Press and Media
HOUSTON (August 21, 2019) – OTC Global Holdings (OTCGH), leading independent interdealer broker in over-the-counter commodities, today announced the addition of Aaron Easterling as Vice President of Business Development. Easterling, who brings more than 13 years of experience leading talent initiatives in global alternative investment management to the company, will be responsible for helping the firm identify and recruit premier candidates to OTCGH’s nearly 20 independent brokerage shops across the globe.
“At OTCGH we are focused on growing two things in order to continue succeeding, our people and technology resources,” said Javier Loya, OTCGH’s chairman and chief executive officer. “However, we fully realize that without great people the best technology in the world is useless. We’re excited to welcome a seasoned professional like Aaron to this team and know that he will only help us further enhance the quality of employees at this company as well as that this will lead to even better client service in the end.”
Prior to joining OTCGH, Easterling was the Chief Human Resource Officer and Portfolio Manager for Velocity Merchant Energy LP for more than 10 years. Easterling, who has a bachelor’s degree in business management from Southeastern Oklahoma State University, also previously served in various Talent Acquisition and Account Management roles with HBK Capital Management, Countrywide Financial and Management Alliance Group.
“While many companies search for a ‘silver bullet’ among the continued changes in the market, OTCGH knows that it starts with great people and is willing to invest in this belief by hiring the best to continue providing unparalleled customer service to its clients,” added Easterling.
For more information about OTCGH please visit www.otcgh.com.
About OTC Global Holdings
Formed in 2007, OTC Global Holdings has become the world’s largest independent institutional broker of commodities, covering financial and physical instruments from offices in Chicago, Des Moines, Geneva, Houston, London, Louisville, New Jersey, New York and Singapore. The company is a leading liquidity provider on CBOT, ICE, NYMEX and NFX, ranking number one amongst its peers in numerous derivatives contracts across biofuels, emissions, commodity index products, crude oil, natural gas, natural gas liquids (NGLs), metals, petrochemicals and refined products, power, proppants, soft commodities, and weather derivatives. The company serves more than 450 institutional clients, including over 70 members of the Global Fortune 500, and transacts in hundreds of different commodity delivery points in Asia, Europe and the Americas. To learn more about the company, please visit www.otcgh.com or go to https://player.vimeo.com/video/146686709.
It may be time to start building power plants in Texas again.
The state’s generators made a killing this week as unrelenting heat sent electricity prices skyrocketing to unprecedented levels, briefly blowing past a $9,000 a megawatt-hour ceiling. That put producers more than two-thirds of the way toward profits that the state’s power market monitor says could touch off a power plant build-out. And the region’s only halfway into the cooling season.
“We need these kinds of days” to demonstrate that the state is ripe for new plants, Scott Burger, an energy research fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said in an interview.
An expansion would make for a dramatic turnaround in the Lone Star State and stand in stark contrast to the glut of generation nationwide. The U.S. has become so awash in cheap natural gas and renewable power resources in recent years that electricity prices have, in some places, plunged below zero. This supply excess has forced massive, aging coal-fired power plants to retire, leaving a void that wind farms were expected to more than make up for in Texas.
Texas, however, is facing record electricity demand, especially in the west where power-hungry shale drillers are exploring for oil and gas. And winds weren’t strong enough to rescue the region earlier this week as Dallas baked in 103-degree Fahrenheit (39-degree Celsius) weather. Generation from turbines has plunged for three straight days.
“I like renewables and having our grid have a lot of wind in the mix,” said Campbell Faulkner, chief data analyst for commodities broker OTC Global Holdings. But to keep the system running, he said, Texas needs other power generation resources.
The last gas-fired plant that came into service in the region was actually an old one that NRG Energy Inc. resurrected in May to cash in on the gain in power demand. Meanwhile, in the last six months of 2018, three gas-fueled projects and five wind projects were canceled. Another 2,485 megawatts of gas, wind and solar projects were delayed, according to grid operator Electric Reliability Council of Texas.
Faulkner sees this week’s price spikes as a wake-up call for Texas, one that could bolster the case for a so-called capacity market in which power generators are paid to guarantee future supplies. “They are going to either have to move to a capacity-market style or you are going to see some weird things happen in the summertime,” he said.
Houston remains under a heat advisory through 7 p.m. Wednesday, but the high likely won’t surpass 100 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. Electricity consumption is forecast peak today at around 72,000 megawatts, Ercot said. That’s below the record set Monday of 74,531 megawatts.
On Monday, wholesale power jumped 36,000% to average as much as $6,537.45 a megawatt-hour across the Texas grid. It surged more than 49,000% on Tuesday to hit the $9,000 price limit that Ercot set to avoid runaway prices under extreme circumstances. Other markets rode that surge, too. Futures prices for power next July and August also jumped to the highest in five months, and the Ercot North daily price settled at a record $1,400 a megawatt-hour Tuesday on the Intercontinental Exchange.
The grid operator warned of power shortages on Tuesday. For the first time since January 2014, it declared an energy emergency, calling on all power plants to ramp up and asking customers to conserve. At one point on Tuesday afternoon, the region’s power reserves had dwindled to a record 2,121 megawatts, less than 3% of total demand on the system.
Monday’s rally alone “made lots of money” for generators, said Beth Garza, director of independent market monitoring for Ercot. Power generators NRG and Vistra Energy Corp. rallied, gaining 1.9% and 2.4%, respectively, on Tuesday.
While steep, the price spikes proved short-lived. They lasted all of five hours on both Monday and Tuesday. By Tuesday evening, power demand had fallen and temperatures were back in the 90s. Power was trading at around $25 a megawatt-hour.
At 5:30 p.m. local time, Ercot declared that it had returned to “normal grid conditions.”
Please find the article linked here and full coverage in the email below:On the Brink of Blackouts, Texas Makes Case for New Plants
by Mark Watson, August 13, 2019
Houston — As the Electric Reliability Council of Texas’ power demand neared another record for peakload Tuesday afternoon and ERCOT called for energy conservation, real-time wholesale power prices, including congestion and price adders, topped $9,000/MWh.
As a heat wave continued to grip the state, ERCOT set a record of 74,531 MW Monday, and real-time prices spent two hours and 15 minutes above $1,000/MWh, hitting as high as $6,537.45/MWh. Real-time prices spent another 2.5 hours between $100 and $999/MWh Monday.
High temperatures hit 100 degrees Fahrenheit in Houston Monday and 101 in Dallas and San Antonio, according to CustomWeather. They were forecast to hit 102 F in Dallas and San Antonio Tuesday and 99 F in Houston.
Around 2 pm CDT Tuesday, ERCOT forecast load to peak at 75,586 MW, but by 4:15 pm, that forecast had fallen to 74,552 MW, which still would have been a record. As of 4:30 pm CDT, ERCOT reported current system load at 74,181 MW. ERCOT’s previous record, set July 19, 2018, was 73,473 MW.
Systemwide prices, including scarcity adders and congestion, topped $100/MWh at 3 pm CDT Tuesday, settling at $216.09/MWh for the first 15 minutes. By 2 pm, the systemwide average was $2,004.19/MWh, and it stayed above that through at least 4:15 pm CDT – above $9,000/MWh for the period after 3:30 pm.
A weather system was forecast to move through much of the state Wednesday, limiting highs in Dallas and Houston to the low to mid-90s, but San Antonio was still expected to hit 100 F.
Around 3:15 pm Tuesday, ERCOT declared an Energy Emergency Alert, as physical reserves had fallen below 2,300 MW, and called for voluntary energy conservation between 3 pm and 7 pm CDT. The EEA allows ERCOT to “call on all available power supplies, including power from other grids, if available,” according to an ERCOT EEA document.
ERCOT made it through the summer of 2018, which was hotter through June and July, without having to declare an EEA.
The Public Utility Commission of Texas also called on residents to limit their electricity usage.
“When the energy demands of our state’s steadily growing population and booming economy intersect with hot summer temperatures, the supply of power can get a little tight, so we’re calling on Texans to help moderate demand for electricity with a few simple choices during the late afternoon hours this week,” PUC Chairman DeAnn Walker said in a media release.
Asked to speculate about the long-term effects of this week’s heat wave and power market behavior, Campbell Faulkner, senior vice president at OTC Global Holdings, an interdealer commodities broker, said that if the market has to reach the next level of Energy Emergency Alert, ERCOT can reduce system demand by interrupting power for large industrial customers who have contractually agreed for such contingencies.
If such an event happens, Faulkner said that “in the long term the market will likely move to a capacity market structure.”
“This is due to the fact that ERCOT has not replaced a lot of the coal fleet retirements with large gas-fired base load [generation] due to financing costs and variability [historical] of natural gas [prices] as compared to coal/nuke fleet,” Faulkner said in an email Tuesday. “Today there is concern about rotating outages and automatic load shed if the total load is not reduced…. Over the past two days the variability in grid frequency shows that the market and generators are struggling to maintain grid tie and voltage.”
Please find the article linked here and full coverage in the email below: ERCOT real-time wholesale power prices spend hours above $2,000/MWh
by L.M. (Wooty) Sixel, August 13, 2019
The heat wave blanketing Texas drove wholesale power prices to record levels Tuesday as triple-digit temperatures strained electricity supplies, spurred calls for energy conservation and drew the Texas power grid perilously close to rolling power outages.
Wholesale electricity prices in Houston soared to $9,000 per megawatt hour for more than an hour Tuesday afternoon and as high as $9,100 per megawatt hour in other parts of Texas, reflecting transmission congestion costs that allow prices to exceed the $9,000 statewide price cap. In comparison, prices were about $19 per megawatt hour at 8 a.m. Tuesday.
The surging wholesale prices are likely to lead to higher prices on retail electric bills for consumers and businesses in the future.
The state grid manager the Electric Reliability Council of Texas alerted power generators Tuesday afternoon that power reserves were in such short supply — dipping below 2,300 megawatts — that an emergency condition already existed or was imminent and called for conservation measures. The alert raised concerns whether Texas would have enough power to get through the hot afternoon or whether the state would have to resort to extreme measures such as rolling blackouts.
Houston’s heat index was 107 degrees Fahrenheit at 2 p.m. Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service. Power demand peaked at 74,181 megawatts, just slightly below Monday’s record of 74,531 megawatt.
When power reserves are so tight and demand so intense, a malfunction in just one generating unit could be enough to trigger temporary blackouts, said Campbell Faulkner, chief data analyst for the commodities trading firm OTC Global Holdings. The grid was headed for shortages Monday until 7,000 megawatts of wind power came online, Faulkner said.
Prices peaked Monday at about $6,500 per megawatt hour.
“We got bailed out by wind,” said Faulkner.
Late afternoon wind energy also relieved the tight power reserves and prices Tuesday.
Generating capacity sank low enough Tuesday to trigger hefty price adders authorized by Texas regulators. On Tuesday, the upward price adjustments contributed thousands of dollars to the price of each megawatt of power, often boosting power prices to the maximum level of $9,000 per megawatt hour.
The Public Utility Commission agreed this spring to increase the amount generators could charge for producing power during periods of peak demand. If operating reserves dip below 2,000 megawatts the price adders would increase the price of power to $9,000 per megawatt hour, the highest price allowed in Texas.
Price adders are lower when operating reserves range between 2,000 megawatts and 7,000 megawatts, but they can boost wholesale prices by hundreds of dollars per megawatt hour.
Power companies lobbied for the change, telling the utility commission that unless the upward price adjustments were made, generators would have little incentive to build new power plants or fix up old ones to accommodate population growth and increasing electricity demand. Another upward price adjustment is scheduled to go into effect next year.
In the first 10 days of August, the upward price adjustments have added about $30 per megawatt hour to the base price of electricity in Texas, according to the research firm S&P Global Platts. When the weather was milder in July, price adders boosted average electricity prices about $6.50 per megawatt hour over the course of the month.
Most consumers buy fixed power plans, and the price spikes this week are likely to show up in those plans when customers renew.
ERCOT on Tuesday called on consumers and businesses to reduce electricity use through 7 p.m. and suggested turning up thermostats, using fans, limiting the use of large appliances, shutting off pool pumps and closing blinds and drapes.
By 5:30 p.m., the emergency had passed and ERCOT canceled the conservation measures, according to ERCOT’s website.
Please find the article linked here and full coverage in the email below: Power demand, prices soar with temperatures