By - Jim Vess

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

By - Jim Vess

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

By - Jim Vess

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

By - Jim Vess

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

By - Jim Vess

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

By - Jim Vess

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

By - Jim Vess

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

By - Jim Vess

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

By - Jim Vess

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

By - Jim Vess

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

By - Jim Vess

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

By - Jim Vess

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

By - Jim Vess

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

By - Jim Vess

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,”

By - Jim Vess

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

By - Jim Vess

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.

By - Jim Vess

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

By - Jim Vess

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

By - Jim Vess

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,

By - Jim Vess

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

By - Jim Vess

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

By - Jim Vess

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,

By - Jim Vess

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

By - Jim Vess

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

By - Jim Vess

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

By - Jim Vess

Chinese drop in clean energy investment dampens global performance in 2019

Energize Weekly, July 17, 2019 Chinese renewable energy investment dropped 39 percent in the first half of 2019 to $28.8 billion when compared with the same period in 2018, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). The 2019 six-month figure was the lowest since 2013 and is the result of a shift this year away from feed-in tariffs to auctions

By - Jim Vess

U.S. crude oil output hit a new peak in April of 12.2 million barrels a day

Energize Weekly, July 17, 2019 U.S. crude oil and petroleum liquids production hit a new record in April of 12.2 million barrels a day, according to the federal Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Petroleum Supply Monthly. It is the first time U.S. production has surpassed 12 million barrels a day and comes less than a year after domestic production exceeded 11

By - Jim Vess

Utility-scale battery storage capacity has grown fourfold since 2014 to 899 megawatts

Energize Weekly, July 17, 2019 Utility-scale battery storage capacity has grown more than fourfold since the end of 2014, reaching 899 megawatts (MW) by March 2019, according to the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA). If currently planned projects are completed and no capacity is retired, storage could exceed 2,500 MW by 2023. The EIA defines a utility-scale project as one

By - Jim Vess

Global power M&A hits $158 billion in 2018, making it second busiest year in the last five

Energize Weekly, July 17, 2019 Global power mergers and acquisitions (M&A) reached $158 billion in 2018, making it the second most active in the last five years, according to GlobalData, a London-based data and analytics company. The number of deals was down a little more than 4 percent to 622 for 2018 when compared to 2017, which was the most

By - Jim Vess

Global wind energy growth is being driven by U.S. and China policies

Energize Weekly, July 17, 2019 New wind energy projects worldwide are forecast to average 71 gigawatts (GW) a year from 2019 to 2023 and 76 GW a year from 2024 to 2028, according to market report by Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables. The report also upgraded wind energy additions by 11 GW between 2019 and 2028 – a 1.5 percent

By - Jim Vess

LNG global building boom faces risk from renewable energy, climate policies, report says

Energize Weekly, July 10, 2019 The natural gas industry is making $1.3 trillion in infrastructure investments to create a global liquefied natural gas (LNG) market but those capital expenditures may be at risk from competitive renewable energy prices and the prospect of climate regulations, according to Global Energy Monitor. The San Francisco-based nonprofit, which tracks worldwide fossil-fuel infrastructure, said that

By - Jim Vess

Oil and gas merger activity rebounds in Q2 2019 as Occidental-Anadarko deal dominates

Energize Weekly, July 10, 2019 Oil and gas industry merger and acquisition (M&A) activity in the second quarter of 2019 saw a rebound from the first quarter’s historic lows reaching $65 billion for the period, according to DrillingInfo, an industry consultant and data analyst. The quarter was dominated by the $57 billion acquisition of Anadarko Petroleum by Occidental Petroleum Corp.,

By - Jim Vess

Utilities to close coal-fired units but plans to replace them with natural gas draws fire

Energize Weekly, July 10, 2019 Utilities are moving to close coal-fired power plants and add more renewable generation, but the large role played by new gas-fired power plants is drawing fire from environmental groups, arguing that no more fossil fuel-based units should be built. In the last two weeks the Tennessee Valley Administration (TVA), Xcel Energy Minnesota and Public Service

By - Jim Vess

Colorado co-op sues to block Tri-State’s move to FERC regulation, state lawmakers also concerned

Energize Weekly, July 10, 2019 Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association is going ahead with its deliberations on moving from state to federal regulatory oversight even as one of its rural Colorado electric cooperatives has gone to court to block the action. Tri-State’s decision to seek regulation by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has also sparked concern from Colorado legislative

By - Jim Vess

Q1 2019 solar PV installations set a record as 13 GW of new solar are forecast for the year

Energize Weekly, July 3, 2019 After a record first quarter for photovoltaic (PV) solar installations in the U.S., the market is poised to install 13 gigawatts (GW) of PV in 2019 – a 25 percent increase over 2018, according to energy consultant Wood Mackenzie. In the first quarter of 2019, 2.7 GW of solar PV was installed, 10 percent more

By - Jim Vess

Duke Energy Indiana looks to close 4,100 MW of coal-fired plants, adding natural gas and solar

Energize Weekly, July 3, 2019 Duke Energy Indiana has proposed 20-year plan under which it move up the retirement of more than 4,100 megawatts (MW) of coal-fired plants and make major investments in natural gas-fired and renewable generation. Duke laid out its “roadmap” in its integrated resource plan filed with Indiana regulators June 20. It immediately drew criticism from environmental

By - Jim Vess

Renewable generation temporarily overtakes coal-fired generation in April, the EIA says

Energize Weekly, July 3, 2019 Renewable electricity generation surpassed coal-fired generation for the first time in April, according to the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA). Renewable generation accounted for 23 percent of electricity generation in April compared to 20 percent for coal. “This outcome reflects both seasonal factors as well as long-term increases in renewable generation and decreases in coal

By - Jim Vess

Rural co-ops’ billions in coal-related debt are an impediment to clean energy, report says

Energize Weekly, July 3, 2019 Rural electric cooperatives, which get much of their power from coal-fired power plants and are among the leading emitters of greenhouse gases, are hampered in shifting to clean energy by coal-related debt, according to a study by the Center for Rural Affairs. The study by the Lyons, Neb.-based non-profit found that there were 53 generation

By - Jim Vess

Wood Mackenzie puts the cost of transition to all renewable energy at $4.5 trillion

Energize Weekly, July 3, 2019 The cost of transforming the U.S. electric grid to totally renewable energy in the next 10 to 20 years would be $4.5 trillion given current technology, according to a study by energy-and-industry consultant Wood Mackenzie. At a time of competing climate plans among Democratic presidential candidates and the Green New Deal being promoted by Congressional

By - Jim Vess

Global energy subsidies soar to $424 billion in 2018 as oil prices rise

Energize Weekly, June 26, 2019 The value of global fuel subsidies was pushed up to their highest levels in five years, according the International Energy Agency (IEA). IEA data show the estimated value of these subsidies at $424 billion, a 33 percent annual increase. The subsidy estimates for oil, gas and fossil-fuel generated electricity all increased “significantly,” the IEA said.

By - Jim Vess

Texas, California and U.S. West may face electricity reliability challenges this summer

Energize Weekly, June 26, 2019 There is adequate generating reverse to meet summer electricity demands in most of the U.S., while Texas, California and the West may face challenges, according to the North American Reliability Corp. (NERC) 2019 summer assessment. NERC, a nonprofit corporation overseeing regional electricity reliability in the Lower 48 United States, Canada and parts of Mexico, assess

By - Jim Vess

New York passes sweeping climate action plan to get to net-zero carbon emission by 2040

Energize Weekly, June 26, 2019 A bill passed by the New York state legislature sets the goal of boosting renewable power, including poorer communities in the transition to clean energy and getting the state to net-zero carbon emissions by 2040 for all economic activity. The legislation, passed on June 20, is supported by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. “New York has enacted

By - Jim Vess

Big increases in fossil fuel consumption places world on an unsustainable path, BP says

Energize Weekly, June 26, 2019 The strong growth in global energy demand in 2018 is a sign that the world is on an “unsustainable path,” according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy. Global energy demand was up 2.9 percent and carbon emissions grew by 2 percent in 2018, faster than at any times since 2010-2011, according to the

By - Jim Vess

Tri-State seeks FERC regulation to avoid Colorado and New Mexico oversight on rates

Energize Weekly, June 26, 2019 After Colorado and New Mexico passed clean energy laws giving them more oversight of the Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, the wholesale power provider is considering seeking federal regulation to blunt the state initiatives. Westminster, Colo.-based Tri-State provides 95 percent of the electricity to 43 rural electric cooperatives in four states – Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado

By - Jim Vess

Southwestern U.S. solar resource leads to top performance for PV solar installations

Energize Weekly, June 19, 2019 Some of the most robust state solar energy plans are in states such as Massachusetts and New Jersey, but the most robust solar resource is, perhaps not surprisingly, the Southwest based on performance analysis by the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA). In the analysis of photovoltaic (PV) solar generating capacity factors – the percentage of

By - Jim Vess

Two coal-fired units at Montana’s Colstrip Power Station to close at year’s end

Energize Weekly, June 19, 2019 Two of the four coal-fired units at Colstrip Power Plant in eastern Montana will close at the end of the year – 30 months ahead of schedule, the operator, Talen Energy, announced on June 11. A controversial legislative effort to save the Colstrip plant died in the Montana legislature this session. Supporters of the bailout

By - Jim Vess

New Jersey unveils a broad plan to reach 100 percent clean energy target by 2050

Energize Weekly, June 19, 2019 A multipronged, draft energy plan aimed at getting New Jersey to 100 percent clean energy by 2050 was unveiled June 10 by the state Board of Public Utilities (BPU). The plan looks to address transportation, energy consumption by buildings, grid modernization, as well as a net-zero carbon electricity generation and energy storage. The plan also

By - Jim Vess

Wind and solar running ‘neck and neck’ in global corporate power purchases in 2019

Energize Weekly, June 19, 2019 Wind generation, which has been the dominate form of renewable energy for corporate clean energy in power purchase agreements, is running “neck and neck” with solar in 2019, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). Globally, companies had signed deals for 2.8 gigawatts (GW) of solar and 2.8 GW of wind by the end of

By - Jim Vess

OPEC imports to the U.S. fall to their lowest level in more than three decades

Energize Weekly, June 19, 2019 U.S. crude oil imports from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) fell in March to 1.5 million barrels a day, the lowest level in 33 years, based on data from the federal Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) “Petroleum Supply Monthly.” The drop to a level not seen since March 1986 was due to a

By - Jim Vess

Massachusetts energy agency calls for another 1,600 MW of offshore wind, doubling state’s target

Energize Weekly, June 12, 2019 Massachusetts energy officials have proposed doubling the state’s offshore wind capacity by adding another 1,600 megawatts (MW) by 2030. The state has already awarded one 800-MW offshore project and is set to select another 800-MW project in the fall. After an economic analysis and a review with stakeholders, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER)

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