Are we seeing our Energy Future Today in New England?

EIA New England losses generation and neeeds more gas

SOURCE: US EIAMy first energy CEO job was serving as General Manager of a troubled wholesale electric joint action agency in New England. The Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Company (MMWEC) served the power supply requirements for 28 municipal utilities across New England. It was troubled because its traditional source of power generation fuel had been oil and coal. But oil’s reliability and costs were badly hurt by the Arab oil embargo and the spiking of oil prices. Many New England …Continue Reading »

US EIA September 2014 Short Term Energy Outlook


US EIA is out with its September 2014 release of the Short Term Energy Outlook. The forecast says power producers added 4.35 gigawatts (GW) of new capacity during the first half of 2014. This may seem like a lot but that rate is 40% below last year's new build rate. Natural gas is the fuel of choice with half of the new capacity and renewable generation makes up the rest. No surprise that no new coal-fired power plants were built in the first half of 2014, compared with 1.51 GW last year, but …Continue Reading »

Ten Factors Driving North American Power Markets

EIA Electric Power Monthly new capacity 1H 2014

SOURCE:  US EIA Many US markets have excess capacity even with 30 GW of Coal Plant Retirements since 2010 Canadian power markets in AB and ON grow slowly but fuel mix changes, more wind less coal Aggressive US Renewable Portfolio Standards are not likely to be met in many of the 29 states. We built the next generation of power plants---in the previous boom cycle. Gas demand for power generation is expected to be flat to slow growing through 2025 Low gas prices undermine the …Continue Reading »

The Mismatch of Power Supply and Demand


SOURCE:  US EIA The Mismatch of Supply and Demand. Many North American power markets (both ISO and non-ISO) have what might be described as too much of too many good things in plentiful power supply and low natural gas fuel prices.  What’s missing is demand growth to put all that generation potential to productive use. This mismatch of supply and demand presents itself as excess generation capacity from the lingering effect of slow economic growth and flat utility demand growth as customers …Continue Reading »

Energy FUD and our Smart Grid Future

TC Labs Energy Learning Machine

Cyber terrorism is the nightmare scenario for the energy industry. Fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) are the weapons of choice.  In the ‘good old days’ we worried about was hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and wildfires taking down transmission lines.  Because transmission was always more difficult to site, permit and build due to NIMBY and the eternally long process of environmental and regulatory review.  We compensated for that uncertainty by building more power generation, closer to load …Continue Reading »

The Economics and Politics of Domestic Energy Production Growth

The good news is America finally has a national energy policy we can believe in.  Even better news is that this national energy policy is being defined, shaped and driven by the markets and the ingenuity of investors, landowners and business people all across America.  The challenge we face is keeping our government out of the way and out of our pockets so that this economic revival and its multiplying economic effect and the low cost energy it is producing can become sustainable. There are at …Continue Reading »

New Energy Realities: A Low Gas Prices Scenario

A funny thing is happening on the way to the clean energy future--reality is setting in. There is ‘incontrovertible evidence’ about the economic growth and job creating effects of America’s unconventional oil and gas production boom - more than 600,000 jobs directly attributable to shale gas development. Even President Obama is praising the job creating benefits of ‘America’s resource boom’. America is getting its energy mojo back and that is good news but not the entire story. How Much Shale …Continue Reading »

Spain Ends New Renewable FiT

Spain’s new Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy suspended the nation’s feed in tariff subsidies for all new renewable energy projects January 27, 2012 announcing that Spain could no longer afford it given its budget deficit.  There has been widespread trepidation that the FiT program would be cut, but the swift and decisive action suspending the program entirely left the renewable energy industry reeling. As if to remove any doubt about its future, the Prime Minister went further saying the …Continue Reading »

The Looming Battle over Energy Costs

There is a looming battle over the cost of energy between the 'green at any cost' versus the 'green enough at a reasonable cost' where wind/solar forces will battle natural gas---you can sense the fog of war ahead as the battle being set up.  The graphic above from a recent GTM Research report shows the reality in clear focus. The policy landscape has been designed to drive toward clean energy policies sometimes without much regard to the cost.  It started with environmental groups challenging …Continue Reading »

2011 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog. Here's an excerpt: The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 48,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 18 sold-out performances for that many people to see it. …Continue Reading »