Renewables/GOES MMI: Central U.S. sets spring wind power generation records

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The Renewables Monthly Metals Index (MMI) fell 2.1% this month. (Editor’s Note: This report also includes coverage of grain-oriented electrical steel.) 

U.S. sets wind power records in spring

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported the central U.S. set wind power generation records this spring.

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“Earlier this year, the Southwest Power Pool (SPP), the regional transmission organization that manages the electric grid for much of the central United States, set records for the highest share of electricity demand supplied by wind power in both a single-hour period (72%) and a full day (62%),” the EIA reported.

“In 2019, wind power provided 29% of the electricity demand in SPP. On a monthly basis, wind power’s share of total demand in 2019 ranged from a high of 37% in October to a low of 18% in August. On a daily or hourly basis, however, wind’s share can be larger because of fluctuations in wind output and in total electricity generation.”

The spring season is often a fruitful one for wind power generation, the EIA explained.

“Records for wind penetration are often broken in the spring because of seasonal patterns in both electricity demand and wind power output,” the EIA said. “In the SPP region, wind generation is often highest in the spring months. Spring is also a time of year when electricity demand is relatively low because mild temperatures mean less electricity is used to heat or cool homes. Electricity demand is also relatively lower on weekends, which is when wind set its recent record shares in SPP.”

Tesla releases 2019 impact report

Electric vehicle maker Tesla last week released its 2019 impact report, in which it outlined its efforts toward ethical cobalt sourcing.

“Tesla’s batteries use nickel-rich cathode materials which contain less cobalt than other widely used cathode chemistries in the industry, with our ultimate goal being to eliminate cobalt completely from our cells,” Tesla reported. “For portions of our battery cell sourcing, we procure cobalt materials directly from producers that are verified as compliant with Tesla’s Code. We work with Tesla’s participants along the value chain to shorten the supply chain by eliminating third-party cobalt refiners and by ensuring that Tesla’s material is stored in clearly marked and segregated areas of the plant and is toll processed on dedicated lines for Tesla’s production.”

GOES

The GOES MMI, the index that tracks grain-oriented electrical steel, dropped 4% this month.

The GOES price fell 4.3% month over month to $2,313/mt.

On May 4, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced it had launched a Section 232 probe covering imports of laminations and wound cores for incorporation into transformers, electrical transformers, and transformer regulators.

“The decision to launch an investigation under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, as amended, follows inquiries and requests from multiple members of Congress as well as industry stakeholders,” the Department of Commerce said in a prepared statement. “As required by law, Secretary Ross will send a letter to Secretary of Defense Mark Esper informing him of the investigation. Secretary Ross will also notify other relevant executive branch officials.”

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Actual metals prices and trends

U.S. steel plate dropped 11.1% month over month to $566.00/st as of June 1.

Japanese steel plate fell 0.4% to $816.99/mt. Chinese steel plate rose 2.5% to $584.27/mt.

Korean steel plate fell 4.7% to $470.92/mt.

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