Estimated U.S. natural gas demand on January 1, 2018 reached 150.7 billion cubic feet, surpassing the previous single-day record set in 2014, according to estimates from PointLogic. Much colder-than-normal temperatures across much of the United States have led to increased demand for heating, much of which is provided by natural gas. Although residential and commercial natural gas consumption did not appear to surpass previous records, higher consumption in the electric power and industrial sectors, greater exports of natural gas to Mexico, and more demand for liquefied natural gas (LNG) feedstock gas contributed to the recent record demand level.
As the temperature dropped, wind energy production waned just as demand was rising. And the local power companies responded by… burning oil. During cold snaps, gas pipelines must supply homes first, and gas-fired power plants get short-changed. ISO-NE has a Winter Reliability Program which mainly compensates gas-fired power plants for keeping fuel on site: oil or LNG or CNG. (Liquefied or compressed natural gas.) The grid was running about 22% oil.
Much of the country is in the grip of frigid weather, which is increasing demand for electricity (but still less than during hot summer months). Predictably, coal interests contend that because coal plants are running more to help meet higher demand, it proves America needs the Trump-Perry bailout plan to save them from their economic woes. But the reality is the opposite.
While the current “polar vortex 2.0” is the precise situation for which the coal industry said the power system would come crashing down, the grid has been performing well, with plenty of reserves even as the mercury dips to record levels.
In the end, the nuclear skeptics were right: Building a nuclear power plant is a bet-the-company proposition. That warning materialized on Wednesday, when Dominion Energy Incorporated (Richmond, Virginia) and SCANA Corporation (Cayce, South Carolina) agreed to merge in an all-stock deal valued at $14.6 billion, including the assumption of debt.
On Wednesday, solar industry stakeholders converged once again in Washington, D.C., for what was likely the final public hearing on the controversial Section 201 trade case before President Donald Trump makes his decision.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on Wednesday gave NEXUS permission to begin construction, about a month after approving the $2.1 billion project.
NEXUS is a 36-inch diameter natural gas pipeline that will carry up to 1.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas a day from the Utica and Marcellus shales to users in Ohio, Michigan and Canada.
Even after an endorsement by Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and a green light from the relevant federal regulatory agency, the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline is still meeting stiff resistance from environmental activists and the Not in My Back Yard (NIMBY) crowd.
Concerns about the pipeline’s environmental impact are certainly warranted, and it’s understandable that most people do not want a pipeline anywhere near their property. But to meet the power needs of a modern state economy like Virginia’s, energy infrastructure has to go somewhere.
If approved, the 600-mile underground pipeline would deliver up to 1.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day from the Marcellus Shale deposit in West Virginia to serve the growing need for electricity in Virginia and North Carolina.
Data provided to Reuters by GTM Research, a clean energy market information firm, shows that eight of the 10 fastest-growing U.S. solar markets between the second quarters of 2016 and 2017 were Western, Midwestern or Southern states that voted for Trump, with Alabama and Mississippi topping the list. And solar firms are ramping up investments in these regions, signaling their faith that key renewable energy incentives will remain in place for years to come.
Under an Agreement announced Tuesday, the University of Utah will buy half its total electricity usage from carbon-free providers for the next 25 years, including 20 megawatts of solar power from Berkshire Hathaway.
Rocky Mountain Power will deliver the electricity through its network, with the flow of energy expected to begin in late 2018.
The five states that get the largest percentage of their power from wind - Iowa, Kansas, South Dakota, Oklahoma and North Dakota — all voted for Mr. Trump. So did Texas, which produces the most wind power in absolute terms. In fact, over two-thirds of the wind power produced in America comes from states that Mr. Trump carried in 2016.
So don’t expect Congress to cut these tax credits anytime soon.