winters.   Figure 1 | MISO, SPP and ERCOT Installed Wind and Output by Quarter Lower 48 wind output has set a number of successive records this year. This past November the output averaged 46.5 GWa ... » read more
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