EMFC Addresses Head-on the Tectonic Industry Changes

With record attendance in one of the most iconic tourist destinations in the world, the 20th Annual Electric Market Forecasting Conference (EMFC) took place September 6-8 in Las Vegas, NV. This industry-leading conference assembled top-notch speakers and gave an exclusive networking experience to attendees from start to finish.

The pre-conference day featured in-depth sessions designed to maximize the value of the Aurora software for its users. Advanced sessions included discussions on resource modeling and improving model productivity, recent database enhancements including the disaggregation of U.S. resources, an update on the nodal capability and data, and other model enhancements.

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Michael Soni, Economist, Support | EPIS

Before the afternoon Users’ Group meeting started, EPIS announced that it was dropping “xmp” from the name of its flagship product to purely Aurora, and unveiled a fresh logo. Ben Thompson, CEO of EPIS said, “The new logo reflects our core principles of being solid and dependable, of continuously improving speed and performance, and of our commitment to helping our customers be successful well into this more complex future.”

That evening, attendees kicked-off the main conference with a night under the stars at Eldorado Canyon for drinks, a BBQ dinner and a tour of the Techatticup Mine; the oldest, richest and most famous gold mine in Southern Nevada.


Eldorado Canyon, Techatticup Mine

On Thursday, thought leaders from across the industry presented various perspectives on the complex implications that recent industry changes will have on grid operations, future planning and investments. The forum session opened with Arne Olson, a partner with E3 Consulting in San Francisco, discussing California’s proposed legislation SB-100, which aimed to mandate that 100% of California’s energy must be met by renewable sources by 2045, along with the bill’s implications for Western power markets and systems. He pointed out that SB-32, last year’s expansion of earlier legislation, which mandates a 40% reduction in GHG emissions (below the 1990 levels by 2030), is actually more binding than SB-100. He explained the economics of negative prices, why solar output will be increasingly curtailed and posited that CAISO’s famous “duck curve” is becoming more an economic issue vs. the reliability issue it was originally intended to illustrate.

Other Thursday morning presentations included “The Rise of Utility-Scale Storage: past, present, and future” by Cody Hill, energy storage manager for IPP LS Power, who outlined the advances in utility-scale lithium ion batteries, and their expected contributions to reserves as well as energy; Masood Parvania, Ph.D., professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Utah, who described recent advances in continuous-time operation and pricing models that more accurately capture and compensate for the fast-ramping capability of demand response (DR) and energy storage device; and Mahesh Morjaria, Ph.D., vice president of PV systems for First Solar who discussed innovations in PV solar module technology, plant capabilities and integration with storage.

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Masood Parvania, Ph.D., Director – Utah Smart Energy Lab | The University of Utah

The afternoon proceeded with Mark Cook, general manager of Hoover Dam, who gave a fascinating glimpse into the operations and improvements of one of the most iconic sources of hydro power in the country; and concluded with Lee Alter, senior resource planning analyst and policy expert for Tucson Electric Power, who shared some of the challenges and lessons learned in integrating renewables at a mid-sized utility.

Networking continued Thursday afternoon with a few of the unique opportunities Las Vegas offers. In smaller groups attendees were able to better connect with each other while enjoying one of three options which included a delicious foodie tour, swinging clubs at TopGolf, or solving a mystery at the Mob Museum.

The final day of the conference was devoted to giving Aurora clients the opportunity to see how their peers are using the software to solve complex power market issues. It featured practical discussions on how to model battery storage, ancillary services, the integration of renewables and an analysis of the impact of clean energy policies all while using Aurora.

The conference adjourned and attendees headed out for a special tour of the Hoover Dam which included a comprehensive view of the massive dam and its operations, and highlighted many of the unique features around the site.

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Hoover Dam, Power Plant Tour

The EMFC is a once-a-year opportunity for industry professionals. The 20th Annual EMFC addressed head-on the tectonic industry changes (occurring and expected) from deep renewable penetration, advances in storage technologies, and greater uncertainty. Join EPIS next year for the 21st Annual EMFC!

For more information on the 2017 speakers, please visit http://epis.com/events/2017-emfc/speakers.html
To obtain a copy of any or all of the presentations from this year’s EMFC, Aurora clients can go to EPIS’s Knowledge Base website using their login credentials here. If you do not have login credentials, please email info@epis.com to request copies.

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EPIS Releases New Version of AURORA

Version 12.3 introduces significant enhancements

Las Vegas, Nevada – April 25, 2017 — EPIS (www.epis.com), the market leader in power market
simulation, forecasting and analysis, announced the release of version 12.3 of its AURORA
software at the Platts Global Power Markets™ Conference. The latest version boasts a number
of enhancements to storage logic, ancillary services, long-term logic, improved RPS modeling
and nodal capabilities.

AURORA 12.3 further solidifies its position as the most valuable power market forecasting
and analysis software on the market today. It is fast, easy to use, and transparent. Upgrades in
the new version include:

  • Enhanced Storage Logic—improved ability to model the intricacies of renewable and
    storage integration, electric vehicles, and other technologies.
  • Ancillary Services Enhancements—significant enhancements, including sub-hourly
    dispatch and use in nodal studies, and improved MW reporting for simultaneous
    contributions to multiple products
  • Improved RPS Modeling—offers new option to identify resources not eligible to set
    capacity prices– especially useful when modeling RPS policies where renewable
    resources must be built but cannot participate in capacity markets. Also, RPS constraints
    can now be input as a percentage of demand or MWh value, giving more flexibility to
    specifying RPS targets over time.
  • Long-Term (LT) Capacity Expansion Logic Enhancements—now have the option to
    change dispatch-hour sampling dynamically—accelerating studies, but still providing
    detail on final production run.
  • New LT Constraint Types—including capacity and energy max limits, which provide
    more flexibility for build decisions to targets in LT studies.
  • New LT Reporting Option—new build report output table making it helpful to quickly
    see which constraints were binding (min, max by technology/fuel/area).
  • Nodal SCUC—version 12.3 also includes an exciting new option to run a full security
    constrained unit commitment (SCUC). The mixed-integer program that performs the
    commitment decisions, now accounts for nodal constraints, including branch, corridor,
    and contingency constraints. The new SCUC ability is in addition to a new, proprietary
    solving method that significantly speeds nodal analysis.

AURORA v.12.3 is further enhanced by the proven and calibrated databases that either
come with the license or as an add-on, including: U.S.-Canada, Europe or Mexico. The calibrated
datasets simplify meaningful forecasting. All AURORA databases include a base-case 25-year
power price forecast and generator capacity expansion and retirement plan. The sources and
procedures used to update the data are thoroughly documented. Updates to the databases are
provided under the annual AURORA license.

For the past 20 years, AURORA has had a reputation for being best-in-class, with unmatched
support. Version 12.3 further establishes its position as the leader in power market forecasting
and analysis.

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EMFC Delivers Practical and Strategic Insight

The conference will be held at the Atlanta Evergreen Marriott Conference Resort, September 14-16, 2016


(Photos courtesy of Sahabia Ahmed, Entergy; Cameron Porter, Robin Hood Studios; and EPIS employees.)


EPIS headed south to Georgia’s beautiful Stone Mountain as it hosted the premier Electric Market Forecasting Conference (EMFC) for the 19th consecutive year, which took place Sept. 14-16. The EMFC featured a stellar lineup of speakers and activities to facilitate Expanding Perspectives on the Future of Energy Markets and provide a unique networking opportunity for over 75 industry experts and professionals in attendance.

The conference kicked off with a fun and relaxing evening at Stone Mountain Park’s Memorial Hall with an impressive view of the mountain and a one-of-a-kind Mountainvision® laser show, inclusive of fireworks and musical scores.

Thursday’s speakers focused on industry-wide issues opening with Jeff Burleson, vice president, system planning of Southern Company, who said that utilities couldn’t ignore what happens on the customer side of the meter. Burleson went on to state that past planning has focused on wholesale generation and transmission, but going forward, utilities will need to consider how customers are shaping and changing their load with new technologies.

Other Thursday morning presentations included “Outlook on Opportunities in Renewable Development” from Mark Herrmann, vice president, structuring of NRG Energy; “Market Evolution for Renewable Integration” from Todd Levin, Ph.D., energy systems engineer of Argonne National Laboratory; and “Advances and Opportunities for Internal Combustion Engine Power Plants” from Joe Ferrari, market development analyst of Wärtsilä North America.

The afternoon proceeded with Lakshmi Alagappan, director, and Jack Moore, director, market analysis, of Energy and Environmental Economics (E3), who presented “California Clean Energy Policy: Implications for Western Markets”. In the session, Alagappan stated that as California’s aggressive RPS comes to fruition, the EIM Market may help alleviate some over-generation by reducing thermal dispatch across the West Interconnection to make room for cheap exports to flow out of California. Alagappan went on to say that over-generation is not an abstract concern. Already, roughly 10 percent of dispatch hours in CAISO this year have resulted in zero or negative prices.

Following Alagappan and Moore, Larry Kellerman, managing partner of Twenty First Century Utilities wrapped up Thursday’s session by proposing a new paradigm for utilities that would allow these organizations to take advantage of low cost of capital and play a role in developments on the customer side of the meter. Strategies included personalized rate structures and curated services and technologies. Kellerman said, “We talk about energy efficiency as a resource, but energy efficiency is only a resource when you can deploy the capital and make the investment.”

Networking continued outside the conference room during Thursday’s afternoon activities. Some attendees took in the scenic views of Stone Mountain on a championship golf course while others participated in a breezy cruise on beautiful Stone Mountain Lake in a 1940’s era Army DUKW followed by a guided tour, highlighting early Georgia life, through Stone Mountain’s Historic Square.

During Friday’s Electric Market Forum speakers, and expert users of AURORAxmp, showcased effective examples of how to enhance your modeling endeavors.  The morning began with Morris Greenberg, managing director, gas and power modeling of PIRA Energy Group. Greenberg, focusing on “Integrating Natural Gas and Power Modeling”, said that the electrical sector is one of the most price elastic categories of natural gas demand. Combining gas and electrical models can capture feedback loops between gas and power markets. Greenberg continued by saying that as the electrical market’s share of total gas consumption increases, the behavior of the electrical market will continue to have a larger and larger impact on gas prices.

Switching gears, Eina Ooka, senior structure and pricing analyst of The Energy Authority, gave a very well received presentation on “Discovering Insights from Outputs – Exploratory Visualization and Reporting Through R”. Ooka said, “Interfacing AURORAxmp with other tools, such as R, allows users to quickly and effectively perform detailed analysis by automating almost all stages of the process.” Ooka concluded with a detailed discussion and demonstration on the visualization of data to make complex information easily digestible.

Additional Friday presentations included “Investing in Mexico Gas and Power” from Brett Blankenship, research director Americas primary fuel fundamentals from Wood Mackenzie and “Challenges of Forecasting Reliability Prices – Capacity Price in PJM & ORDC in ERCOT” from Joo Hyun Jin, commercial analysis of E.ON Climate & Renewables North America.

The EMFC is a once-a-year opportunity for industry professionals. Attendees of the 19th Annual EMFC gained new connections and an enriched market perspective.  As one attendee put it, “I really enjoyed the [presentations]… it was great to have exposure to such a wide range of topics from such qualified speakers. Congrats for doing such a great job with conference planning and execution.” Join EPIS next year for the 20th anniversary in Las Vegas!

For more information on this year’s speakers, please visit http://epis.com/events/2016-emfc/speakers.html

To obtain a copy of any or all of the presentations from this year’s EMFC, please go to EPIS’s Knowledge Base using your login credentials here. If you do not have login credentials, please email info@epis.com to request copies.

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19th Annual Electric Market Forecasting Conference to Focus on the Future of Energy Markets

The 2016 Electric Market Forecasting Conference (EMFC), a leading gathering of industry strategists and executives, will feature in-depth discussions on the driving forces of today’s energy markets. The 19th annual conference, organized by EPIS, LLC, will bring together a stellar lineup of speakers as well as senior executives in the industry.  The EMFC will be held at the Atlanta Evergreen Marriott Conference Resort in Atlanta, Georgia, September 14-16, 2016.


The EMFC features an optional one-day pre-conference training for both new and advanced power market modelers, as well as an AURORAxmp Users’ Group Meeting. Both clients and non-clients are welcome to attend. The two-day conference will include presentations and case studies from industry experts, as well as special events and networking opportunities. Speakers include: Larry Kellerman, managing partner of Twenty First Century Utilities, Morris Greenberg, managing director of gas and power modeling at PIRA Energy Group and Jeff Burleson, VP of system planning at Southern Company. A full list of speakers is available at http://epis.com/events/2016-emfc/speakers.html.

“Over the past 19 years, the Electric Market Forecasting Conference has become established as a valuable, strategic gathering for clients and non-clients alike,” said Ben Thompson, CEO of EPIS. “It is an event where executives and peers in the industry gather to share market intelligence and discuss the future of the industry.”

EMFC has developed a reputation for being an event that delivers real, actionable intelligence, not just abstract concepts. The organizers focus on an agenda filled with speakers who can share experience and takeaways that can be used to have a positive impact on attendees’ organizations. The conference’s intimate environment allows participants to create lasting relationships with peers and luminaries alike.

Now in its 19th year, EMFC is an essential conference for power industry professionals to come together to share best practices and market intelligence. The one-day pre-conference allows AURORAxmp users to learn techniques to master the AURORAxmp application and maximize ROI. More information can be found at: http://epis.com/events/2016-emfc/index.html.

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