Archive for the ‘World Energy News’ Category

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!

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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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Solar Energy, Drip Irrigation, and Revolutionized Farming Methods

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

Solar energy has been making waves (or should we say, rays?) in the way energy is consumed and produced, and now it’s beginning to bring change to rural and underdeveloped areas. In Benin, a small country in West Africa, photovoltaic panels are powering drip irrigation systems in the district of Kalalé, which has made strides in improving their food production.

The Solar Electric Light Fund (SELF), launched a plan in 2007 to put solar-powered drip irrigation systems in two dry and rural West African villages, Dunkassa and Bessassi. Combining two forms of technologies – solar power and drip irrigation – that had known success separately but were not often used in conjunction with one another, SELF helped bring water to the arid areas so crops could get the water needed to thrive.

With the dry season making up half of the year in Benin, the country has had a deficit of fresh vegetables, contributing to ongoing issues related to malnutrition and sickness, especially in children.

Traditionally, drip irrigation systems have been powered by diesel engines that bring reservoir water through pipes and to the plant roots. SELF envisioned these irrigation systems running off of solar power in an economical fashion. Though the dual solar-irrigation systems cost around $25,000, according to SELF, the ROI is seen in two to three years. The conclusion? Though the initial overheard costs are higher, solar still proves to be cost effective over time, especially with the rising prices of fuel.

With a grant from National Geographic’s Great Energy Challenge Initiative, SELF is moving forward to shed more light on the situation in West Africa, bringing solar systems to homes, schools, health clinics, and more. It’s one step towards bringing their solar integrated development model to the developing world.Over time, this technology will be utilized in the United States to provide similar benefits by leveraging solar power in innovative ways.

CQI Associates implements solar, wind, and renewable energy projects for public and private clients all around the country, and is committed to developing economical, green energy plans to create a more sustainable future.

To learn more about our services, please contact CQI Associates by calling 410-740-0667 or visit CQIAssociates.com today!

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Sources:

Solar Energy Brings Food, Water, and Light to West Africa

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Solar Power News: Creating Green Storage Solutions for Renewable Energy

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

Solar energy has a sunny outlook as a renewable energy source, and energy industry experts are seeking to make this type of energy more accessible with technology that will cause it to be less reliant on the unpredictable whims of Mother Nature. For the average consumer, this translates to a more affordable and reliable means of solar powered energy, allowing homeowners to become self-sufficient when it comes to powering their homes.

A team of professionals at Harvard University, spearheaded by engineers and chemists with the goal of creating a storage battery to harness solar energy, has been awarded a year-long $600,000 innovation grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) program. The endowment makes up a small part of the $130-million “OPEN 2012” program, offered through ARPA-E, meant to facilitate the production of groundbreaking energy technologies.

The goal behind transforming the battery system for renewable energy storage, deemed a “flow battery,” is to provide economical, grid-scale electrical energy storage based on small, environmentally conscious organic molecules. Because solar power is considered an intermittent energy source due to its dependence upon weather and the sun’s power, stationary storage of solar power needs to be made better available. In so doing, reliance on nonrenewable fossil fuels as a source of energy will begin to decline, making more sustainable solutions viable for energy consumers.

Flow batteries are rechargeable fuel cells with the capacity to store vast amounts of electrical energy as liquid chemicals, meant to be externally stored in tanks in order to allow designers to autonomously size electrochemical conversion hardware and chemical storage tanks. These pieces of equipment are responsible for setting topmost power capabilities and energy capacities, respectively.

In order to create a cost-effective storage solution for renewable energy sources like solar power, the team at Harvard working under the ARPA-E’s grant is attempting to utilize small, organic, plant-based molecules  that can be artificially synthesized economically as a chemical and used for storage in flow batteries. The team expects its approach to reign over existing flow batteries with its potential for higher power density, increased efficiency, economical chemicals, and safe means of storage. Should the project succeed, the Harvard scientists anticipate their work to make renewable energy like solar power more accessible due to the ability to make the energy available at all times, rather than only intermittently.

Flow batteries have the potential to help facilitate the transition from fossil fuels to a more sustainable means of producing energy.

How will this technology trickle down to benefit consumers of solar power? The improved flow battery will translate to greater reliance on solar energy to power homes, reducing the need to source energy from conventional utility suppliers, creating greater access to economical energy solutions. Want to learn more about how solar powered energy can benefit you? Tune back soon to read about the advantages of solar power!

The energy experts and consultants at CQI Associates are at the forefront of providing economical and eco-friendly energy solutions. To learn more about our energy management, auditing, certifications and more, please contact CQI Associates by calling 410-740-0667 or visit CQIAssociates.com today!

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Sources:

Greener Storage for Green Energy

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Renewable Energy News: Is there a Bright Future for Solar Power?

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

Renewable energy accounted for about 13% of the total United States utility-scale electricity generation in 2011, placing the U.S. behind just China in total electricity generation from renewable energy. And while solar power was responsible for less than 1% of all renewable-generated electricity in the U.S. last year, the use of solar energy is growing rapidly.

1. In the first quarter of 2012, developers installed 85% more solar panels compared to the first quarter of 2011.

2. Total U.S. shipments of solar photovoltaic (PV) modules in 2011 hit a record high, increasing from 2,644,498 peak kilowatts in 2010 to 3,772,075 peak kilowatts in 2011, a 43% increase over 2010. Peak kilowatts stands for peak power. This value specifies the output power achieved by a Solar module under full solar radiation.

3. From the beginning of 2010 to the end of June 2012, 1,308 megawatts (MW) of new utility-scale solar capacity has come online, more than tripling the 619 MW in place at the end of 2009.

4. The Energy Information Administration projects solar power to reach 18,000 megawatt hours per day in 2013.

solar use

Interesting Facts about Solar Power in the United States

1. Solar energy is the most abundant energy source on the planet, with 173,000 terawatts striking the Earth continuously. That’s more than 10,000 times the world’s total energy use.

2. The first solar cell was built in 1954 by Bell Laboratories.

3. The space industry has utilized solar power since the 1960s, when they began harnessing solar energy to provide power to spacecraft.

4. The world’s largest solar energy project, consisting of 350,000 solar mirrors, is underway in California’s Mojave Desert.

Prices continue to fall, but Obstacles remain

As prices of both solar cells and solar modules continue to fall – solar cells dropped from 1.13 in 2010 to $0.92 in 2011and solar modules (a packaged connected assembly of photovoltaic cells) dropped from $1.96 in 2010 to $1.59 in 2011- the feasibility of solar energy use in the U.S. continues to increase. And these prices are expected to keep dropping in 2012 as solar technology advances.

price of solar energy

Still, there are hurdles that the solar industry must still address, such as soft costs (permitting, zoning, and hooking the solar system to the power grid). On average, these soft costs can add more than $2,500 to the total cost of a solar energy system.

As you can clearly see, solar power is not going to take over the energy industry in 2012, but we are headed in the right direction!

To learn more, please contact CQI Associates by calling 410-740-0667 or visit CQIAssociates.com today!

CQI Associates has saved our public and private commercial clients well over $1,500,000,000 based on our energy and environmental program and project saving recommendations.

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Renewable Energy News: Current Natural Gas Supply and its impact

Friday, October 5th, 2012

The natural gas market is one of constant flux. As we will explain throughout this blog, the state of natural gas changes on a weekly basis. According to the most recent industry reports, natural gas supply is up, but demand is down.

The Current State of Natural Gas in the United States

Marketed Production Levels: United States marketed natural gas production flattened in 2012 (see graph below). This is mainly in response to historically low natural gas prices. Still, production levels remain at all-time highs. Marketed natural gas production set a record high From January to July 2012, averaging 68.9 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d). This represented a 5.9% increase over 2011.

Storage Levels: According to the latest reports, natural gas storage levels are at 3,576 Bcf (billion cubic feet), representing historical highs. And these highs are only expected to increase by the end of October. In fact, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates inventory levels will reach 3,950 Bcf, a new end-of-October record, according to EIA’s Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO).

Current Prices: Natural gas currently sits around $2.92 per million British thermal units (MMBtu), averaging average $2.65 per MMBtu so far throughout 2012, according to EIA’s STEO.

Demand: According to the EIA, natural gas consumption declined by 5.2% last week compared to the week before. Still, natural gas demand is up 5.1% compared to the parallel week in 2011.

What this means for you: With storage levels higher than ever and prices near historic lows, homeowners using natural gas are expected to experience reduced costs this winter.

To learn more, please contact CQI Associates by calling 410-740-0667 or visit CQIAssociates.com today!

CQI Associates is a leader in energy and environmental consulting.

As a leader in the business and residential energy market, CQI Associates manages Commercial and Residential Energy Cooperatives in Maryland, Washington DC, Delaware, and Illinois. Our goal is to provide energy and environmental management services that allow our clients to increase profitability by minimizing operating costs.

We custom-tailor our services to suit each and every customer’s unique needs, a proven method that has produced significant results. We save the average customer 8–15% on an annual basis.

You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LikedIn, and Google+.

Sources:

Natural Gas Supply

Natural Gas Weekly Update

Will Natural Gas Bounce Back after its Recent Tumble?

Image Sources:

Graph 1: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Natural Gas Monthly

Graph 2: U.S. Energy Information Administration based on Bloomberg, L.P.

 

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World Energy News: United States Domestic Energy Supplies

Friday, September 14th, 2012

The United States recently found itself in unfamiliar waters with an abundance of new domestic energy supplies. Not only has domestic oil production grown by 20% over the last five years, producing one million more barrels per day in 2012 than in 2007, but natural gas is now so plentiful and cheap (averaging $.595 per therm in July) that it could help relieve some of the country’s dependence on foreign oil.

Last month alone, the United States imported 337 Million barrels of oil from foreign countries, sending 34.6 billion dollars overseas.

“As we recover from this recession, the transition to clean energy has the potential to grow our economy and create millions of jobs – but only if we accelerate that transition.

The Current State of Natural Gas in the United States as of September 7th 2012

It was reported that at the end of last week, U.S. natural gas inventories expanded by 26 billion cubic feet (0.8%) to 3.428 trillion cubic feet as the result of increased demand brought on by high temperatures. Energy Department data shows that electricity generators account for 36% of U.S. gas consumption.

“Ongoing production losses due to Hurricane Isaac were one limiting factor on storage injections for last week, but cooling demand was stronger too,” said Tim Evans, an energy analyst at Citi Futures Perspective in New York. “With moderate temperatures anticipated over the next two weeks, storage injections will likely rebound to near average rates.”

To learn more, please contact CQI Associates by calling 410-740-0667 or visit CQIAssociates.com today!

CQI Associates is a leader in energy and environmental consulting.

As a leader in the business and residential energy market, CQI Associates manages Commercial and Residential Energy Cooperatives in Maryland, Washington DC, Delaware, and Illinois. Our goal is to provide energy and environmental management services that allow our clients to increase profitability by minimizing operating costs.

We custom-tailor our services to suit each and every customer’s unique needs, a proven method that has produced significant results. We save the average customer 8–15% on an annual basis.

You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LikedIn, and Google+.

Sources:

Editorial: Natural gas production boom alters energy outlook

Monthly Oil Imports

Natural Gas Stockpile Gain Was Third of Normal, Analysts Say

Natural gas storage capacity up 3.3 pct: EIA

 

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