In ERCOT, energy users with “flexible loads” (i.e., folks that can dial back electricity usage on short notice) have a variety of demand response programs to choose from. These programs pay end users for their participation and performance and are designed to maintain reliability on the grid in times of stress. The causes for grid stress could include if either real-time energy demand is higher than what was forecast and/or because of delivery issues on the supply-side power resulting from forced outages at power plants, transmission lines, or both. Demand response is an energy management concept that has existed for over two decades and these programs are in use nationwide and around the world.
4 min read
Our head of analytics and Sr. Zoltar, Eric Bratcher, is a big lover of the Summer Olympics, especially the less popular sports. On Tuesday this week, while Eric was watching ERCOT’s load again come in under forecast, women’s skeet shooting was on in the background. Eric was glued to the final round as USA’s Amber English held off Italy’s reigning champ to win her first gold medal in the event. An hour later, USA’s Vincent Hancock set an Olympic record of 59 of 60 targets, winning his event and being awarded with his third gold medal.
12 min read
On behalf of the team at 5, I am pleased to forward our market letter for the second quarter of 2021. The unusual weather that caused historic outages and extreme electricity and natural gas prices in Texas in Q1 surfaced in other markets in Q2. Both the Pacific Northwest and the Western US faced extreme weather conditions, namely, heat. In Death Valley, temperatures hit 130 degrees on July 9, a world record for the hottest reliably measured temperature in recorded history.
4 min read
Ever since Winter Storm Uri devastated Texas in February, politicians in Austin began to debate what went wrong and how to implement legislation that would prevent another storm from having similar effects. Both the House and the Senate passed multiple bills at the end of the state’s 87th legislative session on May 31, 2021.
2 min read
With the clock ticking on the current legislative session in Texas, lawmakers are anxious to get some legislation passed that addresses and corrects some of what occurred during Winter Storm Uri. In the weeks following the storm, there were several pieces of legislation that were gaining traction. Senate Bill 3 (SB3) gathered the most attention, which, in its original draft, sought a complete ban on real-time, index-based products, put limits on wholesale electricity prices, and addressed issues related to the winterization of generating assets. After several votes and amendments, SB3 passed the Senate and is now with the House, but it is unclear if it will be signed into law before the current legislative session ends on May 31. House Bill 16 (HB16), however, passed both the Senate and House this month and will likely be signed into law by Governor Abbott in the coming days.
3 min read
Late last month, ERCOT released their preliminary Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy (SARA) report. This is the seasonal report that identifies the output from all current, new, and planned generating resources and compares that amount to the forecasted peak load. Reserve margin is the difference between the forecasted peak load and the total amount of generation available to meet that demand. Recently, the reserve margin has climbed from a low of 8.6% in 2019 up to 12.6% in 2020.
10 min read
On behalf of the team at 5, I am pleased to forward our market letter for the first quarter of 2021. This letter focuses on the latest Black Swan event, Uri, the winter storm that hit Texas in mid-February. The storm caused a catastrophic loss of generation and triggered an extended period of extremely high energy prices. This letter provides: (i) a summary and chronology of the legal and regulatory proceedings that Uri has spawned; (ii) a snapshot of how the storm has impacted a variety of market participants including municipal utilities, wind farms, renewable purchasers, commercial and industrial buyers, and the natural gas market; and (iii) an overview of legislative efforts to address electric reliability in ERCOT.
2 min read
So far, it appears as if no one is ready to make price adjustments to customer bills in the aftermath of Winter Storm Uri. Neither the Texas executive branch, the legislative branch, nor the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) are very eager to be the one that steps up to order the re-pricing of wholesale Real-Time Index or Ancillary Service prices that have been in question over the past month. Instead, it seems like everyone is resigned to allowing the lawyers to argue their cases and leave the outcome up to the courts.
3 min read
From time to time, events occur that reshape and redefine an industry. These events can often prompt stakeholders, lawmakers and customers to question and reevaluate some of the basic premises on which an industry was built. This is the kind of event that happened across Texas during the week of February 15, 2021. While the power outages and the arctic temperatures sent shockwaves throughout the state’s energy markets, the personal toll was equally, if not more, devastating. Millions of Texans were without heat, electricity, and water for days where the thermometer struggled to climb above freezing. But, as is often the case, calamity brings out the best in people as neighbors came to each other’s aid to help wherever possible. And while this story will certainly be told and assessed through gigawatts, hertz and dollars, none of these units can begin to measure the human pain and suffering that was caused by this event.
Topics: Markets ERCOT Resiliency
2 min read
To all businesses and homes in Texas fortunate enough to still have power, please reduce electricity consumption throughout the rest of Monday and Tuesday. The Texas electric grid is experiencing unprecedented strain, and many have been without power since early Monday morning. You can help by reducing the setpoint on your thermostats, turning off and unplugging non-essential lights and appliances, closing shades and blinds, and avoiding use of large appliances (ovens, washing machines, etc).