Archive for April, 2013

Prices Climb for the Seventh Time in Eight Weeks

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

Week in Review for April 12-18, 2013 US DOE

For the seventh time in eight weeks, energy prices climbed. During this seven-day report period the average 12-month price for natural gas on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) rose 5.2%. The 12-month average price for peak power on the PJM rose 3.9%. 

You can easily argue that the recent price increases were fueled by the natural gas storage reports and the natural gas rig counts. Both reports would lead you to believe that the energy markets were no longer oversupplied.

On the natural gas storage front, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported our first injection of the refill season. However, the injection was below expectations. We saw an injection of 31 Bcf. The five-year average injection for this time period was 39 Bcf. We now have 32% less gas in storage than we did last year at this time. Even more concerning was the fact that storage levels were now 4.2% below the five-year average.

On the natural gas supply side, supplies leveled off because the rig counts are down. The recent Baker Hughes rig count reported that there were only 377 active natural gas rigs in the United States. Last year at this time, we had 624 active gas rigs. This means that the natural gas rig count was 39% below last year’s levels.

These reports tend to spook the marketplace and place upward pressure on energy prices. The next wild card to watch is summer demand. The concern is that demand for natural gas may be higher this summer than last because more gas will be needed to refill the storage facilities. If we experience a hotter than normal summer, we may see more upward pressure on energy prices.

PJM Electricity
PJM Graph for Electricity – 12 Month Average Peak Power Price
On-Peak 1 Year Forward Price


Natural Gas
NYMEX Graph for Natural Gas – 12 Month Average Price per Therm at the Louisiana Well-Head
(Excludes Interstate Transportation)



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How to Save Energy in the Summer Heat

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

In case you have spent the last week under a rock, it may surprise you to discover that spring has sprung. Gone are the cold winter days, bundling up and searching for that missing mitten. Now is the time to break out those flip-flops and switch off the heater. Thankfully, for the time being, the air-cools down dramatically at night not creating unbearable conditions for us. But, what happens when the temperature remains at a constant high in the eighties, nineties or even reaching above one hundred degrees? You will be running your air-conditioning and at what cost? Surely, you do not want to spend a whole week’s paycheck on maintaining a comfortable temperature. Here are a few tips and tricks to save energy (and money) this summer:

Not using it, Turn it off!

This seems simple enough, but how many times have you exited a room and left your computer or TV on? The same goes for your lights. What is the benefit of leaving them on when there is no one in the room? It is just wasting energy.

Turn up your thermostat.

A key way to save energy in the summer is to not make the air conditioner as cold as possible. Alternatively, even to turn it off on some of those cooler summer days. What is the use of keeping the air conditioner so cold that you are wearing a sweatshirt and shivering? A comfortable temperature should be between seventy-five and seventy-eight degrees (or even a little warmer for maximum energy saving effectiveness.)

Replace your air filters.

A quick easy way to save energy is to replace the air filters in your house. A dirty air filter can restrict airflow and cause the system to run longer and increase your energy use. For a maximum energy saving benefit, replace the filters monthly. Air filters can be purchased at your local hardware store.

Quick Kitchen Helpers

If the option is to cook something in the microwave for a few minutes, or spend a longer amount of time standing over a stove, is it really a question of which is easier? Well, not only will cooking in the microwave save you time, it also uses less energy. Speaking of the kitchen, who enjoys washing dishes by hand? No one, your dishwasher uses less water than washing dishes by hand. Then if you are in a super energy saving mood, let the dishes air dry for even more energy saving!

 

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Prices Climb for the Sixth Time in Seven Weeks

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

Last week’s price drop was not repeated this week. Thus, for the sixth time in seven weeks energy prices climbed. For this seven-day report period the average 12-month price for natural gas on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) rose 3.4%. The 12-month average price for peak power on the PJM rose 3.2%.

The unusually cold temperatures that hit most of the U.S. in March played a major role in this recent price rally. The cold weather helped wipe out the natural gas storage bubble and placed upward pressure on prices.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), March 2013 had “the highest average weekly net withdrawal recorded during this four- week period since the Weekly Natural Gas Storage report began recording inventory levels in 2002.” We now have 32% less gas in storage than we did one year ago. Even more concerning is the fact that storage levels have dropped 3.8% below the five-year average.

However, here is the good news: Even though natural gas and electricity prices have risen over the last year, energy prices are still trading near their second lowest level in ten years. We can thank “shale gas” for these low prices. According to EIA, shale gas production now accounts for 30% of total gas production in the United States. To put this in perspective, consider that shale gas only accounted for 8% of production in 2007.

The next wild card to watch is summer demand. The concern is that demand for natural gas may be higher this summer than last summer because more gas will be needed to refill the storage facilities. If we experience a hotter than normal summer, we could see even more upward pressure on energy prices.

CQI Associates has green energy solutions for your business. We are an energy and sustainability management consulting firm servicing residential and commercial clients throughout the United States. To learn more, please contact CQI Associates by calling 410-740-0667 or visit our website today!

You can also follow us on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Google+!

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Renewable Energy: New York Could Soon Be Green

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

Imagine New York being powered by wind, water and sunlight instead of traditional power sources. That fantasy isn’t too far from what could be reality according to a new study led by researchers from Stanford and Cornell universities. The study cites that by 2030, only 17 years from now, New York may be able to rely on totally green energy sources for power. From the windy shores of Long Island to the sunny center of New York City itself, these places may be central in New York’s new power strategy. This plan could have a ripple effect throughout the energy community and influence more states to do the same.

Their energy goal is for the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to support the production of about 10.4 million megawatt-hours of energy from hydro, wind, solar, biomass and landfill gas annually by 2015. The authority was 46 percent of the way to the goal at the end of last year. This in turn could lead to 30 percent renewables by 2015. This kind of progress is monumental in the field of renewable energy. Just imagine: in a New York minute, you’d be able  to get some famous New York pizza and a cup of coffee from ovens and coffee makers powered by wind or solar power!

New York isn’t the only place making green energy strides. In March, the General Assembly in Maryland passed a bill approving offshore wind turbine development. The bill itself would require electricity suppliers in Maryland to get up to 2.5 percent of their power from offshore wind as early as 2017. And it would offer a successful developer a subsidy of up to $1.7 billion over 20 years. This could be a larger step in what seems to be a bright future for green energy sources. Trade the pizza in the New York scenario for some authentic Baltimore crab cakes eaten under green energy-lit lights, because it could very well be the future.

The benefits of green, renewable energy are many. As the Union of Concerned Scientists points out, they include:

  • Little to No Global Warming Emissions - Renewable energy sources produce a negligible amount of harmful emissions compared to natural gas or coal. Increasing the supply of renewable energy would replace carbon-intensive energy sources and significantly reduce U.S. global warming emissions
  • Improved Public Health and Environmental Quality - The air and water pollution emitted by coal and natural gas plants is linked to breathing problems, neurological damage, heart attacks, and cancer. Wind, solar, and hydroelectric systems generate electricity with no associated air pollution emissions. In addition, wind and solar energy require essentially no water to operate and thus do not pollute water resources or strain supply by competing with agriculture, drinking water systems, or other important water needs.
  • A Vast and Inexhaustible Energy Supply - Throughout the United States, strong winds, sunny skies, plant residues, heat from the earth, and fast-moving water can each provide a vast and constantly replenished energy resource supply. These diverse sources of renewable energy have the technical potential to provide all the electricity the nation needs many times over.
  • A More Reliable and Resilient Energy System – Wind and solar are less prone to large-scale failure because they are distributed and modular. Distributed systems are spread out over a large geographical area, so a severe weather event in one location will not cut off power to an entire region. Modular systems are composed of numerous individual wind turbines or solar arrays. Even if some of the equipment in the system is damaged, the rest can typically continue to operate.

 

CQI Associates has green energy solutions for your business. We are an energy and sustainability management consulting firm servicing residential and commercial clients throughout the United States. To learn more, please contact CQI Associates by calling 410-740-0667 or visit our website today!

You can also follow us on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Google+!

Sources:

NY Renewable Energy Study Finds New York Could Soon Be Powered By Wind, Water And Sunlight, Huffington Post

O’Malley offshore wind bill passes, The Baltimore Sun

Benefits of Renewable Energy Use, USCUSA

 

 

 

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