News

Solar cell imports to the U.S. rebound from tariffs in the first quarter of 2019

Energize Weekly, August 21, 2019 Imports of silicon solar cells and modules rebounded in the first quarter of 2019 after a sharp drop when the Trump administration announced it would impose tariffs on them in January 2018. Photovoltaic (PV) module imports averaged 644,000 kilowatts (kW) a month in the first quarter of 2019, about 16 percent more than the average

Worldwide coal and natural gas consumption rose in 2017, so have carbon dioxide emissions

Energize Weekly, August 21, 2019 World energy production – spurred by coal and natural gas – was up 2.2 percent in 2017 to 14,035 million tons oil equivalent (Mtoe) when compared to 2016, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). Coal and natural gas output were each up by more than 120 Mtoe in 2017. Coal’s share was 1 percent

Solar power contract prices are falling to record lows, but also gathering some risk

Energize Weekly, August 21, 2019 Portugal’s first photovoltaic (PV) solar auction has led to a record low-cost contract of $16.54 a megawatt-hour (MWh), narrowly besting the previous record, a recent Brazilian power purchase agreement (PPA) for $16.95 a MWh. “With the levelized cost of utility-scale PV in Southern Europe now well below current wholesale power prices, investors have flocked to

Xcel Energy gets the go-ahead to expand its Renewable Connect program in Minnesota

Energize Weekly, August 21, 2019 Xcel Energy has received approval from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to turn its Renewable Connect pilot into a full-time program and merge it with another of the company’s renewable programs, Windsource. Xcel plans to add 180 megawatts (MW) of wind generation and 50 MW of solar for the program under which customers pay a

Colorado PUC moves to block Tri-State plan to move from state to FERC regulation

Energize Weekly, August 21, 2019 The Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has filed an unprecedented protest with federal regulators seeking to block the bid by Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association to move from state to federal rate regulation. Tri-State, which wants to shift rate regulation to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), provides wholesale power to 43 rural electric cooperatives

A record number of wind projects being built and planned in the U.S., AWEA says

Energize Weekly, August 14, 2019 The U.S. wind industry hit a record for construction and project development in the second quarter of 2019 with nearly 42,000 megawatts (MW) of projects being built or in advance development, according to an American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) market report. The 20,908 MW of wind farms under construction and the 20,983 MW in the

Daily natural gas consumption record is set during July heat wave

Energize Weekly, August 14, 2019 A record for daily U.S. natural gas consumption – 44.5 billion cubic feet (Bcf) – was set on July 15 as a heat wave took hold of the Midwest and Eastern Seaboard, according to S&P Global Platts. The previous record of 43.1 Bcf was set on July 16, 2018. During this summer’s heat wave, from

Residential energy storage set to grow fivefold in Europe, Wood Mackenzie says

Energize Weekly, August 14, 2019 The annual pace of residential energy storage in Europe is set to double in the next six years with total of 6.6 gigawatts of capacity on the continent by 2024 – a fivefold increase from 2018, according to a Wood Mackenzie analysis. Annual deployments are projected to reach 500 megawatts with 1.2 gigawatt-hours of storage

High inventories and high corn prices squeeze ethanol producers’ margins

Energize Weekly, August 14, 2019 High corn prices and high inventories have squeezed operating margins for Midwest ethanol plants to multiyear lows in the first half of 2019, with an average margin of 3.5 cents a gallon, according to the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA). The high prices and inventories led to near zero margins for June and July. Despite

Oil will have to drop to $10/barrel to stay competitive with EVs and renewables, BNP Paribas study says

Energize Weekly, August 14, 2019 The economics for electric vehicles (EVs) and renewable energy charging have become so competitive that in the future, the price of oil will have to be no more than $10 a barrel to compete, according to analysis by Paris-based BNP Paribas. The analysis – Wells, Wires and Wheels – is based on a BNP Paribas-devised

Corporations continue to buy solar energy with Apple and Amazon leading the way

Energize Weekly, August 7, 2019 Corporate solar acquisitions had a near-record-breaking year in 2018 led by Apple and Amazon, according to industry trade group Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). In all, 1,144 megawatts (MW) were installed, the second highest year after 2017. The figure includes projects owned by companies and offsite facilities that were owned by companies or from which

U.S. becomes third biggest LNG exporter as Europe becomes a more important market

Energize Weekly, August 7, 2019 U.S exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG), which have been steadily rising, hit 4.7 billion cubic feet a day in May 2019, as exporters added a growing European market to their Asian base. In 2019, the U.S. became the third largest LNG exporter in the world behind Australia and Qatar, averaging 4.2 billion cubic feet

July heat wave drove peak electricity demand to two-year high in the East and Midwest

Energize Weekly, August 7, 2019 Electricity demand during the July heat wave that covered the Midwest and Atlantic coast led to the highest electricity peak – 704 gigawatts (GW) – in two years, according to the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA). The heat wave, which also brought high humidity, extended from July 15 to July 22, and the peak demand

Utility M&A deals rebound in the second quarter of 2019, reaching $12.3 billion, PwC says

Energize Weekly, August 7, 2019 North American utility mergers and acquisitions rebounded in the second quarter of 2019, hitting $12.3 billion, a 55 percent increase over the year’s first quarter, according to the accounting and consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). Still, the second quarter of 2019 was 47 percent lower than the same quarter in 2018, and there were no “mega-deals,”

Battery storage market to soar by 2040, but could face short-term supply chain challenges

Energize Weekly, August 7, 2019 Energy storage worldwide will grow 122-fold, to nearly 1,110 gigawatts (GW) by 2040 as battery prices fall and their use expands – but growth may also create supply chain challenges. These are the views of two recent analyses, one by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) seeing market growth, and another by Wood Mackenzie cautioning that

Global solar PV installation poised to set a record in 2019 of 114.5 GW

Energize Weekly, July 31, 2019 Global solar photovoltaic (PV) installations are set to reach a record 114.5 gigawatts (GW) in 2019, up nearly 18 percent from 2018, according to Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables. The Chinese PV market, the world’s biggest, is slowing down as the government makes changes to its solar subsidy policies while other national markets are picking up.

Investments in the oil and gas sector drop to $16.9 billion in second quarter of 2019

Energize Weekly, July 31, 2019 Investment in the oil sector was $16.9 billion in the second quarter of 2019 – a 36 percent drop year-on-year and down 23 percent from the first quarter of 2019, according to Drillinginfo, an industry data analyst. The industry raised $3.4 billion from public stock offerings, down 19 percent year-on-year, and raised $13.5 billion on

Nearly half of U.S. utilities filed rate cases in 2018, most of them seeking rate increases

Energize Weekly, July 31, 2019 Almost half of the major U.S. electric utilities filed rate cases with state regulators in 2018 – the highest number since 1983 – with nearly 90 percent seeking rate increases, according to the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA). The rate increase requests were driven mainly by increased spending on electricity transmission and delivery. In the

Coal-dependent counties face financial risks if climate change policies are implemented

Energize Weekly, July 31, 2019 A handful of coal-dependent communities and counties could suffer severe financial burdens as policies to curb the emissions of greenhouse gases and deal with climate change are implemented, according to a study by the Brookings Institution and Columbia University. Twenty-six counties in 10 states rely on coal mining for a significant portion of their employment,

Tri-State reaches exit deal with Colo. co-op, seeks FERC regulation on rates and contracts

Energize Weekly, July 31, 2019 After more than two years of sometimes acrimonious negotiations, fights before a state utilities commission and lawsuits, the Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association has agreed to terms allowing one of its rural Colorado cooperatives to leave next year. Four days after filing the agreement with Colorado Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), Tri-State moved to have its

AEP subsidiaries seeking to buy 1.5 GW of Oklahoma wind power

Energize Weekly, July 24, 2019 Two American Electric Power (AEP) subsidiaries are seeking state regulatory approvals to purchase nearly 1.5 gigawatts (GW) of wind power under development in Oklahoma at a cost of $2 billion. The subsidiaries – Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO) and Public Service Co. of Oklahoma (PSO) – put out a proposal request for the wind power

OPEC unplanned outages at their highest in almost four years

Energize Weekly, July 24, 2019 Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) unplanned crude oil production outages hit a four-year high in the first half of 2019, according to the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA). The outages averaged 2.5 million barrels a day for the six-month period, the highest level since 2015. Unplanned outages included sanctions, armed conflicts, political disputes,

ABB is paying $470 million for Fimer to take its inverter business off its hands

Energize Weekly, July 24, 2019 Zurich-based ABB is paying $470 million to unload its solar inverter business to Italian solar inverter maker Fimer Spa, as price pressures dog the market. ABB said it will take an after-tax nonoperational charge of $470 million with about 75 percent going to Fimer as a cash payment. ABB said it will pay Fimer from

Closing a coal plant and contracts for offshore wind are signs of utility industry’s shift

Energize Weekly, July 24, 2019 In a sign of the shifting fortunes in the utility industry, on the same day came news of the largest coal-fired plant closure in nearly a decade and the largest U.S. offshore wind contracts ever. On July 18, American Electric Power (AEP) agreed to close a 1.3-gigawatt (GW) coal-fired unit in southern Indiana, and New

Natural gas has a role in a low-carbon future, IEA says

Energize Weekly, July 24, 2019 Natural gas, despite growing concerns about its role creating greenhouse gases, continues to provide “quick wins” for carbon emissions reductions and clean air improvements, according to a study by the International Energy Agency (IEA). In the United States, for example, there has been a 70 percent increase in natural gas-fired generation since 2005, and it

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Denver Post reporter Mark Jaffe on Tuesday, September 27, 2011. Cyrus McCrimmon, The Denver PostWe are proud to welcome Mark Jaffe, our newest contributor! Check out Mark’s page here

Mark Jaffe

Denver Post reporter Mark Jaffe on Tuesday, September 27, 2011. Cyrus McCrimmon, The Denver Post
Denver Post reporter Mark Jaffe on Tuesday, September 27, 2011. Cyrus McCrimmon, The Denver Post

Mark Jaffe, Writer, EUCI

Mark Jaffe is a former writer on energy issues for The Denver Post. He was an energy and corporate finance reporter for Bloomberg News and covered environment and energy for The Philadelphia Inquirer. As a Knight Fellow at Stanford University and a Neiman Fellow at Harvard, Mark studied the links between the economy, energy and the environment.

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Solar cell imports to the U.S. rebound from tariffs in the first quarter of 2019 - Energize Weekly, August 21, 2019 Imports of silicon solar cells and modules rebounded in the first quarter of 2019 after a sharp drop when the Trump administration announced it would impose tariffs on them in January 2018. Photovoltaic (PV) module imports averaged 644,000 kilowatts (kW) a month in the first quarter of 2019, about 16 percent more than the average
Worldwide coal and natural gas consumption rose in 2017, so have carbon dioxide emissions - Energize Weekly, August 21, 2019 World energy production – spurred by coal and natural gas – was up 2.2 percent in 2017 to 14,035 million tons oil equivalent (Mtoe) when compared to 2016, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). Coal and natural gas output were each up by more than 120 Mtoe in 2017. Coal’s share was 1 percent
Solar power contract prices are falling to record lows, but also gathering some risk - Energize Weekly, August 21, 2019 Portugal’s first photovoltaic (PV) solar auction has led to a record low-cost contract of $16.54 a megawatt-hour (MWh), narrowly besting the previous record, a recent Brazilian power purchase agreement (PPA) for $16.95 a MWh. “With the levelized cost of utility-scale PV in Southern Europe now well below current wholesale power prices, investors have flocked to
Xcel Energy gets the go-ahead to expand its Renewable Connect program in Minnesota - Energize Weekly, August 21, 2019 Xcel Energy has received approval from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to turn its Renewable Connect pilot into a full-time program and merge it with another of the company’s renewable programs, Windsource. Xcel plans to add 180 megawatts (MW) of wind generation and 50 MW of solar for the program under which customers pay a
Colorado PUC moves to block Tri-State plan to move from state to FERC regulation - Energize Weekly, August 21, 2019 The Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has filed an unprecedented protest with federal regulators seeking to block the bid by Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association to move from state to federal rate regulation. Tri-State, which wants to shift rate regulation to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), provides wholesale power to 43 rural electric cooperatives
A record number of wind projects being built and planned in the U.S., AWEA says - Energize Weekly, August 14, 2019 The U.S. wind industry hit a record for construction and project development in the second quarter of 2019 with nearly 42,000 megawatts (MW) of projects being built or in advance development, according to an American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) market report. The 20,908 MW of wind farms under construction and the 20,983 MW in the
Daily natural gas consumption record is set during July heat wave - Energize Weekly, August 14, 2019 A record for daily U.S. natural gas consumption – 44.5 billion cubic feet (Bcf) – was set on July 15 as a heat wave took hold of the Midwest and Eastern Seaboard, according to S&P Global Platts. The previous record of 43.1 Bcf was set on July 16, 2018. During this summer’s heat wave, from
Residential energy storage set to grow fivefold in Europe, Wood Mackenzie says - Energize Weekly, August 14, 2019 The annual pace of residential energy storage in Europe is set to double in the next six years with total of 6.6 gigawatts of capacity on the continent by 2024 – a fivefold increase from 2018, according to a Wood Mackenzie analysis. Annual deployments are projected to reach 500 megawatts with 1.2 gigawatt-hours of storage
High inventories and high corn prices squeeze ethanol producers’ margins - Energize Weekly, August 14, 2019 High corn prices and high inventories have squeezed operating margins for Midwest ethanol plants to multiyear lows in the first half of 2019, with an average margin of 3.5 cents a gallon, according to the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA). The high prices and inventories led to near zero margins for June and July. Despite
Oil will have to drop to $10/barrel to stay competitive with EVs and renewables, BNP Paribas study says - Energize Weekly, August 14, 2019 The economics for electric vehicles (EVs) and renewable energy charging have become so competitive that in the future, the price of oil will have to be no more than $10 a barrel to compete, according to analysis by Paris-based BNP Paribas. The analysis – Wells, Wires and Wheels – is based on a BNP Paribas-devised

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