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Thursday Jun 4, 2015   
As we head into the first full weekend of June, I thought it would be a good time to check in on the health of the California generation stack. Let us first start by taking a look at the hydro situation.  As we have mentioned in the past, the California drought like year is in its 4th year.  For the past three years in the fall, we start out the conversation by saying with last year under our belt, this upcoming year cannot be much worse.  The issue is it has with this year coming in even lower than last year, from a snow water equivalent. Figure 1 | ... » read more
Wednesday Jun 3, 2015   
It felt a little weird putting on the waterproof rain jacket as I left the house the past couple of days.  In a normal spring, this would not be an uncommon occurrence as the early part of June usually brings some sort of rain event.  But prior to Monday and Tuesday's thunder and lightning storms, this winter and spring have both presented nothing but warm and dry conditions.  Over the past few months, we have continued to discuss how the high pressure system that not moving off the Pacific Northwest coast is bringing us nothing but above normal ... » read more
Tuesday Jun 2, 2015   
The EIA released the Natural Gas monthly on Friday, the 29th of May. This report provides in depth data on supply, demand, and storage on a two month lag. The most recent report therefore covered through the end of March 2015, giving an updated picture of what’s going on in the system. Analyzing this report, we first started by looking at consumption and storage data for March. In addition, the production appeared to fall sharply for the quarter thanks to revised data, however the decline is likely a statistical quirk rather than genuine change. Consumption ... » read more
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
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