Today in Energy

Feb 9, 2016

Natural gas use for power generation higher this winter

graph of natural gas power burn during winter, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, based on Bentek

So far this winter, natural gas consumption in the electric power sector (gas burn) has been higher than in any previous winter. According to Bentek Energy, gas burn in the electric power sector has averaged 25.0 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) so far this winter (November 1 through February 8), up 17% from last year's average of 21.4 Bcf/d during the same period and significantly higher than the 18.8 Bcf/d average of the past five years. Low natural gas prices have been the primary driver of increasing natural gas use for power generation, although reductions in coal capacity and the availability of efficient gas-fired generating units have also played a role.

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Feb 8, 2016

Demand response saves electricity during times of high demand

graph of demand response savings, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Electric power sales, revenue, and energy efficiency Form EIA-861

Demand response in the electricity market involves the targeted reduction of electricity use during times of high demand. In response, customers receive incentives for these reductions. A recent Supreme Court ruling is expected to result in faster growth in demand response in the wholesale electricity markets that cover about 60% of U.S. power supply.

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Feb 5, 2016

California has nearly half of the nation’s solar electricity generating capacity

graph of solar electricity generating capacity as of end of November 2015, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Electric Power Monthly

The United States has slightly more than 20,000 megawatts (MW) of solar generating capacity, which includes utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) and solar thermal installations, as well as distributed generation solar PV systems, also known as rooftop solar.

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Feb 4, 2016

High inventories help push crude oil prices to lowest levels in 13 years

graph of difference in inventory levels as of January 22, 2016 to previous 5-year average, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Weekly Petroleum Status Report

Several factors have played a part in pushing U.S. crude oil prices below $30 per barrel (b), including high inventory levels of crude oil, uncertainty about global economic growth, volatility in equity and nonenergy commodity markets, and the potential for additional crude oil supply to enter the market. Crude oil and petroleum product inventories, both domestically and internationally, have been growing since mid-2014 and are above five-year averages for this date.

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Feb 3, 2016

Computer and technology use in education buildings continues to increase

graph of prevalance of computers in commercial buildings, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey 2012

Based on data collected in EIA's latest Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS), the number of computers in education buildings across the United States is continuing to grow rapidly. On average, education buildings have nearly twice as many computers per million square feet as all commercial buildings. Among commercial building categories, only office buildings have more computers per square foot.

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Feb 2, 2016

Electricity generation from renewable sources expected to grow 9% this year

graph of electricity generation from utility-scale plants, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Short-Term Energy Outlook, January 2016

Electricity generated from utility-scale renewable plants is expected to grow by 9% in 2016, based on projections in the latest Short-Term Energy Outlook. Much of the growth comes from new installations of wind and solar plants and increases in hydroelectric generation after a relatively dry 2015. In 2016, electricity from utility-scale renewable sources is expected to account for 14% of the total electricity generated in the United States, with wind and solar contributing 5.2% and 0.8%, respectively.

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Feb 1, 2016

Natural gas leak at California storage site raises environmental and reliability concerns

graph of initial estimates of natural gas leakage at Aliso Canyon, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, based on California Air Resources Board

Republished February 1, 2:00 p.m. to correct an error in the graphic. A previous version had misrepresented the uncertainty in the leakage rate. The text of the article remains unchanged.

On October 23, 2015, Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) detected a major leak at Aliso Canyon, an underground natural gas storage facility located 30 miles northwest of Los Angeles. The Aliso Canyon storage facility, which has 115 wells, is the second-largest natural gas storage field in the western United States. The 86 billion cubic feet of working natural gas capacity at Aliso Canyon accounts for two-thirds of SoCalGas' natural gas storage capacity, according to EIA data. Additionally, Aliso Canyon has the largest daily deliverability of all the storage facilities west of the Rockies, estimated at 1.9 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d).

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Jan 29, 2016

Winter storm knocks out power for more than a million customers

map of electric customers experiencing power outages, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, based on U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Assurance Daily

The severe winter storm that began Friday, January 22, and continued through Saturday, January 23, affected energy infrastructure throughout much of the eastern United States. Heavy snowfall, high winds, and ice knocked out power to more than one million customers in states from Arkansas to Massachusetts. According to the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Assurance Daily from the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, power had been restored to almost all customers as of midafternoon January 27.

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Jan 28, 2016

New pipeline projects increase Northeast natural gas takeaway capacity

graph of natural gas pipeline capacity in the Northeast region, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, natural gas pipeline State-to-State Capacity and Pipeline Projects spreadsheets
Note: Capacity in 2015 reflects a combination of existing and planned or under-construction projects. Capacity in 2016 reflects only planned projects.

A number of recently completed and upcoming natural gas infrastructure projects are expected to increase the reach of natural gas produced in the Marcellus and Utica regions of the Northeastern United States (see map). These projects are intended to transport natural gas from production centers to consuming markets or export terminals.

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Jan 27, 2016

Spread between Henry Hub, Marcellus natural gas prices narrows as pipeline capacity grows

graph of daily natural gas spot prices and basis to Henry Hub, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, based on Natural Gas Intelligence

Natural gas spot prices around the United States are often compared to prices at the Henry Hub in Louisiana. At trading points in and around the Marcellus and Utica shale plays in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio, natural gas prices consistently trade below the Henry Hub national benchmark price. However, the difference between these pricing points and the Henry Hub has narrowed in recent months as new pipeline projects have come online.

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