By - Jim Vess

Municipal power agency to buy electricity from $80 million solar farm in rural Utah

Energize Weekly, October 9, 2019 Utah Municipal Power Agency (UMPA) has entered into an agreement with Salt Lake City-based sPower for the development of an $80 million solar facility in rural Juab County. The 80-megawatt (MW) Clover Creek Solar project will be located on a 560-acre site on the west side of Mona Reservoir about 70 miles south of Salt

By - Jim Vess

Renewable generation to provide 50 percent of the world’s electricity by 2050, EIA says

Energize Weekly, October 9, 2019 The total share of electricity provided worldwide by renewable generation is projected to grow to nearly 50 percent in 2050, compared to a 28 percent share in 2018, according to the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA). The bulk of that energy will be provided by hydropower, wind and solar with solar’s share growing the fastest

By - Jim Vess

Bankruptcies and red ink will not mar the future for U.S. shale drilling, Rystad says

Energize Weekly, October 9, 2019 Despite a string of bankruptcies and red ink, the future for U.S. shale drillers is not bleak, according to Oslo-based energy analyst Rystad Energy. “In a nutshell, we do not believe the recent bankruptcies that have beset a number of shale players are indicative of an industry-wide epidemic,” Alisa Lukash, a senior analyst on Rystad

By - Jim Vess

U.S. oil and gas M&A reached $17 billion in Q3 2019 and $85 billion for the year

Energize Weekly, October 9, 2019 U.S. oil and gas sector mergers and acquisitions (M&A) ticked up in the third quarter of 2019 to more than $17 billion, putting M&A activity for the year-to-date at $85 billion, according to Enverus, an industry analytics company. After a weak start to the year, deal activity was close to the historical quarterly average of

By - Jim Vess

PacifiCorp to close 20 of 24 coal plants by 2038 and invest in wind, solar and storage

Energize Weekly, October 9, 2019 PacifiCorp unveiled a new resource plan that takes a sharp turn away from coal-fired plants toward renewable generation – closing 20 of its 24 coal units by 2038 and adding 8,300 megawatts (MW) of wind and solar. Portland, Ore.-based PacifiCorp, which serves 1.6 million people in the Pacific Northwest and Northern Rockies, has been working

By - Jim Vess

Dominion Energy plans a $7.8 billion wind farm, largest in the U.S., on the Virginia coast

Energize Weekly, October 2, 2019 Dominion Energy is proposing to build the largest offshore wind farm in the U.S. – a $7.8 billion, 2,600-megawatt (MW) project – off the Virginia coast. The utility has already filed an application with PJM Interconnection, the regional grid that covers all or parts of 13 mid-Atlantic and Midwestern states, for a link to the

By - Jim Vess

Facing a demand crunch, California regulators look to extend the lives of four gas-fired plants

Energize Weekly, October 2, 2019 Facing the prospect of electricity shortages as soon as 2021, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) staff has proposed extending the life of four natural gas-fired power plants that use ocean water for cooling. On Oct. 24, the CPUC is set to rule on the recommendation to keep the four, once-through-cooling (OTC) plants – scheduled

By - Jim Vess

Worldwide nuclear generation rose 2.4 percent in 2018 with nine new reactors coming online

Energize Weekly, October 2, 2019 Nuclear power generation was up 2.4 percent worldwide in 2018 to 2,563 terawatt-hours (TWh) from 449 operable reactors, according to the World Nuclear Association, an industry trade group. There were 55 reactors under construction in 2018, with five new construction starts and nine new reactors connected to the grid, adding a total generating capacity of

By - Jim Vess

The longevity of wind projects is growing and with it, the economic competitivity of wind power

Energize Weekly, October 2, 2019 The operating life span for U.S. wind farms has increased by more than a third to 30 years in the last two decades, according to a survey and analysis by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The increasing lifetime of the wind projects is improving the economics of wind energy and is being driven by technological

By - Jim Vess

EIA forecasts a 50 percent increase in energy demand by 2050 driven by Asian economies

Energize Weekly, October 2, 2019 World energy consumption is projected to grow by 50 percent by 2050, with most of that demand coming from growing Asian economies, according to the federal Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) International Energy Outlook. “Energy consumption was greater in Asia than in any other region in 2018, and we project that consumption will almost double between

By - Jim Vess

U.S. market for ‘smart home’ devices to triple to $75 billion by 2025

Energize Weekly, September 25, 2019 The U.S. market for “smart home” devices will more than triple by 2025, reaching $75 billion, according to data analytics company GlobalData. The growth will be driven by the increased use of smart thermostats, which consumers see as an energy-saving device and utilities as one that can help manage load. GlobalData is projecting an 18

By - Jim Vess

U.S. wind industry manufacturing and supply chain will face challenges in the 2020s, DOE says

Energize Weekly, September 25, 2019 The U.S. wind industry has a strong supply chain, a solid investment pipeline and growing employment, but could face a downturn in the 2020s from natural gas, low growth in electricity demand and the loss of federal tax incentives, according to a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) assessment. A key element for lowering wind generation

By - Jim Vess

Rooftop solar could meet a quarter of the European Union’s electricity demand, study says

Energize Weekly, September 18, 2019 Rooftop solar arrays could economically provide a quarter of the electricity currently being consumed by European Union (EU) countries, according to a study by the EU’s Joint Research Centre. The researchers used satellite-based geospatial data to calculate the available roof space in the EU – it came out to about 3,000 square miles – and

By - Jim Vess

Seattle’s grid could be overwhelmed by ambitious plans for electric trucks and buses

Energize Weekly, September 18, 2019 Seattle’s ambitious plans for electrifying the city’s transportation sector could destabilize the metropolitan area’s electric grid by the addition of large numbers of electric trucks and buses, a study finds. The study by the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) in collaboration with Seattle City Light offers a series of steps to deal with the potentially high

By - Jim Vess

Global wind turbine orders set a record in Q2 2019 led by U.S. and Chinese markets

Energize Weekly, September 11, 2019 Global wind turbine orders in the second quarter of 2019 were 111 percent year-over-year to 31 gigawatts (GW) of capacity and set a new quarterly record, according to industry analyst Wood Mackenzie. The 31 GW of orders easily outstripped the previous record of 13.2 GW set in the fourth quarter of 2018, according to Wood

By - Jim Vess

Drill rigs operating in the U.S. fall below 900 for the first time since 2017

Energize Weekly, September 11, 2019 The number of oil and gas rigs operating in the U.S. – on land and offshore – fell in September to less than 900 for the first time since 2017, according to the Baker Hughes North American Rig Count. There were 898 rigs operating on Sept. 6 the weekly survey, by the Houston-based oilfield services

By - Jim Vess

July EV sales plunge as China cuts subsidies, but rebound is likely in Q4

Energize Weekly, September 11, 2019 After a sharp decline in electric vehicle (EV) sales in July – the first drop in 30 months – Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) cut its sales forecast for the year by 6 percent to 1.5 million vehicles. EV sales in July were down nearly 7 percent compared with July 2018 and 51 percent from

By - Jim Vess

New takeaway pipeline capacity bolstering natural gas prices in Texas’ Permian Basin

Energize Weekly, September 11, 2019 Natural gas prices in the Permian Basin are being bolstered as new takeaway pipeline capacity is opening in the western Texas fields. The natural gas price at the Waha Hub in western Texas reached $1.55 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) on Aug. 15, the highest price in nearly six months. “This price increase coincides

By - Jim Vess

Tri-State adds new member, natural gas broker MIECO, in bid to qualify for FERC regulation

Energize Weekly, September 11, 2019 Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association has added energy services company MIECO Inc. as its first non-rural electric cooperative member, clearing the way for the association to be regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). In July, Tri-State, which serves 43 electric cooperatives in four states – Colorado, Nebraska, Wyoming and New Mexico – filed

By - Jim Vess

Hawaiian Electric seeks 900 MW of renewable energy projects

Energize Weekly, September 4, 2019 The Hawaiian Electric Company has issued a call for more than 900 megawatts (MW) of renewable generation projects­­ – one of the largest procurements ever undertaken by a U.S. utility, the company said. The bid proposal calls for 594 MW of solar for Oahu, 135 MW for Maui and up to 203 MW for Hawaii

By - Jim Vess

Colorado oil and gas operators wary of new rules, Gov. Polis says oil prices will determine whether to drill or not

Energize Weekly, September 4, 2019 The Colorado oil and gas industry is facing uncertain times as new state and local drilling regulations take hold, industry executives say, even as the state’s governor, Jared Polis, dismisses those concerns. That was the divide in sharp display the Colorado Oil and Gas Association’s (COGA) annual conference in Denver, Aug. 28. The concerns stem

By - Jim Vess

Dominion Energy launches a program to swap diesel school buses for electric ones

Energize Weekly, September 4, 2019 Dominion Energy has launched a program to replace diesel school buses in Virginia with electric buses starting with 50 vehicles in 2020 and then a second phase – adding 200 buses each year through 2025 – with the ultimate goal of replacing all diesel buses by 2030. The price tag on the first phase of

By - Jim Vess

U.S. electricity prices up slightly in the past 12 months spurred by sharp regional differences

Energize Weekly, September 4, 2019 Average electricity prices in the U.S. edged up three-tenths of a percent in the most recent 12-month rolling period, which ended in May 2019, compared to the previous 12-month span, according to the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA). There were, however, sharp regional and state differences with falling rates in some areas and sharp rate

By - Jim Vess

Powder River Basin coal, accounting for 40 percent of U.S. production, is controlled by troubled companies

Energize Weekly, September 4, 2019 Sixteen mines in the Powder River Basin (PRB), which covers northeast Wyoming and southeast Montana, supply more than 40 percent of the coal produced in the U.S., and the bulk of that production is controlled by four companies, according to an analysis by the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA). The future of the basin’s production

By - Jim Vess

TVA approves $10.6 billion budget and a plan to add up to 14 GW of solar power by 2038

Energize Weekly, August 28, 2019 The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) board of directors at their August meeting approved a $10.6 billion budget for 2020 and a resource plan that could include up to 14 gigawatts (GW) of new solar capacity by 2038. The TVA, a federal agency, provides electricity to business customers and local power distributors serving 10 million people

By - Jim Vess

U.S. increases in oil and gas production in 2018 among the largest in history, EIA says

Energize Weekly, August 28, 2019 The U.S. had one the largest absolute increases in oil and natural gas production for a single country in history in 2018, according to the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA). In 2011, the U.S. had already surpassed Russia as the world’s largest producer of natural gas, and in 2018, it overtook Saudi Arabia as the

By - Jim Vess

U.S. DOE launches $50 million research program on electric and alternative-fuel trucks

Energize Weekly, August 28, 2019 The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), in cooperation with university researchers and major auto manufacturers, has launched a $50 million program to develop electric and alternative-fuel technologies for trucks and off-road vehicles. The research projects will focus on gaseous fuels – including natural gas, bio-power and hydrogen – heavy-duty truck electrification, fuel cells and energy

By - Jim Vess

Vistra to close four Illinois coal-fired power plants to meet Illinois pollution standards

Energize Weekly, August 28, 2019 Vistra Energy said it will close four Illinois coal-fired plants, with 2,000 megawatts (MW) of capacity and 300 employees, by the end of the year to meet new state pollution rules. The Illinois Multi-Pollutant Standard (MPS) sets caps on emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, and required the shutdown of 2,000 MW by Vistra

By - Jim Vess

U.S. shale drillers post positive cash flow for the first time on record in Q2, Rystad says

Energize Weekly, August 28, 2019 Major U.S. shale operators, thanks to strong oil prices and more efficient operations, posted a sharp turnaround in the second quarter of 2019, showing positive cash flow for the first time on record, according to Rystad Energy, an Oslo-based energy consultant. In the second quarter, 35 percent of the 40 dedicated U.S. shale companies Rystad

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

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