Energy Related CO2 Emissions Projected to Drop in 2019 & 20

By: Bret Grady 
Published: January 28, 2019

Based on preliminary data, total U.S. energy consumption in 2018 will be just 0.4% below the record set in 2007. Relatively high energy consumption is attributable largely to changes in the weather: last year was very warm, and U.S. population-weighted cooling degree days (CDD, an indicator of air-conditioning demand) hit a new record in 2018.

Both 2019 and 2020 are expected to have milder weather than 2018, resulting in fewer HDDs (milder winters) and fewer CDDs (milder summers) and, consequently, less energy consumption. However, even with declines in emissions over the next two years, energy-related CO2 emissions in 2019 and 2020 are still projected to be higher than 2017 levels.

Renewables Expected to Top List of New Generation Capacity

By: Marty Barclay 
Published: January 22, 2019

EIA expects non-hydroelectric renewable energy resources such as solar and wind will be the fastest growing source of U.S. electricity generation for at least the next two years. EIA’s January 2019 Short-Term Energy Outlook(STEO) forecasts that electricity generation from utility-scale solar generating units will grow by 10% in 2019 and by 17% in 2020. According to the January STEO, wind generation will grow by 12% and 14% during the next two years. EIA forecasts total U.S. electricity generation across all fuels will fall by 2% this year and then show very little growth in 2020.

EIA projects that the share of total U.S. electricity generation produced by all renewables other than hydropower will increase by three percentage points during the next two years, from 10% of total generation in 2018 to 13% in 2020.

EIA Expects Relatively Flat Gas Prices, Strong Production

By: Gregg Shively 
Published: January 18, 2019

EIA’s January 2019 Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) expects several U.S. natural gas market trends from 2018 to continue into 2019 and 2020, including relatively stable Henry Hub natural gas prices and increasing natural gas production and exports. According to the STEO, total U.S. natural gas consumption is expected to increase slightly through 2020, with increases in the electric and industrial sectors offsetting decreases in the residential and commercial sectors.

EIA expects the U.S. benchmark Henry Hub natural gas spot price to average $2.89 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) in 2019 and $2.92/MMBtu in 2020, about 25 cents lower than the 2018 average of $3.15/MMBtu. Prices in the forecast are expected to be comparable with recent years as production growth largely keeps pace with demand and export growth. NYMEX trading during the five-day period ending January 10, 2019, suggests that a range of $1.85/MMBtu to $4.80/MMBtu encompasses the market expectation for Henry Hub prices in December 2019 at the 95% confidence level.

EIA Expects Flat Natural Gas Pricing in 2019

By: Gregg Shively 
Published: January 17, 2019

EIA expects the U.S. benchmark Henry Hub natural gas spot price to average $2.89 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) in 2019 and $2.92/MMBtu in 2020, about 25 cents lower than the 2018 average of $3.15/MMBtu. Prices in the forecast are expected to be comparable with recent years as production growth largely keeps pace with demand and export growth. NYMEX trading during the five-day period ending January 10, 2019, suggests that a range of $1.85/MMBtu to $4.80/MMBtu encompasses the market expectation for Henry Hub prices in December 2019 at the 95% confidence level.

NJ Community Solar Approved

By: Gregg Shively 
Published: January 17, 2019

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) approved rules for a new community solar pilot program that will give many renters, low-income families, businesses and others an easy and affordable way to go solar for the first time. The ruling clears the way for at least 225 MW of community solar to be built in New Jersey over the next three years, which will fuel bill savings and power approximately 20,000 to 30,000 homes and other customers. The program will also create local clean energy jobs and help the state meet its ambitious renewable energy goals.

Natural Gas Supply, Demand and Pricing Increase in 2018

By: Gregg Shively 
Published: January 07, 2019

In 2018, the average annual Henry Hub natural gas spot price increased to $3.16 per million British thermal units (MMBtu), up 15 cents from the 2017 average. Prices increased gradually through much of the year, with significant price increases during October and November, before declining at the end of December. Growing U.S. production and low temperatures during the winter months supported increased natural gas consumption through 2018. 

US LNG Exports Doubling in 2019

By: Gregg Shively 
Published: December 10, 2018

EIA projects that U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) export capacity will reach 8.9 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) by the end of 2019, making it the third largest in the world behind Australia and Qatar. Currently, U.S. LNG export capacity stands at 3.6 Bcf/d, and it is expected to end the year at 4.9 Bcf/d as two new liquefaction units (called trains) become operational. 

ConEd Demand Response Program Approved

By: Bret Grady 
Published: November 02, 2018

In August 2018, the New York Public Service Commission approved a petition by Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc. (Con Edison) for a $5 million, three-year natural gas demand response pilot program, one of the first demand response projects for natural gas. 

NERC Summer Reliability Assessment Overview

By: Gregg Shively 
Published: June 29, 2018

The North American Electric Reliability Corporation's (NERC) recent 2018 Summer Reliability Assessment finds that there are enough resources to meet this summer's projected peak electricity demand in in all areas of the country except the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). Anticipated reserve margins—the amount of expected unused electric generating capacity at the time of peak load—range from a little less than 11% in ERCOT to about 33% in PJM Interconnection (PJM).

All U.S. regions in NERC’s Summer Reliability Assessment have anticipated reserve margins that are higher than their planning reference margins with the exception of ERCOT. With 78,146 megawatts (MW) of anticipated resources this summer, ERCOT projects an anticipated reserve margin of 10.9%, which equates to a capacity shortfall of about 2,000 MW, based on its planning reference margin of 13.75%.

Anticipated reserve margins are highest in the PJM and Southwest Power Pool (SPP), where reserve margins exceed 32%. Reserve margins that are significantly in excess of target levels, although helpful for reliability, indicate the region may have an excess generation capacity.

California Deferring Transmission with Batteries?

By: Chris Herr 
Published: June 26, 2018

Transmission deferral is one of the more cost-effective uses for energy storage on the grid, but it often lacks a clear path for implementation. The California Independent System Operator (CAISO) is working to correct that.

While most stakeholders cheered CAISO for taking on the topic, the range of responses shows there is much more work to be done to incorporate energy storage into the California grid. Some stakeholders are weary of the proposal's potential to suppress competitive prices in wholesale power markets.