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Wednesday Jul 8, 2015   
Coming off a Pacific Northwest (PNW) winter that gave us hints of a high ridge system locking into the region, the river system had its ups and downs as the lower elevation snowpack saw its first melt in February and never really replenished itself heading into Q2.  The higher elevation snowpack looked to be pretty healthy, which was going to be counted on to help refill Grand Coulee dam (GCL) after the drum gate work was completed by mid-March.  This plan was coming together as system operators were refilling GCL at a clip of 1.5 ft/day with the help of the ... » read more
Tuesday Jul 7, 2015   
A collective sigh of relief is being heard across California this week as temperatures fall.  Sacramento and Burbank are not expected to get above 90 while San Diego will enjoy a comfortable range with highs in the 70s.  As would be expected, the load forecasts/actuals are following the temps downward expected loads to be at their lowest level since the first week in June.    Figure 1 | CAISO Dashboard This is a big difference compared to where we were sitting just a week ago in CAISO land, along with the rest of the West.  Everyone ... » read more
Monday Jul 6, 2015   
The Christmas song, '12 days of Christmas' has resonated with me ever since I was watching the news early Friday morning.  The newscaster threw out a stat that Portland averages eleven 90 plus days a year (most summer of course).  At the time she indicated that so far year to date, Portland has had 10 days with a high temperature mark over 90.  Given that Friday, Saturday and Sunday all topped the mark once again, that puts the running total at 13 days and counting.  Considering we are only a couple of weeks into the 'summer' period, this is ... » read more
Thursday Jul 2, 2015   
Is the Trend Is Your Friend? As we enter July and put Q2 in the books one trend is becoming striking clear:  Natural Gas Power Burns have been unseasonably strong through the spring, and there is no reason to believe it will end. Beginning in late February of this year power burns jumped substantially above prior year levels, with the grid burning between 3 and 6 thousand more mmcf/day.  Figure 1 | US Nat. Gas Power Burns – 7 day average The only thing more impressive than the magnitude of YoY variance is the consistency and longevity of the ... » read more
Wednesday Jul 1, 2015   
With both the LA Basin and Northern California warming up today, the CAISO Day Ahead (DA) auction results soared as NP15 cleared $75.34 (roughly $10 higher day on day) while SP15 came in at $65.73. With natural gas sitting around $3.24 up at PGAE CG and $3.04 at SoCal Border, this put the carbon adjusted implied heat rates at 19.45 and 18.06 respectively across the heavy load hours. Listed below are the key drivers to such a move: DA Scheduled Load | with Sacramento showing highs in the 106-108 degree range, this has prompted more scheduled demand across Northern ... » read more
Tuesday Jun 30, 2015   
As June comes to an end, the oxygen is thin as we ascent to the top of the 'Heat Rate Ridge' which is atop the highest mountain in the Pacific Northwest.  Over course of the climb this month, the journey has led us through very little snowpack and below normal water conditions, we have crossed some high temperature zones, stepped over some wind storms that come and go at a moments notice and have been running into stiff competition with other groups trying to climb the same mountain.  All this has led to us extending a lot of energy just to achieve our goal ... » read more
Monday Jun 29, 2015   
This weekend was suppose to be hot, with some forecasters calling for triple digits in the Portland metro area.  What we got was slightly cooler temperatures (only in the mid-90's) but plenty of humidity.  With the overnight lows only dipping down into the mid/upper 60's, the combination of the heat and humidity starting wearing thin on the everyone by Sunday afternoon. Figure 1 | Portland Temperatures - Actual and Forecast This led to the river and public water fountains across the city to be jammed packed with people as they were trying to cool off. » read more
Friday Jun 26, 2015   
Starting out with where things have been, prompt month prices hung around $2.75 early in week before jumping up almost $0.10 to settle at $2.850 for the July contract on Thursday. The rise in the forwards came with an EIA storage number broadly in line with expectations – a 75 BCF injection. What drove the increase? The first place to look is at temperature expectations. The NOAA maps, a reliable indicator of how short-term temperatures will average compared to normal is showing an increasing likelihood of above normal conditions for much of the East coast over ... » read more
Thursday Jun 25, 2015   
We have been focusing on the Pacific Northwest as of late given the weather forecast is calling for triple digits in Portland and Spokane being 105 degrees this weekend.  Add to it this year's hydro situation and you have a pretty tight grid.  The one thing that was keeping the overall Midc prices from 'virtually' exploding has been the California (CAISO) day-ahead auction clears have been somewhat moderate with SP15 clearing in the 11.5-12.0 range during the heavy load time period. That all changed yesterday when the auction clears shifted up over $8.50 to ... » read more
Wednesday Jun 24, 2015   
This coming weekend is showing a heat wave moving across the Western part of the country as several cities will be staring at triple digit highs.  Starting in the Pacific Northwest, both Portland and Spokane are showing triple digits by Saturday, with the former at 102 degrees while the latter is 104 going to 108 degrees by Sunday.  These types of temperatures are well above normal for this time of year and without a doubt increase the overall demand in the region.  Moving slightly east, Boise is staring at similar temperatures as Spokane while Salt ... » read more
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