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Tuesday Nov 17, 2020   
The abundance of storage is not limited to just the Lower 48. North of the border Canadian storage capacity is also at an all time high. Typically the increased HDD count in the norther latitudes ushers in a earlier draw down of inventory but not this year. COVID impacts and the warm start to November have limited the storage usage thus far. Coming into the winter season Alberta cavern operators knew the drawdown of capacity would have to include increased exports out of the province. All avenues into the Midcon, Pacific Northwest and Eastern Canada would have to be maximized. Starting on the first of the month, flows out of Empress onto TransCanada Pipeline increased from 2.8 to 3.3 BCF in an effort to supply premium priced markets.    Figure 1 | Empress Flows onto TCPL ... » read more
Monday Nov 16, 2020   
If you watched the Sunday night football game where the New England Patriots hosted the Baltimore Ravens at Foxboro Stadium all you saw by the end of the game was a down pouring of rain where the players visibility was at most 10 yards and a referee that was explaining calls on the field in a crisp hurried voice as the wind and rain was pelting him in the face.  From an energy perspective, the key to me was the fact that is was precipitation in the form of rainfall not snowflakes.  Figure 1 | Patriots vs. Ravens Football Game - Plenty of Rain This illustrated how the weather model runs formulated their forecast over the weekend as temperatures in the Midwest, Ohio Valley and Northeast all took a turn to the warmer side of the equation. This quickly has dropped the prompt ... » read more
Friday Nov 13, 2020   
As the nation sits and waits while the presidential election is finally settled, we’d like to turn our attention to Donald J. Trump’s record in the electricity sector. Yes, as election workers in Georgia are re-counting five million votes by hand, courts throughout the land are hearing about highly selective and locationally specific fraud, and Americans wait to learn when and how Donald J. Trump (DJT) will leave the White House, here at EnergyGPS we are indulging in our own form of fake news and alternative facts. It should come as no surprise that tree huggers everywhere are saddened that the greenest president in US history may soon be leaving office. Let’s take a look at the record. We’ll evaluate a few key metrics. Starting with coal, Figure 1 shows annual US ... » read more
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
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