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Today in Energy

Dec 10, 2019

Auction prices for regional carbon dioxide allowances have increased since the 2017 low

RGGI allowance clearing price
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, based on Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is the first mandatory market-based program in the United States intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. RGGI was formed as a cooperative effort among 10 northeastern states to cap and reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the participating states’ power sectors. RGGI CO2 emission allowances are available to affected companies and other interested parties at quarterly auctions.

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Dec 9, 2019

U.S. onshore wind capacity exceeds 100 gigawatts

U.S. annual wind capacity additions by year
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory
Note: Values given as nameplate capacity.

Cumulative U.S. installed onshore wind capacity exceeded 100 gigawatts (GW) on a nameplate capacity basis as of the end of September 2019, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory. More than half of that amount has been installed since the beginning of 2012. The oldest wind turbines still operating in the United States came online as early as 1975.

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Dec 6, 2019

Natural gas venting and flaring increased in North Dakota and Texas in 2018

U.S. natural gas withdrawals and vented and flared gas
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Natural Gas Annual

The volume of U.S. natural gas that was reported as vented and flared reached its highest average annual level of 1.28 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2018, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Natural Gas Annual, which contains updated data about vented and flared natural gas. In 2018, the percentage of U.S. natural gas that was vented and flared increased to 1.25% of gross withdrawals, up from 0.84% the previous year. Two states, North Dakota and Texas, accounted for 1.1 Bcf/d, or 82% of the reported U.S. vented and flared natural gas.

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Dec 5, 2019

U.S. petroleum exports exceed imports in September

monthly U.S. total petroleum trade
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Petroleum Supply Monthly

In September 2019, the United States exported 89,000 barrels per day (b/d) more petroleum (crude oil and petroleum products) than it imported, the first month this has happened since monthly records began in 1973. A decade ago, the United States was importing 10 million b/d more petroleum than it was exporting. Long-running changes in U.S. trade patterns for both crude oil and petroleum products have resulted in a steady decrease in overall U.S. net petroleum imports.

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Dec 4, 2019

EIA updates geologic maps of the Delaware Basin’s Bone Spring formation

structure and thickness of Bone Spring
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, U.S. Shale Oil and Natural Gas Maps, Permian Basin

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has released new maps and geologic information for the Bone Spring play in the Delaware Basin, which spans from southeastern New Mexico to western Texas. The updated information includes formation geology, deposition history, and regional tectonic features. The Delaware Basin is in the western part of the larger Permian Basin, one of the most prolific areas for oil and natural gas production in the United States.

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Dec 3, 2019

U.S. coal plant retirements linked to plants with higher operating costs

projected capacity changes for selected U.S. coal power plants
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Generating Unit Annual Capital and Life Extension Costs Analysis; Sargent & Lundy
Note: FERC is the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Since peaking at nearly 318 gigawatts (GW) in 2011, U.S. coal-fired electric generating capacity declined to 257 GW in 2017 after several coal power plants retired. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) undertook a study with Sargent & Lundy to improve modeling for the Annual Energy Outlook (AEO). The results show the relationship between plant retirements and a plant’s operating and maintenance costs. According to the report, a larger share of plants with higher operating and maintenance costs retired by 2018 than those with relatively low operating and maintenance costs.

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Dec 2, 2019

Early November cold weather prompts fuel switching in PJM and MISO

coal/natural gas generation share and natural gas spot price by region
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Form EIA-930, U.S. Electric System Operating Data; S&P Global Market Intelligence; Velocity Suite (map)

A historic November cold snap sent temperatures below freezing in 75% of the Lower 48 states. Because of this cold snap, the price of natural gas increased from an average of less than $2.00 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) in October to a mid-November high of $5.11/MMBtu at the Tetco M3 hub, located in northeast Pennsylvania in the PJM Interconnection (PJM). Prices rose about $1.00/MMBtu and reached nearly $3.00/MMBtu at the Chicago Citygate hub in the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO). These price increases resulted in coal-fired power generation replacing natural gas-fired generation starting in late October in both of these regional transmission organization markets. In both PJM and MISO, where strong competition exists between natural gas- and coal-fired generation, relative shifts in fuel prices can influence which type of power plant operates.

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Nov 27, 2019

U.S. average gasoline prices this week are similar to the previous two Thanksgivings

U.S. average price for regular retail gasoline
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Gasoline and Diesel Fuel Update

As U.S. households prepare for Thanksgiving and the holiday travel season, gasoline prices this year are similar to prices in recent years. As of Monday, November 25, regular retail gasoline prices averaged $2.58 per gallon (gal) nationwide, similar to the $2.61/gal on the Monday before Thanksgiving in 2018 and the $2.57/gal in 2017.

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Nov 26, 2019

U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions rose in 2018 for the first year since 2014

annual U.S. energy-related co2 emissions by source
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Monthly Energy Review

Total U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2018 rose to 5.27 billion metric tons, 2.7% more than its 2017 level. The primary reasons for the increase were higher natural gas-related emissions resulting from more extreme summer and winter weather and growth in transportation-related petroleum emissions, linked to a strong economy. U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions declined in 6 of the past 10 years and were 12% lower in 2018 than in 2005, according to a data series published in the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Monthly Energy Review.

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Nov 25, 2019

Puerto Rico electricity generation returned to pre-2017 hurricane levels one year later

monthly Puerto Rico net generation by fuel type
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Form EIA-923, Power Plant Operations Report

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) latest annual Power Plant Operations Report, nearly a year had passed before net electricity generation in Puerto Rico approached levels similar to those in the months before Hurricanes Irma and Maria damaged the territory’s electricity grid in September 2017. Recovery efforts to repair damage to Puerto Rico’s power plants and the electricity transmission and distribution infrastructure permitted generation to return to pre-hurricane levels.

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