Northwest Energy Markets Up For Discussion At Mid-C Seminar

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The annual Mid-C Seminar is as much a meeting of family and friends as it is an opportunity to catch up on all of the latest news from the Northwest electricity market. Now in its 17th year, our hosts – the Frazier family and the Dearing family (Horsepower Consulting Inc. and Dearing Consulting) – put on another excellent two-day event at the Wenatchee Conference Centre in Washington.

On the first day, some of us we were treated to a wonderful day of golf at the Desert Canyon Golf Resort high up in the mountains; while for others it was wine tasting. I for one was quite happy to play golf in the fantastic heat of the desert valley.

ZE sponsors the Hole-In-One golf challenge. Aiman El-Ramly from ZE (2nd from left) with John Ivey, Cargill, Bob Winn, OATI, and Jay Fintz, Chelan PUD. Source: ZE

As far as the seminar goes, we were privileged to hear from a variety of guest speakers who provided us with the information on what’s happening in the Mid-C. We heard some impressive presentations during the course of the day on Enbridge, Genscape, BPA, Abacus Solutions, TFS Energy, 3TIER, California ISO, and the North Tier Transmission Group amongst others.

Wenatchee Conference Centre, this year’s setting for the Mid-C seminar on July 16th and 17th. Source: ZE

This year there was a lot of discussion around Energy Imbalance Markets (EIM) and their impact on the Northwest energy market. While there seems to be a lot of discussion on this topic, there seems to be less with respect to definition. The question one would ask is if EIM will be fully adopted or is it going to be like many of the initiatives we’ve previously seen – only partially adopted and languishing.

As one of our hosts Doug Frazier said: “We keep changing and changing, but we continue to stay the same”. I tend to agree.

A question I posed during the seminar was as follows: “What has been the greatest impact on prices and operations in the Mid-C? For instance, is the Mid-C really an isolated market that can control its own price behavior and constraints, or is it really part of a larger global market that is pushing and forcing changes in policy and market structures?”

We recently wrote about the impact of crude prices amid Eygptian unrest on this blog. Will the ongoing strife in Egypt and its immediate impact on crude prices have a larger impact on Mid-C prices, or does a discussion of a pending real-time market have more impact?

It’s hard to tell and that’s part of the challenge within the Mid-C; balancing the local and the global restraints at the same time.

Doug Frazier from Horsepower Consulting and family at the Mid-C Seminar. Source: ZE

As always, I was happy to provide the market summary and wrap-up before the seminar was drawn to a close. I have been speaking at and closing at this event for several years now and it continues to be an excellent platform for open communication and knowledge-sharing.

I look forward to 2014 and the many more years that ZE PowerGroup Inc. will attend and participate at the Mid-C seminar.

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