Archive for August, 2009

Power Around Town

August 25, 2009


* Entergy wants to separate their nuclear merchant power business from their regulated utilities, but NYS PSC are delaying a decision on the initiative until 2010. The Vermont PSC also have yet to rule.

* Con Ed customer demand was 12,242 MW at 3:00 PM last Friday, 21 August, setting another peak demand record for the service territory. 12,000 MW peak demand for the Con Ed service territory was first surpassed in 2001.

* Calpine operate a  clean-burning 48 MW natural-gas fired peaking plant in Hicksville, NY, with a stack similar to the one in the photo.

* NYPA provides power to Castle Hill Houses on Castle Hill Avenue in the Bronx. Today NYPA announced a $25 Million energy efficiency program will be implemented at the housing project, in partnership with NYC.

* Across the road from Castle Hill Houses, MeXSI Inc is designing an energy efficiency project for a three-story institutional building.

Rural Electric Cooperatives

August 22, 2009

IMG_0182A rural electric cooperative works like an old-fashioned savings and loan, in which customers own shares in the enterprise and elect the board of directors. Here are some links…

* Senator Schumer does his part for renewable energy in Delaware County, supporting an application by the electric cooperative to construct turbines at four existing dams. DEP is carefully considering this application because NYC drinking water is the source of the power.

* Oneida-Madison Electric Cooperative operates in two NYS counties, offering the following rates:


Rate Schedules

Schedule 1 – Residential Service – rate is .08700 per kilowatt hour
Schedule 2 – Seasonal Service – rate .07700 per kilowatt hour
Schedule 3 – Commercial Service – rate .09128 per kilowatt hour

Monthly meter charge – $10.00

* The Steuben Rural Electric Cooperative is growing 2% a year because of the terrific rates offered industrial and agricultural customers. Steuben REC is the largest rural electric cooperative in NYS, maintains over 1500 miles of electric lines throughout Steuben, Cattaraugus and Chautauqua counties, and employees 30 full time.

* Basin Electric Power Cooperative works in nine western states, deploying various fuel sources. BEPC are building transmission infrastructure with a newly-approved 230 kV transmission line. Continental Resources has oil and gas projects in the region that will benefit.

* President Lyndon Johnson was an incredibly effective advocate of rural electrification his entire career. In 1965 he sent a team from the Rural Electrification Association to electrify and rebuild South Viet Nam. Read his endearing after-dinner speech to Pedernales Electric Cooperative.

Real-time Loads

August 20, 2009
green roof demonstration project atop 5-Borough Building NYC Parks Dept.

green roof demonstration project atop 5-Borough Building NYC Parks Dept.


Real-Time Load
30271 MW

08/20/2009 16:15:00 EDT

* Great Britain

Demand: 37574MW
20:20:00 GMT
Frequency: 50.091Hz
20:23:45 GMT

System Transfers

N.Ireland to Great Britain: -390MW
France to Great Britain : 702MW
20/08/2009 20:00:00 GMT

North-South: 8213MW
Scot – Eng: 1546MW
20/08/2009 20:21:00 GMT

* PJM Interconnect at 16:28 EDT
Real Time Day Ahead

Current RTO Demand (MW) 120,615
Today’s Forecast Demand (MW) 120,272
Today’s Peak Demand (MW) 120,720

Power Links

August 19, 2009

MEP_JFK* Great Britain’s MW demand today is a bit more than NYISO peak yesterday, but not by much. Real-time comparisons are hard, but the National Grid site linked has a 24-hour graph up; 2:30 AM real-time data for Great Britain:

GB Real Time

Demand: 25794MW
02:30:00 GMT
Frequency: 50.064Hz
02:31:45 GMT

System Transfers

N.Ireland to Great Britain: -104MW
France to Great Britain : 658MW
19/08/2009 02:00:00 GMT

North-South: 3901MW
Scot – Eng: 1588MW
19/08/2009 02:31:00 GMT

* In New York, IPP Calpine owns and operates plants on Long Island and at JFK by selling power to LIPA. The lead photo shows the co-generation boiler plant at the airport.

* Calpine operate the world’s largest geothermal to electric power plant, The Geysers,  supplying 20% of California’s renewable energy. The Geysers is located under the border between Lake and Sonoma Counties.


* I’ve been thinking IPPs may be in for some tough sledding. An insider at Calpine begs to differ, putting up some serious cash yesterday to purchase 164,200 shares on the open market:

CPN Calpine Corp

NYISO and PJM this P.M.

August 17, 2009
It is 2:10 PM. Here is the current demand:
Real-Time Load
30638 MW

08/17/2009 14:10:00 EDT

Current RTO Demand (MW) 120,987
Today’s Forecast Demand (MW) 123,035
Today’s Peak Demand (MW) 120,987

Power Today

August 12, 2009

andrew_200* NOAA has lowered this season’s hurricane forecast. Hurricanes have a marked impact on power and oil and gas supplies, even supplies in the northeast.

* Entergy’s regulated utility in Louisiana, hammered by Katrina, has applied for $4 million in federal funding for smart grid projects.

* On August 7 Con Ed requested $172 million in federal funding for smart grid projects.

* Con Ed has begun a $6 million pilot program in Queens to test smart meters, PV power integration, and vehicular plug-in technology. SBC funds will be used.

* NYSERDA PON 4 which will pay up to 100% of your energy efficiency study costs, all with Federal funds.

* Today’s Wall Street Journal has an article about PJM Interconnection and wholesale electricity prices. This is a subscription article, but you can access the lead-in here. For the actual pricing referenced, the Local Marginal Pricing, see yesterday’s post.

The Journal headline reads “Electricity Prices Plummet“, which sounds quite bad. Actually it’s bad news only for IPPs, particularly those highly leveraged. It’s good news for regulated utilities and any enterprise customer.

NOAA radar graphic of 1992’s Hurricane Andrew over south Florida.

NYISO Load this P.M.

August 10, 2009
Dispatchers at the NYISO Control Room
The New York Independent System Operator operates New York’s bulk electricity grid, administers the state’s wholesale electricity markets, and provides comprehensive reliability planning for the state’s bulk electricity system.

In 2005-2006 the NYISO had projected the summer peak load for 2009 at 33,770 MW.

Today’s temperature has broken 90F for the first time since April,  and the humidity feels quite high. Loads should be approaching peaks. Here are the actual loads:

Real-Time Load
28822 MW

08/10/2009 14:25:00 EDT

Real-Time Load
29415 MW

08/10/2009 15:50:00 EDT

Real-Time Load
29580 MW

08/10/2009 16:25:00 EDT

The system demand is at 87.6% of projected peak.

Got Juice?

August 9, 2009


Last week I met with a university energy manager formerly an engineer with Con Ed. The discussion came around to Indian Point and the flow of power along the Hudson River corridor.

Since the September 11, 2001 attacks on the Trade Center, many in the New York City area have become concerned about the possible consequences of a similar attack on Entergy’s Indian Point nuclear power plants located about 40 miles from Manhattan, and have made calls for their closure. Closure would require actions to replace the 2000 MW of power supplied by the plants. To examine this issue in detail, Congress directed DOE to request a study from the NRC of options for replacing the power. Detailed review of both demand and supply options for replacing that power was performed.

Here are the demand side stats for Lower Hudson Valley (LHV), New York City (NYC), Long Island (LI), and all New York State (NYS), as compiled/projected by the NYISO in 2005-2006:

TABLE 2-1 Weather-Normalized Annual Electricity Use, Past and Forecast, in Gigawatt-Hours per Year, for Three New York Regions and Statewide, Selected Years from 1993 Through 2015

Year LHV: Zones G, H, Ia NYC: Zone J LI: Zone K NYS: NYCA
1993 16,411 41,828 17,667 144,471
1997 16,206 44,676 18,185 148,008
2001 17,207 49,912 20,728 155,523
2005 19,625 52,836 23,178 164,050
2009 20,775 56,345 25,258 174,290
2013 22,610 58,949 26,598 180,710
2015 23,608 59,717 26,961 182,880
Growth per year:
1993-2004 1.421% 2.071% 2.222% 1.004%
2004-2015 1.913% 1.194% 1.659% 1.151%
aNYCA, New York Control Area; Zone G, Hudson Valley; Zone H, Northern Westchester County; Zone I, rest of Westchester County. SOURCE: Adapted from NYISO (2005a), p. 25.

TABLE 2-2 Weather-Normalized Summer Peak Power, Past and Forecast, in Megawatts, for Three New York Regions and Statewide, Selected Years from 1993 Through 2015

Year LHV: Zones G, H, Ia NYC: Zone J LI: Zone K NYS: NYCA
1993 3,337 8,365 3,595 27,000
1997 3,650 9,609 4,273 28,400
2001 4,421 10,424 4,901 30,780
2005 4,410 11,315 5,230 31,960
2009 4,849 11,965 5,580 33,770
2013 5,331 12,426 5,981 35,180
2015 5,590 12,648 6,112 35,670
Growth per year:
1993-2004 2.365% 2.610% 3.270% 1.382%
2004-2015 2.380% 1.190% 1.618% 1.166%
aNYCA, New York Control Area; Zone G, Hudson Valley; Zone H, Northern Westchester County; Zone I, rest of Westchester County. SOURCE: Adapted from NYISO (2005a), p. 26.Replacing Indian Point would be likely to involve a portfolio of the options (discussed in Chapters 2 and 3 of the NYISO report), including the following:

  • Energy efficiency (EE);
  • Demand-side management (DSM) and distributed generation (DG);
  • Fuller utilization of existing generation and transmission, and deferred plant retirements;
  • New generation; and
  • New transmission.

The NYISO did not model the actions and policy initiatives that would be required to implement the supply and demand options. The early-shutdown cases in particular would require some strong measures to be implemented immediately.

Different portfolios are possible, emphasizing different options. Exactly which ones would be implemented and where would make a big difference in how well the system would operate. Example scenarios were adopted to illustrate options that could provide alternatives to the Indian Point units, should they be retired. To assist the NYISO with the analysis, GE was retained.

TABLE 5-2 Additional Generating Capacity Assumed in Reference Case

Project Capacity (MW) NYCA Zonea Online Date
SCS Astoria Energy 500 J Jan 08
Caithness 383 K Jan 08
Long Island Wind 15b K Jan 08*
Bowline Point 750 G Jan 10
Wawayanda 540 G Jan 13
Generic Combined Cycle 580 H Jan 13
Reliant Astoria I 367 J Jan 15
Reliant Astoria II 173 J Jan 15
Total Power 3,308

* LI Wind not operational as of August 2009.

The NYISO explored the consequences of additional scenarios, but in less detail, only looking at 2015. These included:

  1. A 1,000 MW north-south high-voltage direct-current (HVDC) transmission line running from the Marcy Substation (near Utica in Zone E) to Rock Tavern (in Zone G, south of the current transmission bottlenecks), assumed to be operational in 2012. Cases b3 and c3 represent the early retirement and end-of-license (EOL) retirement of the Indian Point units with this HVDC cable resource in place. The inference drawn from the results is that with such a north-south transmission option, using excess power upstate and from out of state, the potential generating resource needed downstate might be reduced from 1,100 MW to 300 MW.
  2. Higher market penetration of energy efficiency and demand-side management, Cases b4 and c4, for early and EOL shutdown scenarios, respectively. This scenario included 1,200 MW of energy efficiency and 800 MW of DSM load-reduction measures for a net 1,950 MW reduction of peak load by 2015, mainly in the New York City area. Demand would continue to grow, but at a low rate (390 MW growth compared with 2,340 MW without the EE/DSM measures). No additional capacity beyond the Reference Case would be necessary, as the additional EE and DSM measures would compensate for Indian Point. EE/DSM measures of this magnitude would require significant, aggressive early attention by the New York State government and a high fraction of all electricity users.
  3. Sensitivity to higher fuel prices. The systems modeled were the same as in the earlier scenarios, so reliability analysis was not necessary. The committee included this analysis to estimate the approximate economic impact of higher fuel prices. The price projections used in other scenarios are lower than recent prices, and it seems plausible that gas and oil prices could remain much higher.


Energy Information Administration

August 2, 2009



Here are the latest diesel and regular gasoline price charts from the EIA:



EIA estimates show a declining annual US crude oil production, figures are in thousand barrels:


2006 2007 2008
1,862,259 1,848,450 1,811,817

The number of rigs drilling for oil and natural gas in the U.S. rose this week as the brisk decline in U.S. drilling activity showed some signs of stabilizing.


American Electric Power Co. said Friday that industrial demand dropped by 20% for the quarter, the sharpest decline the company has seen in decades. They stated that they are exploring new rate structures to compensate for the drop in demand. The regulated utilities which AEP own have a guaranteed rate of return on invested capital as granted by the PSCs. So the company will be seeking a higher rate for delivering less power; here as demand drops with constant supply, price increases, reversing the supply-demand-price function we learned in Econ 101.

Eight of AEP’s eleven regulated utilities are in the hard-hit American midwest.