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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) last week approved a rule to begin the process of developing an "orderly and transparent mechanism" for shuttering the current Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC) program.
The process is necessary to develop and transition to a "sustainable program that will support the continued growth of new, cost effective solar generation in the state," regulators said. The clean energy bill raises the state's renewable portfolio standard (RPS) to 50% by 2030.
Natural gas combined-cycle plants accounted for 10.1 GW, or 40%, of the total proposed capacity that had been scheduled to come online in 2017. Of this amount, 7.5 GW came online within the year, and 2.6 GW were delayed until 2018.
Renewable energy technologies—wind and solar (PV) generation—represented the next two largest groups of capacity additions in 2017. Of the 6.9 GW of onshore wind turbines scheduled to come online in 2017, 86% came online as scheduled in 2017; 792 megawatts (MW) were delayed and 155 MW were canceled. About 3.9 GW of utility-scale solar photovoltaic capacity were completed on schedule last year, and 1.2 GW were delayed to 2018 or beyond.
Competitive power marketers supplied about 21% of the retail electricity sold in the United States in 2016, up from 11% in 2005. The share of retail electricity sales of regulated investor-owned utilities fell from 62% in 2005 to 52% in 2016. This shift was driven by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which repealed the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935 and closed the original federal regulatory structure established by New Deal-era legislation, which was a combination of public financial reforms and regulations in the 1930s.