Today in Energy

Dec 9, 2016

Recent OPEC agreement reflected in EIA forecast issued earlier this week

graph of WTI and Brent spot crude oil prices, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Short-Term Energy Outlook, December 2016

In EIA’s December Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), both the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) and Brent crude oil 2017 price forecasts increased by about $1 per barrel (b) from the November STEO, with prices expected to average $51/b and $52/b, respectively. The WTI price is forecast to average $49/b in the first half of 2017 and end the year at $54/b, while the Brent price is forecast to average $50/b in the first half of 2017 and end the year at $55/b. The forecast includes consideration of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ (OPEC) recent announcement to reduce production. However, the agreement only resulted in small changes to the STEO forecast.

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Dec 8, 2016

EIA adds population density layers to U.S. Energy Mapping System

map of U.S. population density and electric transmission lines, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration
Note: Click to enlarge.

EIA’s U.S. Energy Mapping System and related interactive state maps now include two new layers showing population density to complement layers that already display energy infrastructure, energy resources, storm tracks, and flood hazard areas. The population density data will allow users to analyze how components of the U.S. energy system—such as electric power plants and transmission lines, crude oil and natural gas production sites, and other key components of the energy system—interact with and relate to centers of population.

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Tags: energy


Dec 7, 2016

About 30% of distributed solar capacity is owned by third parties

graph of distributed solar capacity by state, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Form EIA-826

Distributed solar capacity in the United States, which includes all solar power capacity other than utility-scale installations 1 MW or larger, totaled 12.3 gigawatts (GW) as of September. About 30% of that amount (3.7 GW) was owned by third-party owners. Third-party owners are private companies that provide either solar electricity or equipment to generate it to building owners or tenants, typically with little or no upfront costs.

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Dec 6, 2016

New England natural gas pipeline capacity increases for the first time since 2010

graph of New England natural gas pipeline expansions, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

Republished December 6, 2016, 4:30 p.m. to correct the Salem Lateral in-service date.

Spectra Energy Corporation has almost completed the first two natural gas pipeline projects in New England since 2010. On November 1, Spectra placed part of the Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) project into service, following the late-October approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The remainder of the project is expected to be completed this month. Spectra placed another pipeline project—Salem Lateral—into service on November 1, according to PointLogic Energy, but it is not expected to be used until June 2017.

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Dec 5, 2016

Thanksgiving holiday causes unique electricity usage patterns across the country

graph of U.S. lower 48 electricity demand by week, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, EIA-930, U.S. Electric System Operating Data
Note: Days based on Eastern Standard Time.

In terms of electricity usage, Thanksgiving Day is one of the most unusual days of the year. Typically at this time of year, electric loads in most regions have a small peak in the morning and a larger peak in the evening. On Thanksgiving, however, the largest peak of the day occurs closer to midday as many Americans gather to celebrate the holiday. The day after Thanksgiving is also unusual because it tends to follow electricity usage patterns typical to weekends.

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Dec 2, 2016

Federal leasing for offshore wind grows as first U.S. offshore wind farm comes online

graph of purchased federal leases for offshore wind land area, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, based on Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
Note: 2016 and 2017 values are estimates.

The first commercial U.S. offshore wind farm, Block Island, is scheduled to come online in late 2016. Located three miles off the southeastern coast of Rhode Island, Block Island consists of five wind turbines that will produce 30 megawatts (MW) of electricity. The electricity will be used on Block Island, where electricity is currently supplied by diesel-powered generators. The high cost of current electricity sources on Block Island helps to reduce the economic hurdles typically associated with power from offshore wind.

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Dec 1, 2016

New U.S. border-crossing pipelines bring shale gas to more regions in Mexico

graph of U.S. border crossing natural gas pipeline capacity into Mexico, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Natural Gas Pipelines

U.S. pipeline capacity for natural gas exports to Mexico has rapidly expanded in the past few years and currently stands at 7.3 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d). This existing cross-border capacity primarily supplies the Northeast and Central regions of Mexico. New capacity projected to be completed in the next several years will help to supply Mexico’s Central and Northwestern regions.

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Nov 30, 2016

Tighter marine fuel sulfur limits will spark changes by both refiners and vessel operators

graph of marine sulfur limits, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, This Week in Petroleum

The sulfur content of transportation fuels has been declining for many years as a result of increasingly stringent regulations. In the United States, federal and state regulations limit the amount of sulfur present in motor gasoline, diesel fuel, and heating oil. New international regulations limiting sulfur in fuels for ocean-going vessels, set to take effect in 2020, have further implications for both refiners and vessel operators at a time of high uncertainty in future crude oil prices, which will be a major factor in their operational decisions.

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Nov 29, 2016

U.S. natural gas exports to Mexico continue to grow

graph of U.S. natural gas exports, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Natural Gas Monthly

U.S. pipeline exports of natural gas continued to grow in 2016, and they have doubled since 2009. Almost all of this growth is attributable to increasing exports to Mexico, which have accounted for more than half of all U.S. natural gas exports since April 2015. In August, the United States exported 4.2 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of natural gas to Mexico via pipelines. U.S. daily pipeline exports to Mexico through August 2016 are at a yearly average of 3.6 Bcf/d, 25% above the year-ago level and 85% above the five-year (2011–15) average level.

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Nov 28, 2016

Three turbine manufacturers provide more than 75% of U.S. wind capacity

graph of manufacturers of installed U.S. wind capacity, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, EIA Form-860
Note: Reported data are for each wind plant’s predominant turbine manufacturer.

Republished November 29, 2016, 3:40 p.m., to correct an error in the graph.

EIA recently started collecting data on wind turbine manufacturers, turbine models, and other wind plant attributes in the Annual Electric Generator Report. As of the end of 2015, just three manufacturers— General Electric (GE), Vestas, and Siemens—accounted for 55 gigawatts (GW), or 76%, of installed wind generating capacity in the United States. Of the 8.2 GW of total wind capacity installed in 2015, these three companies’ combined share is even greater, representing more than 92% of new capacity in 2015.

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