Though Hawaii generally has a mild climate and high adoption levels of solar photovoltaic systems in the residential sector, the island has the highest electricity prices in the United States. Averaging 27.5 cents per kilowatthour (kWh), Hawaii power prices in 2016 were more than twice the national average, according to IEA figures.
Spending on infrastructure to deliver electricity to American homes and businesses has kept rising over the past 10 years. Utilities representing about 70% of total U.S. electric load spent about $21 billion on capital additions in 2016. The Edison Electric Institute (EEI) says investment in transmission infrastructure has kept rising in 2017 and will soon reach a peak at approximately $22.5 billion.
Strong seasonal gas demand from the US power sector has pushed the country’s total consumption of natural gas by 13% this week, according to PointLogic Energy data. Exports to Mexico were rangebound, averaging 4.5 Bcf/d while six LNG vessels departed the Sabine Pass liquefaction facility from January 31 to February 7.
Reacting to recurring power outages, South Africa is taking steps to reduce its reliance on aging coal-fired plants. Over the next five years, the Government plans to replace some out-dated coal capacity with nearly 10-GW of supercritical coal units. It seeks to attract investment to realize up to 4 GW of gas-fired independent power projects (IPPs) that would be supplied by imported LNG from floating terminals at Richards Bay and Port Coega starting in 2020.
Surging shale gas production in the three Appalachian states – Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia – is exceeding regional demand and keeps pushing down prices. The prolific Marcellus and Utica Shale increased their combined share in total US gas production from 2% in 2008 to currently 27%, according to EIA figures, while gas consumption in the Appalachian region has grown due to the power sector, but to a much lesser extent.
The February 2018 futures contract for natural gas on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) is trading at a discount to the current spot price. This pricing pattern provides economic incentives to withdraw natural gas from storage to avoid exposure to the spot market.
Going from strength to strength, production of fossil fuels in the United States will average almost 73 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) in 2018 – the highest level on record, according to EIA figures. Come 2019, production of US oil, gas and coal is forecast to 75 quadrillion Btu, setting yet another record.
The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has approved the PennEast pipeline in a 4-1 vote, acknowledging the clear need for more gas transport infrastructure along the East Coast. The $1 billion PennEast interstate pipeline will bring up to 1 billion cubic feet of daily low-cost Marcellus gas to customers in southeast Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Low-cost of natural gas has allowed it to stay the dominant source of power generation in the United States for the second year in a row. The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that gas-fired power plants covered an average of 32% of total U.S. electricity needs in 2017, compared with 30% from coal power plants.
Most of the planned retirements of US power plants through 2020 will be coal-fired plants and natural gas steam turbine units, based on information reported to EIA. From 2008 through 2017, coal-fired units accounted for 47% of all retired utility-scale power stations, followed by gas steam turbines with a 26% share.