Post Tagged with: "solar"

New electric generating capacity in 2020 will come primarily from wind and solar

New electric generating capacity in 2020 will come primarily from wind and solar


EIA expects 42 gigawatts (GW) of new capacity additions to start commercial operation in 2020. Solar and wind represent almost 32 GW, or 76%, of these additions.

New electric generating capacity in 2020 will come primarily from wind and solar - fig 1 -oilandgas360

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) latest inventory of electric generators, EIA expects 42 gigawatts (GW) of new capacity additions to start commercial operation in 2020. Solar and wind represent almost 32 GW, or 76%, of these additions. Wind accounts for the largest share of these additions at 44%, followed by solar and natural gas at 32% and 22%, respectively. The remaining 2% comes from hydroelectric generators and battery storage.

Wind. Operators have scheduled 18.5 GW of wind capacity to come online in 2020, surpassing the record level of 13.2 GW set in 2012. More than 60%, or 11.2 GW, of wind capacity is scheduled to come online at the end of the year, in November and December of 2020, which is typical for solar and wind applications. Expiration of the U.S. production tax credit (PTC) at the end of 2020 is driving the large wind capacity addition. The phase-out of the PTC extension is also reflected in the amount of wind capacity additions that came online in 2019, which EIA expects will total 11.8 GW. Five states account for more than half of the 2020 planned wind capacity additions. Texas accounts for 32%; followed by Oklahoma at 6%; then Wyoming, Colorado, and Missouri at 5% each.

Solar photovoltaics. EIA expects 13.5 GW of solar capacity to come online in 2020, surpassing the previous annual record addition of 8 GW in 2016. More than half of the utility-scale electric power sector solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity additions will be in four states: Texas (22%), California (15%), Florida (11%), and South Carolina (10%). The residential and commercial sectors will also experience record growth as a result of new distributed PV or rooftop systems. According to its Short-Term Energy Outlook, EIA expects an additional 5.1 GW of small-scale solar PV capacity to enter service by the end of 2020.

Natural gas. Planned natural gas capacity additions for 2020 are 9.3 GW. Combined-cycle plants account for 6.7 GW and combustion-turbine plants account for 2.3 GW. More than 70% of these additions are in Pennsylvania, Texas, California, and Louisiana.

New electric generating capacity in 2020 will come primarily from wind and solar - fig 2 -oilangas360

Scheduled capacity retirements (11 GW) for 2020 will primarily be driven by coal (51%), followed by natural gas (33%) and nuclear (14%). Other smaller renewable, petroleum, and hydro capacity account for the remaining 2% of 2020 retirements.

Coal. Of the 5.8 GW of coal-fired capacity that EIA expects to retire in 2020, half of the capacity is located in Kentucky and Ohio. The retirement of Unit 3 at the Paradise plant in Kentucky (0.97 GW) will be the largest coal-fired unit to retire in the United States this year. The next-largest retirements will be at Elmer Smith in Kentucky and at Conesville (Unit 4) and W H Sammis (Units 1–4) in Ohio.

Natural gas. Natural gas retirements will come primarily from older units that came online in the 1950s or 1960s. EIA expects natural gas retirements in 2020 to total 3.7 GW, and 68% of those retirements are steam turbine plants. Most of the retiring capacity, 2.2 GW, comes from Alamitos, Huntington Beach, and Redondo Beach AES plants in California. The Inland Empire Energy Center (a 10-year-old, 0.7 GW single-shaft combined-cycle plant) is also retiring because it has been operating below capacity for several years.

Nuclear. Two nuclear plants totaling 1.6 GW are currently scheduled to retire in 2020. Indian Point Unit 2, located in New York, is scheduled to retire in April. Iowa’s only nuclear power plant, Duane Arnold Energy Center, is scheduled to retire in December.

New electric generating capacity in 2020 will come primarily from wind and solar - fig 3 -oilandgas360

The utility-scale values in this article refer to capacity reported to EIA by developers and power plant owners—respondents to EIA’s annual and monthly electric generator surveys. In the annual survey, respondents are asked to provide planned online dates for any known generators coming online in the next five years. The monthly survey tracks the status of generators coming online in the coming year based on previous analysis of reported in-service dates.

Principal contributor: Suparna Ray

Source: Houston Chronicle

Renewables get a boost from lower cost batteries

Houston Chronicle

Lower costs and more capacity helped to drive growth in the renewable energy industry this year, according to a new study.

Renewables get a boost from lower cost batteries- oil and gas 360

Source: Houston Chronicle

The lifetime cost of operating utility-scale solar facilities declined by 18 percent and on-shore wind dipped by 10 percent during the first half of the year, according to the consulting firm Deloitte.

The biggest decline in cost was for lithium-ion battery storage which fell 35 percent between January and June, according to the New York accounting and consulting firm Deloitte. The drop in battery storage is adding more value to renewables because the batteries make intermittent solar and wind generation increasingly competitive with traditional fossil-fuel energy sources.

April marked the first time that renewable energy, which provides 23 percent of U.S. power generation, outpaced coal which provides 20 percent, according to the study. Taken together, wind and solar sources accounted for about half of the nation’s renewable power generation, replacing the one-time dominance of hydroelectric power.


Source: Houston Chronicle/Billy Calzada

Wells Fargo inks solar deal with NRG

Source: Houston Chronicle

Wells Fargo, the San Francisco-based bank, negotiated a 10-year renewable energy deal with Reliant Energy, the retail electric provider owned by Houston and New Jersey based NRG Energy.

Source: Houston Chronicle/Billy Calzada

The agreement will provide about 62,000 megawatt hours of solar energy each year to approximately 400 Wells Fargo properties from a new utility-scale solar facility in Texas. NRG isn’t saying yet where the solar plant will be located  but expects to break ground next year and begin operations in 2021.

The deal is Wells Fargo’s first significant transaction under the bank’s long-term energy strategy to contract with providers of renewable energy close to the bank’s load centers. Wells Fargo is pursuing similar deals across the nation.

The bank is also  installing solar systems on more than 100 corporate, branch and data facilities. The company currently maintains solar arrays on 16 properties.
EIA: Renewables Generated More Electricity Than Coal in April

EIA: Renewables Generated More Electricity Than Coal in April

By Tyler Losier, Energy Reporter, Oil & Gas 360

Renewables edge out coal for the first time in U.S. history
This April, for the first time in U.S. history, monthly electricity generation from renewable sources exceeded that of coal-fired means, according to the EIA.

More precisely, coal was responsible for about 20% of the nation’s electricity, whereas renewables such as wind and solar provided 23%. This trend is likely reflective of seasonal factors to some degree, however the EIA notes that long-term increases in renewable energy use, as well as decreases in coal use, also helped to contribute.

Source: EIA

Regarding the first point, in the spring and fall months, electricity consumption in the U.S. is generally lower ...

In 10 States Wind and Solar Output Exceeds 20% of Total Power Generated – Iowa, Kansas Jump to 50%

In 10 States Wind and Solar Output Exceeds 20% of Total Power Generated – Iowa, Kansas Jump to 50%

Wind and solar generation are steadily growing in the U.S.

According to a new report released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), wind and solar electric generation reached or exceeded 20% of total generation in 10 states in 2017. This includes small-scale solar photovoltaics.

Source: EIA

Facts Summary:

Total annual generation (TAG) from wind and solar in the US, overall, reached an average of 8% for 2017.

TAG peaked at 11% in April 2017.

The highest share of combined monthly wind and solar in-state electricity generation exceeded 50% in Iowa and Kansas.

Source: EIA

Wind generation leads solar in some states, solar is bigger in others

Of the 10 states with the highest shares of wind ...

Tellurian is sharply cutting the equity buy-in for potential partners in a bid to make its business model to finance construction of its proposed Driftwood LNG export terminal more attractive.

New Jobs in Energy: Technology, Innovation and Big Data

The changing face of energy: new jobs in the broad energy sector

Powering the industrial base, fueling all modes of transportation including the nation’s food distribution system, and setting the table for national economic growth—filling jobs in the energy industry is critical to the future economic success of the U.S.

Energy-related job openings are changing. New jobs are growing fast, and it’s not just an offshoot of the oil and gas recovery. It’s much bigger.

Energy enjoys a much broader definition within the overall U.S. economy, and the growing universe of jobs touches almost every aspect of the energy economy: transportation, manufacturing, power generation and transmission, petroleum and alternative fuels–including oil and gas extraction and refining and many positions have a heavy technology and analysis component.

New Jobs in Energy: Technology, Innovation and Big Data

Image: Tesla Inc.

A period of rapid change for energy

The U.S. Department of Energy in January released the agency’s second annual analysis of how changes in America’s energy profile are affecting national employment in key sectors of the economy. By administering a new supplemental survey to over 30,000 energy sector employers, the DOE’s 2017 U.S. Energy and Employment Report (USEER) tracked dramatic growth in several key sectors of the U.S. economy in 2016.

Some key findings of the report include:

  • 4 million Americans now work in the traditional energy and energy efficiency industries which added over 300,000 net new jobs in 2016, 14% of the nation’s job growth
  • Energy efficiency jobs increased by 133,000 jobs for a total of 2.2 million
  • Investments in energy transmission, distribution and storage (our energy infrastructure) generated 65,000 new jobs
  • Solar industry employment jumped by over 73,000 jobs or 25%
  • Wind industry employment added 25,000 new jobs to land at 102,000

The 2017 report analyzed four sectors of the U.S. economy:

  • Electric Power Generation and Fuels
  • Transmission, Distribution and Storage
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Motor Vehicles

The first two of those sectors make up what the DOE report calls the “Traditional Energy” sector–power generation and fossil fuel extraction. The sector increased in 2016 by just under 5 percent, adding over 300,000 net new jobs, roughly 14% of all those created in the country. Electric power generation and fuels technologies (including the oil and gas industry) directly employ more than 1.9 million workers.

New Jobs in Energy: Technology, Innovation and Big Data

Photo: Ensco

In 2016, 55%, or 1.1 million of these employees, worked in traditional coal, oil, and gas, while almost 800,000 workers were employed in low carbon emission generation technologies, including renewables, nuclear, and advanced/low emission natural gas, according to the DOE report.

Just under 374,000 individuals work, in whole or in part, for solar firms, with more than 260,000 of those employees spending the majority of their time on solar. There are an additional 102,000 workers employed at wind firms across the nation. The solar workforce increased by 25% in 2016, while wind employment increased by 32%.

New Jobs in Energy: Technology, Innovation and Big Data

Image: CSP

Download the full report and state charts.

The DOE said that the report is designed to “provide a quantitative lens with which to evaluate the employment impact of new energy technologies, shifting fuels deployment, and evolving transmission and power distribution systems during a period of rapid change.”

Hard to find qualified employees

Almost three‐quarters of employers across these sectors (72%), according to the DOE’s findings in its first release, reported difficulty hiring qualified workers over the prior 12 months; 26% said it was very difficult.

Is it because more of the overall energy sector jobs are highly technical in nature, requiring higher analytical skills and a focused mastery of math and technologies on the part of people needed in the energy sector?

There are new technologies coming nonstop to the energy sector, the advent of big data is overwhelming, dumping higher amounts of data onto energy management teams, and an industry-wide drive toward efficiency in everything from oil and gas drilling to power plant load management are all driving new jobs in the sector.

New Jobs in Energy: Technology, Innovation and Big Data

Photo: Core Lab

Case in point: a quick look at today’s energy jobs include software development, NREL, S&P, government, manufacturing 

 The first page of, a popular web-based job site, using the word energy as the search parameter, presented the following job openings on June 12, 2017:

  1. Global Industry Director-Utilities and Energy

Software AG –  23 reviews – New York, NY 10001

Help develop and qualify opportunities for license revenue in Utilities & Energy through early stages of deal-cycle….


S&P Global –  27 reviews – Denver, CO

Persistent with a natural curiosity about energy market fundamentals and technical details. We’re the leading independent provider of information and benchmark…

3.     Project Coordinator

National Renewable Energy Laboratory –  36 reviews – Golden, CO

NREL’s IEC fosters the acceleration of renewable energy & energy efficiency technologies into the marketplace by connecting lab resources with the clean energy…

4.     Operations Analyst

Concord Energy –  8 reviews – Denver, CO 80202 (Lodo area)

Concord Energy Transportation is rapidly expanding and is seeking an Operations Analyst for its downtown Denver office….

5.     Environmental Programs Manager

Gates Corporation –  85 reviews – Denver, CO

Support resource conservation initiatives, including leveraging projects across sites on energy and recycling….

6.     Energy Market Analyst

Siemens –  4,802 reviews – Fairfax, VA

Fundamental energy market analysis. Ability to provide technical oversight for a wide range of economic and statistical analyses in the energy field….

7.     Energy Efficiency Associate, Atlanta, GA

ICF –  268 reviews – Atlanta, GA

Energy Efficiency Associate. Energy Efficiency Associate, Atlanta, GA. Work as part of an energy efficiency team ensuring that the implementation of utility…

8.     Program Analyst

Department of Energy and Environment – Washington, DC

$81,050 – $104,423 a year

In accordance with the District of Columbia Green Finance Authority Establishment Act of 2017, the DC Green Bank will be a new, innovative policy tool to help…

9.     Credit Analyst – Utilities/Energy Industry

U.S. Bank –  3,601 reviews – Denver, CO

Credit Analysts are encouraged and expected to attend Energy Industry conferences, events, training sessions, etc. in order to gain experience specific to the…
  1. EnergyStorage and Charging Systems Engineer

GILLIG –  6 reviews – Livermore, CA

The Energy Storage and Charging Systems Engineer will be responsible for the development of the energy storage and charging systems electrical design and…
  1. Engineer, Renewable Energy

IGS Energy –  68 reviews – New York, NY

Experience with CHP/Renewable Energy. Understanding of alternative energy technologies. Responsible for the engineering, design and project management of new…

Oil and gas hiring too

Interestingly, the search for “energy” jobs above returned zero oil and gas job openings on the first page. However, oil and gas and related jobs are plentiful on Indeed if you search under the oil and gas sector name. Here are some of the open jobs from that search:

1.     Division Order Analyst

AQYRE Energy – Denver, CO

We provide high level energy consulting with a core focus on oil & gas acquisitions. AQYRE Energy has an innovative approach to a traditional industry….

2.     Landman 1

Bill Barrett Corporation –  4 reviews – Denver, CO

Undergo continuing education classes relating to oil and gas as a means of advancing current knowledge base and keeping up with industry changes….

3.     Senior Gas Specialist (Flared Gas Utilization)

The World Bank Group –  384 reviews – Washington, DC

Minimum 8 years of broad international work experience, preferably in the oil, gas or power industry, and ideally gained in the oil production, gas processing…

4.     Mineral Acquisitions Sales and Landman

L3 Resources – Houston, TX

$30,000 – $150,000 a year

We can teach Oil & Gas, but can’t teach empathy and an engaging personality. L3 Resources is an Oil & Gas mineral rights and royalties acquisition company…

5.     Oil and Gas Field Inspector

Railroad Commission of Texas –  12 reviews – Abilene, TX  +1 location

$3,700 a month

This position offers the opportunity to learn up-to-date oil and gas operations and procedures, regulatory requirements, drilling, production, and…

6.     Sr. Proposal Coordinator

Kiewit Corporation –  897 reviews – Denver, CO 80205 (Northern Denver area)

Kiewit offers construction and engineering services in a variety of markets including transportation, water/wastewater, power, oil, gas and chemical, building…
  1. Process and Mechanical Engineering Department Leader – Denve…

CH2M –  494 reviews – Englewood, CO 80112

Recognized as an Oil & Gas industry leader in gas and liquids processing. Experience working in Conceptual study, FEED, EPC, EPCM, and process optimization on…

8.     Sr. EHS Manager

PDC Energy –  15 reviews – Denver, CO 80203 (Capitol Hill area)

Minimum 10-12 years of experience working within a similar capacity in the oil & gas industry; Maintain knowledge of new regulations and standards as they are…

9.     Senior Manager II, Quality Assurance

T.D. Williamson, Inc. –  8 reviews – Tulsa, OK 74131

Of which a minimum of six (6) of HSE work experience in the oil and gas industry and in an ISO 9001 / TD 16949 / AS 9100 Quality System….

10.  Senior Strategic and Business Development Manager

John Crane –  62 reviews – Chicago, IL

Experience working in a B2B industrial company or in the oil & gas sector is highly desirable. Experience in presenting results and recommendations to senior…

11.  Senior Manager – SEC Reporting

Energy Transfer Partners –  17 reviews – Dallas, TX

In total, ETP currently owns and operates approximately 62,500 miles of natural gas and natural gas liquids pipelines….

Electricity sector

An Indeed search under electricity generation returned the following opportunities:

  1. PV Systems Design Engineer

EnSync, Inc. – Menomonee Falls, WI

Wind power generation experience a plus. Provide technical solutions of power and energy sizing for optimizing generation versus load where generation is…
  1. Sr Manager, Engineering and Technical Services, Renewable O&…

NRG Energy –  133 reviews – Scottsdale, AZ 85251

Our retail electricity providers serve almost 3 million residential and commercial customers throughout the country….

3.     Senior Manager of Energy Forecasting

Southern California Edison –  502 reviews – Rosemead, CA

Join the utility leader that is safely delivering reliable, affordable electricity to our customers for over 125 years….

4.     Store Manager

Tesla Motors –  449 reviews – Fremont, CA  +3 locations

Model 3, our third generation EV, is currently under development. Tesla Energy produces the Powerwall, a residential battery pack, as well as commercial and…

5.     Principal Manager of Energy Contract Management

Southern California Edison –  502 reviews – Rosemead, CA

Experience working at a high level in power procurement, generation project development,. Join the utility leader that is safely delivering reliable, affordable…

6.     Corporate Cost Estimating Manager

General Electric –  2,230 reviews – New York State

GE Power is a world leader in power generation with deep domain expertise that helps customers deliver electricity from a wide spectrum of fuel sources….

7.     Senior Manager of Energy Asset Resource Optimization

Southern California Edison –  502 reviews – Rosemead, CA

Join the utility leader that is safely delivering reliable, affordable electricity to our customers for over 125 years….

8.     Trade Surveillance and Monitoring Manager

Direct Energy –  389 reviews – Houston, TX

Electricity – Physical and Financial;  ad hoc reporting, data extraction, and analyses for purposes such as Capacity Release testing, Generation Offers testing,…

Texas needs analysts 

  1. Division Order Analyst

Border to Border Exploration, LLC – Austin, TX 78738

Sr. Division Order Analyst. Familiarity and understanding of oil and gas practices, and leasing & mineral rights in the state of Texas….
  1. Total Rewards & Recognition Analyst

Flowserve –  464 reviews – Irving, TX 75062

Flowserve is the recognized world leader in supplying pumps, valves, seals, automation, and services to the power, oil, gas, chemical, and other industries….
  1. Manager of Trading Support

Asset Risk Management – Houston, TX

Headquartered in Houston (with offices in Calgary, Denver, Pittsburgh, and Midland), ARM has been providing comprehensive hedge strategies for oil and gas…

4.     Senior IT Analyst Products and Technology – Houston TX

Baker Hughes –  2,648 reviews – Houston, TX

Experience in Oil & Gas or High Tech Manufacturing industry. IT Analyst – Products & Technology . Baker Hughes Incorporated has an opening for a Sr….

5.     Sr. Production Analyst

DiamondBack –  7 reviews – Midland, TX

Production Analyst – Permian. Create and distribute daily, weekly, and monthly production reports for non-op partners Create monthly SWD allocations, Oil…

6.     Sr. Lease Analyst

DiamondBack –  7 reviews – Midland, TX

Senior Lease Analyst. Oil and Gas Lease provisions Joint Operating Agreements Farm-in and Farm-out Pooling Unitization Rentals Shut-in Surface operations Depth…

7.     Sr Land Analyst – Gulf of Mexico & Exploration

Anadarko Petroleum Corporation –  164 reviews – The Woodlands, TX

Sr Land Analyst – Gulf of Mexico & Exploration. 8 or more years’ oil and gas, land, legal, real estate or other relevant experience….

8.     Sr. Finance Analyst

Honeywell –  4,358 reviews – Houston, TX

Senior FP&A Analyst. Partner with PAS Senior FP&A Manager and HPS BI/GDW Team to drive implementation and adoption of Tableau in PAS globally….

9.     Senior Land Analyst – Division Orders Job

Hess Corporation –  369 reviews – Houston, TX 77010 (Downtown area)

Exposure to oil and gas operations. Laws and regulatory provisions related to oil and gas extraction. Law, Petroleum Land Management, Lease and Title Analyst,…


DiamondBack –  7 reviews – Midland, TX

This position is responsible for monitoring, analyzing, and optimizing oil and gas well operations, remote surveillance of general field operations and…

11.  ES&H Technical Analyst Job

Bechtel –  1,369 reviews – Gregory, TX

And oil, gas, and chemicals. Reports to and receives operational direction and functional supervision from the GBU ES&H Manager, GBU Senior ES&H Manager, Safety…

12.  IT End User Prod Sr Analyst

Occidental Petroleum –  92 reviews – Midland, TX

Oil and gas companies, based on equity market capitalization, with more than 40,000 employees and contractors worldwide. IT End User Prod Sr….

13.  Systems Analyst / Senior Systems Analyst – Midland, TX

IES Engineering –  9 reviews – Midland, TX 79701

Systems Analyst / Senior Systems Analyst. Classification as Systems Analyst or Sr. (dba IES Engineering), a privately held multidisciplinary engineering and…

New Jobs in Energy: Technology, Innovation and Big Data

Photo: Oil & Gas 360


Climbing the energy ladder

Universities are recognizing the need for online and “hybrid” graduate programs to yield MBAs. But what about an advanced business degree tailored specifically to the energy sector?

Graduate university programs like the University of Colorado Denver Business School’s Global Energy Management program—GEM—offer working professionals a chance to advance within the industry, even cross-sector, by gaining management and finance skills applicable to today’s changing energy landscape. The GEM program admits graduates students, most of whom are degreed and already working in an energy field, who want to add energy sector-business knowledge to create value for their career paths with an advanced degree that is focused on the energy industry.


Industry sectors, companies of students & alumni representative of the broad energy sector

The University of Colorado Denver Business School GEM program student and alumni population is representative of the energy business and the professional service industries serving energy companies–law and finance. According to the CU Denver, the student population breaks into these categories: 

  • Oil and gas – 66%
  • Renewables – 10%
  • Utility – 16%
  • Other, Law/Finance – 8%

Ninety-five percent of GEM students are currently working in the energy industry, according to the GEM program’s Director of External Affairs Catherine Steffek.

The program starts cohorts quarterly with a fly-in weekend of concentrated course work in the classroom led by senior faculty and executives in residence from the energy industry. The balance of the term is completed remotely with students on project teams collaborating online from all sectors and locations. Students have come to the program from Australia, Africa, the Middle East, Norway, the UK, Europe, and the Americas. All students have individual access to 12 different energy executives who serve as executives in residence during the 18-month program.

In 2016 when the downturn in oil and gas was just over two years in duration, Oil & Gas 360® talked to GEM’s Catherine Steffek about the strategy of students entering into the program in the past year or two: “You will position yourself to be ahead of the market when the industry picks up again. In 18 months, you’ll have a graduate business degree from an accredited institution that is focused on the energy industry. You’ll be able to understand how the leaders of a company work and think, and how and why decisions are made.”

Students graduate with a B.S. in Global Energy Management.

“It has definitely been a help for me,” Sean Howley, Development Planning Team leader at Noble Energy (ticker: NBL), and a graduate of the GEM program, told Oil & Gas360® in a phone interview. “I have actually had three different positions since I graduated from the program,” Howley said, referring to some of his own moves up the ladder within his company.

New Jobs in Energy: Technology, Innovation and Big Data

Source: Society for Human Resource Management

The GEM students and alumni are from the following companies:

  • Anadarko Petroleum Corporation
  • Baker Hughes, Inc
  • Bill Barrett Corporation
  • CH2M Hill, Inc
  • Chesapeake Energy Corporation
  • Constellation Energy, LLC
  • DCP Midstream, LP
  • Duke Energy
  • Encana Oil & Gas (USA), Inc
  • Exxon Mobil Corporation
  • EOG Resources, Inc
  • Forest Oil Corporation
  • FPD Power Development, LLC
  • GE Power
  • Haliburton Company
  • Hess Corporation
  • Helix Electric, Inc
  • IHS Inc
  • JPMorgan Chase & Company
  • Kodiak Oil & Gas Corporation
  • Lockheed Martin Corporation
  • Marathon Oil Corporation
  • National Renewable Energy Laboratory
  • Newfield Exploration
  • Noble Energy, Inc
  • Occidental Oil & Gas Corporation
  • PDC Energy
  • Pioneer Natural Resources
  • Company
  • QEP Energy Company
  • Renewable Energy Systems, LT D
  • Santos International D&C S
  • Saudi Arabian Oil Company
  • Siemens Industry, Inc
  • SolarCity
  • Solar Energy Systems, LLC
  • Southern California Edison
  • Tri-State Generation and Transmission
  • Association, Inc
  • URS Corporation
  • U.S. Department of Energy
  • U.S. Department of Interior
  • US Bank
  • Venoco, Inc
  • Whiting Petroleum Corporation
  • Williams Production Limited
  • World Bank Group
  • Xcel Energy, Inc

The Global Energy Management Program was started in 2007. It is the first of its kind in the country and has been in operation the longest, according to the University of Colorado. GEM is part of CU Denver’s Business School, which is among the 5% of all business schools worldwide awarded full accreditation by AACSB. The Business School at the University of Colorado Denver has sustained AACSB accreditation at both undergraduate and graduate levels for 25 years. Less than 5% of the world’s 13,000 business programs have earned AACSB accreditation, according to the University of Colorado.

The school reports that 58% of GEM students and alumni have received a promotion or a raise since starting the GEM program.

Save the date: GEM Lunch and Learn – July 14, 2017

The GEM program is hosting a free informational lunch program and presentation for prospective students in Denver, Colorado, on Friday, July 14.  Advanced registration link for the lunch is here.  General information about the GEM program is available here.

Energy Master’s Program Prepares Energy Professionals for Company Leadership Roles - Oil & Gas 360



Here’s Why Wind Could Replace Natural Gas

Here’s Why Wind Could Replace Natural Gas

The Accelerating Growth of Wind and Solar Energy is Being Driven by Government Climate Policies, Global Corporations Thrusting Themselves onto the Green Bandwagon, Fervent Activism Against Fossil Fuels, a Carbon Concerned Millennial Generation that is Willing to Pay More for Renewable Energy, and for Some Large Electricity Buyers–Attractive Economics

Last week, Oil & Gas 360® published an exclusive interview with Martin Keller, Director of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the U.S. government’s technical research arm for renewable energy.

In the interview Keller said that he believed that within the next 50 years, renewable energy sources—chiefly wind and solar—would replace fossil fuels as the primary fuels for generating electricity.

“I think fossil fuel will play a role in the future, but I think it will play a different role,” Keller told Oil & Gas 360®. “I think there is a lot of interesting chemistry in oil which we will continue to use in the years to come, but I think there will be different ways and cleaner ways to produce electricity.”

New Data Points to Recent Acceleration of Growth in Renewable Energy Use

According to a report from BCC Research entitled Renewable Energy: Technologies and Global Markets, “in terms of revenue, the global renewable energy market (excluding biofuels) reached $432.7 billion in 2013 and $476.3 billion in 2014. This market is expected to increase to $777.6 billion in 2019, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.3% from 2014 to 2019.”

Recent DOE reports have highlighted the rapid growth of wind and solar. Though their overall share of the energy mix in the U.S. is presently small (5.3%), there is ample evidence that wind and solar penetration are growing across the globe.

In March, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported new wind data: “Wind adds the most electric generation capacity in 2015, followed by natural gas and solar. Wind, natural gas, and solar made up almost all new electric generation capacity in 2015, accounting for 41%, 30%, and 26% of total additions, respectively, according to preliminary data.

Some of the forces that are fueling the renewable energy inertia (besides the recent extension of tax credit in the U.S.) is that green energy has won the endorsement of Millennial Generation consumers, a fast growing list of highly visible corporate champions, climate change activists, and governmental bodies led by politicians who are pushing policies to get their jurisdictions off of fossil fuels. All of this fervor towards transitioning to renewable energy is working. It’s moving the needle at an astonishing rate.

Will Wind Replace Natural Gas? - Oil & Gas 360

Source: EIA

Millennials, the Largest U.S. Consumer Group, Increasingly the Driving Force Behind Electric Utility Transformation: Deloitte 

Deloitte’s “Resources 2016 Study – Energy Management: Navigating the Headwinds” highlights the increasing influence of millennials aged 21-34, the largest and most dominant consumer group, as a dynamic force behind the shift to cleaner sources of energy – inspired by the desire to reduce their personal carbon footprints, according to a press release from Deloitte issued June 21, 2016.

“The strong desire of residential consumers for clean-energy options, coupled with the increasing cost-effectiveness of solar and wind, are driving growing opportunities for utilities and businesses to explore ways to expand deployment of renewables,” said Marlene Motyka, U.S. alternative energy leader and principal, Deloitte Transactions and Business Analytics LLP. “This trend is really being led by the millennial generation, whose wants and needs are not only relevant, but increasingly an influential factor in the transformation of electricity providers.”

Clean Power Plan Accelerates the Growth of Renewable Generation Throughout United States: EIA

EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook 2016 (AEO2016) Reference case projects that natural gas-fired electricity generation will exceed coal-fired electricity generation by 2022, while generation from renewables—driven by wind and solar—will overtake coal-fired generation by 2029. The shift away from coal-fired generation to a combination of higher natural gas-fired and renewables generation and greater energy efficiency is expected to be accelerated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan (CPP).”

Large Companies are Changing How they Acquire Electricity

An article last week by The Motley Fool, entitled Why Corporate America’s Love of Renewable Energy Should Terrify Traditional Utilities, puts it like this: “companies are looking at renewable energy as a way to save costs, lock in rates, and go green, and they may have more power to upset the utility business model than even a million homeowners installing solar panels. The defection of even a small number of large companies from the traditional grid could cause havoc in the utility industry.”

The article makes the economic case for commercial customers to buy renewable energy: “A utility has no ability, or interest, to control commodity costs long-term. If natural gas prices rise, the utility will just pass the cost on to customers, as is its right as a monopoly. But commercial customers want stability and predictability in costs. If they can lock in long-term power purchase agreements from renewable energy, why not lock up the lower cost?

“To put the finances of energy choice into perspective, leaving the grid was so valuable for MGM Resorts (ticker: MGM) that it recently said it will pay $86.9 million [penalty] to leave NV Energy and buy electricity on its own. Seriously, it’s paying nearly $90 million just to cut the cord to the utility. Most customers, like Apple (ticker: AAPL), which is buying energy from third-party plants and building some of its own plants, don’t even have to pay fines, so the economics are even better.

“If the economics didn’t work, commercial customers wouldn’t be looking to buy renewable energy today. But it does, and that’s the biggest reason commercial customers are looking to go renewable. While economics is the real driver of commercial renewable energy projects, the PR boost can’t be bad for companies. They get to call themselves green or say they have a small environmental impact, something companies like Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon have been pushing for years.”

In a story entitled Utilities Pursuing New Business Models, utility expert Erich Gunther talked to Smart Grid News about changes heading to the electric utilities at a rapid clip:

“Does your utility want to anticipate changing circumstances and define its new role or wait until disruptive forces overtake it? One response is to fight change and lobby for the status quo. Another is to do what Southern California Edison has been doing and really take a detailed look at one’s systems and planning processes and figure out how to manage changing circumstances in a way that allows the business model itself to evolve.

“Really, the issue is not whether change is here, but how it’s going to be managed by utilities, how it’s going to be regulated by policymakers and how it’s going to be funded. Utilities will be here in some form or another for a long time. But the benefit of looking ahead and analyzing how a utility’s business model can transition to manage and even take advantage of changing market circumstances is that by doing so, they can define their new role and thrive in the new era that’s upon us.”

Denmark’s Wind Developer DONG Energy Makes the Point

“I have no doubt that costs of offshore wind and solar energy over time will come down and be at same level as fossil fuels,” DONG Energy’s Chief Executive Henrik Poulsen said in an interview with MarineLink. “Our vision is that green energy will be cheaper than conventional energy. It can happen within a decade.”

“Five years ago the price for producing one megawatt was about 160 euros. We expect to reduce that to around 100 euros per megawatt before 2020.”

“It is our clear impression the green transition has a pretty strong momentum. The governments we talk to are committed to reduce CO2 emissions energy.”

Last week, DONG announced the completion of Europe’s largest initial public offering in 2016 – its $15 billion  IPO June 13, 2016 – and the initial trading of its shares on Nasdaq Copenhagen. DONG says it has built more offshore wind farms than any other company worldwide. “We have built more than one quarter of the total offshore wind capacity in the market. By 2020, we aim to have doubled our installed capacity compared with 2016 from 3.0 GW to 6.5 GW. The installed capacity in 2020 is equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of 16 million Europeans.”  The company says it has 900,000 power and gas customers.

“We can supply 7.5 million Europeans with electricity from our offshore wind farms; compared to 2006, we have reduced the same amount of CO2 as 7 million cars emit in one year.”

But DONG is diversified. In addition to its wind business, in 2015 DONG has oil and gas production that averaged 115,000 BOPD, of which 90 % came from Norwegian fields and 10 % from Danish fields, according to the company. “Our production is equivalent to the annual oil and gas consumption of ten million Europeans.”

Western Governments Are Galloping Toward Renewable Energy

The global PR chops of organizations like the IEA and hundreds of other environmental groups who are singularly focused on climate change are making a difference. They are expert at harnessing the power of public relations, traditional media, movie stars and social media to grab the attention of consumers, companies and governments.


This month Ontario released its much anticipated Five Year Climate Change Action Plan 2016-2020. Here is how Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne launched the province’s 85-page report:

“We know that climate change is real and is happening at an alarming rate. Ontario has a responsibility to tackle the immediate threat — and seize the opportunity — that climate change poses. Our coordinated efforts will protect and improve our way of life, while bolstering the economy and leaving a sustainable legacy for our children and grandchildren. Already we’ve taken strong action by ending dirty coal emissions in our province for good, making unprecedented investments in transit, building an innovative clean technology sector, introducing a cap and trade program that will further drive down emissions and setting aggressive greenhouse gas reduction targets. We are establishing ourselves as global leaders in the fight against climate change. By showing the important role that provinces and regions play in building a low-carbon economy, we are influencing action around the world.”

Canada’s CBC and other Canadian media outlets analyzed the Ontario climate plan, saying it “will provide billions of dollars in subsidies and incentives to businesses and homeowners.”

“The province will spend up to $8.3 billion on a range of programs to encourage people and companies to switch to more energy-efficient heating systems, buy electric or hybrid cars, convert big trucks to natural gas, add more bio-fuel to gasoline, and help the agriculture and industrial sectors adopt low-carbon technologies,” CBC said.

“Most of the money is expected to come from a cap-and-trade program for industrial polluters that the Liberal government expects will raise $1.9 billion a year. All of the cap-and-trade money will go into a dedicated fund for lowering Ontario’s carbon footprint.

“Two groups representing automakers said continued rebates of up to $14,000 for electric vehicles, free overnight charging for four years, and a “cash-for-clunkers” program to get older cars off the roads will help create consumer demand for EVs.

“The rebates, combined with looking at renewable fuels, is sort of a broad-based approach to reducing emissions overall from the transportation sector,” said David Adams, president of Global Automakers of Canada.

“Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne says the Liberal climate change plan will make the province ‘cleaner and greener,’ but the opposition PCs say it spends money the government hasn’t collected yet.

“Many of the initiatives announced today will help consumers understand that electric vehicles are part of the future, of their future,” said Mark Nantis of the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers Association.

The Ontario cap-and-trade plan takes effect in January when Ontario joins an existing carbon market with Quebec and California.


“Sweden’s capital joins cities around the world in withdrawing their funds from coal, oil and gas companies,” a European environmental group said in a press release this week. “The amendment of the city’s investment policy has led to the withdrawal of approximately 30 million SEK from fossil fuel companies.

“ ‘Stockholm’s decision to divest from companies driving the climate crisis demonstrates that it’s no longer morally acceptable to invest in or support business as usual for the fossil fuel industry’, says Andrew Maunder who has campaigned with Fossil Free Stockholm for divestment for over a year.

“Stockholm’s political leaders clearly understand that averting the climate crisis means doing everything in their power to keep any more fossil fuels from being burnt,” the release said.

The website’s “about us” statement says “unless we can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million, we will cause huge and irreversible damage to the earth. But solutions exist. All around the world, a movement is building to take on the climate crisis, to get humanity out of the danger zone and below 350. This movement is massive, it is diverse, and it is visionary. We are activists, scholars, and scientists. We are leaders in our businesses, our churches, our governments, and our schools. We are clean energy advocates, forward-thinking politicians, and fearless revolutionaries. And we are united around the world, driven to make our planet livable for all who come after us.”


Quoting from  “President Obama believes that no challenge poses a greater threat to our children, our planet, and future generations than climate change — and that no other country on Earth is better equipped to lead the world towards a solution.

“That’s why under President Obama’s leadership, the United States has done more to combat climate change than ever before.

“President Obama believes in the need to transition to a cleaner, more reliable and affordable 21st century power grid. Under his leadership, transformations in how we produce and consume electricity are decreasing carbon pollution, scaling up renewable energy, and generating savings on consumers’ energy bills … With this dynamic progress as the backdrop, today the White House is hosting a Summit on Scaling Renewable Energy and Storage with Smart Markets.  The Summit brings together regulators, power companies, municipalities, and energy developers that are leading efforts to promote smart electricity markets and greater grid integration of renewable energy and flexible resources such as energy storage.”


Two of California’s stated goals, listed as Governor Edmund Brown’s Key Climate Change Strategies, are to increase renewable electricity production to 50% and to cause a 50% reduction in petroleum used by vehicles.

For 2010, the California Department of Motor Vehicles had 23,799,513 driver’s licenses and a total of 31,987,821 registered vehicles traveling up and down California’s highways. With 32 million vehicles on California’s highways at any given time, that’s a lot of gasoline demand that’s going to move over to electricity demand, assuming the electric vehicle industry can successfully extend the usable range per vehicle charge to a close match for the number of miles that cars, vans and SUVs powered by internal combustion engines can drive on a tank of gas.

California Climate Plan - Oil & Gas 360

Source: State of California


The IEA put out its Tracking Clean Energy Progress 2016 Report, “which listed EVs among the only three clean energy technologies on track to meet 2025 targets for successful transition to a decarbonised energy system,” the agency said.

Further data from the report: “Electric cars still have just a 0.1% market share worldwide. But they make up more than 1% of the fleet in seven countries, including China, where registrations tripled last year. Norway had the highest share of electric cars, at 23%, followed by the Netherlands, at 10%. The other countries are Sweden, Denmark, France, China and the United Kingdom, while a decline in U.S. electric cars sales pulled the share there down to 0.7%.

“Policy support is the main driver of electric cars’ sales success, Beyond One Million Electric Cars explains. [NOTE: “Beyond One Million Electric Cars” is an IEA report.] Among other incentives, both Norway and the Netherlands reduce registration taxes for EVs and allow them access to lanes barred to other vehicles. Other policy support mechanisms detailed in the Global EV outlook 2016 include fee and toll waivers, both on the road and for parking, and tailpipe emission standards.”

San Francisco

San Francisco will be the first major U.S. city to require new buildings to have solar panels installed on the roof. According to a story by NPR, residential and commercial buildings 10 stories or shorter will be required by the new law to install some form of solar energy — either electricity-generating panels or solar heating units. “It’s a step toward San Francisco’s goal of meeting the city’s electrical demands with 100 percent renewable energy,” the sponsor noted.

The ordinance was passed unanimously by the city’s board of supervisors in April.

A Perfect Marriage

The very large, very well-funded global energy policy organizations like the IEA are totally engulfed in the push to adopt renewable energy to combat climate change. “It is a great honour for the IEA to be asked to take on this prestigious role, given the stature of the CEM and the importance of its initiatives,” IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol, said in a press release announcing a proposal by the 7th Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) that the IEA serve as the home of a new, multilateral CEM Secretariat starting later in 2016.  “The CEM’s position as a global platform to support collaboration and promote the adoption of clean energy policies dovetails perfectly with the IEA’s emergence as a clean energy hub – it represents a perfect marriage.”

Corporate Momentum: Companies Can’t Climb Onboard Fast Enough

Many legacy consumer brands and global firms with international visibility are jumping onto the “all-out for renewables” bandwagon.


Rank      Score        Company                                                                                            Industry

1 87.70% Shire PLC Ireland Health Care
2 83.90% Reckitt Benckiser Group PLC United Kingdom Consumer Staples
3 83.20% BT Group PLC United Kingdom Telecommunication Services
4 82.90% Swisscom AG Switzerland Telecommunication Services
5 82.00% Essilor International SA France Health Care
6 81.90% NIKE Inc United States Consumer Discretionary
7 81.80% Unilever PLC United Kingdom Consumer Staples
8 80.70% Sky PLC United Kingdom Consumer Discretionary
9 79.60% Siemens AG Germany Industrials
10 78.80% Schneider Electric SE France Industrials
11 78.70% Biogen Inc United States Health Care
12 78.60% Enbridge Inc Canada Energy
13 78.40% Ecolab Inc United States Materials
14 77.30% Airbus Group NV France Industrials
15 76.60% Commonwealth Bank of Australia Australia Financials
16 76.40% MetLife Inc United States Financials
17 75.80% Oracle Corp United States Information Technology
18 75.80% Koninklijke Philips NV Netherlands Industrials
19 75.60% Johnson & Johnson United States Health Care
20 74.80% Credit Agricole SA France Financials

Schneider Electric just about broke its own arm patting itself on the back in these press release headlines last week: “Schneider Electric rises to 10th place in the Newsweek Global Green Ranking 2016”

“Company leapfrogs to 10th place from 25th in 2015 – New ranking a testament of company’s vision to produce technologies that ensure Life Is On everywhere, for everyone, at every moment – The ranking progression also acknowledges the commitments taken by the company at COP21”

The slate of global companies who are investing resources to promote green energy and the use of renewables is growing by the day, and they want to make sure their customers and potential customers know they are all about green energy.

Here are some other recent headlines:

“Honeywell Awards 50 Teachers from Around the World Scholarships to Attend Green Boot Camp – Hands-on workshop in San Diego provides middle school educators with tools to teach energy, sustainability and environmental concepts. One teacher who participated in the Green Boot Camp last year said, “From building wind turbines to learning about renewable energy initiatives in our own state, I’ve been able to better educate my students on important topics and concepts, and I’m grateful for Honeywell’s support.”

“Toyota Motor North America Commits to 100% Renewable Energy Contract with MP2 Energy -Five-year electricity supply deal includes 7.75 MW from on-site solar generation”

“Toyota Motor North America just contracted to buy 100 percent renewable energy for Toyota’s new North American headquarters in Plano, Texas. The contract with MP2 Energy for Toyota’s 2.1 million square-foot campus also supports 7.75 megawatts of on-site solar generation at the new headquarters. The company said the renewable energy for Toyota will be sourced from various resources including local Texas wind and offsite solar.”

Last fall, Starbucks, Wal-Mart, Goldman Sachs and Johnson & Johnson were described by CNBC as latecomers when they joined other well-known global companies making a formal pledge to convert 100% to renewable energy. This signaled a strong push for corporate backing of cleaner sources of power, according to a CNBC special report on sustainable energy.

The four “latecomers” joined nine organizations and 36 corporations who have signed a pledge to cut their carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by deriving their electricity consumption solely from renewable energy sources. The company pledge comes from The Climate Group’s global initiative “RE100”.

IKEA, Nestle, Amazon and Siemens are on the RE-100 bandwagon with companies like Johnson & Johnson which aims to be 100 percent renewable by 2050. According to the CNBC report, other companies’ targets “include Goldman Sachs (100% renewable by 2020); Nike (100% by 2025); Procter & Gamble, (30 percent renewable by 2020); Steelcase (which became 100 percent renewable in 2014).

Two Generations of School Kids are Bringing their Green Energy Lessons into the Voting Booth

We’re on the second, possibly third, generation of school children who have been taught from Kindergarten through college that fossil fuels cause problems, and that renewable energy is the solution.  Now these are the adults who vote for policymakers in their local, state and national governments.

As all this inertia causes more states, provinces, and countries to begin to impose stricter limits on amounts of carbon emitted, they will continue to create policies that result in even more widespread demand for renewable energy. If it grows to the point of what today’s policymakers want—the end of fossil fuels—the demand for fossil fuels is going to eventually follow suit and decline. But when?

The switch may come sooner than the industry thinks.

Bloomberg published a story recently under the title Big Oil’s Footprint in Washington Shrinks with Price of Crude. The story addresses how the commodities downturn is shrinking the budgets of the petroleum industry for tasks like lobbying its cause with Washington policy makers. The story looks at the effect this will have on government policies that favor renewables over coal, oil and natural gas.  “[Because oil and gas companies’ ‘economic fortunes are very closely tied to policy around climate change, this is an industry with a tremendous amount at stake’, said Lee Drutman, a senior fellow at the think tank New America who analyzes corporate influence and political spending,” Bloomberg reported.  “The industry ‘is facing a number of almost existential threats’ and is ‘going to be directly affected by public policy choices in the next several years’.”

Large Utilities are Adding Renewable Generation Capacity at a Rapid Clip

Duke Energy, which already operates 34 solar facilities in North Carolina, announced the addition of a new solar plant in June. “With 670 miles of wire and cable and 487,000 solar panels, Duke Energy’s (ticker: DUK) 40-megawatt Elm City Solar Facility is the latest addition to the company’s renewable portfolio to power a clean energy future. … The plant began operations in March and is currently supplying energy to customers. The facility is the newest solar site that Duke Energy owns and operates in North Carolina. Overall, Duke Energy has 35 solar facilities across the state.”

The Elm City Solar Facility in Wilson County has an expected annual output of 82,000 megawatt-hours –roughly what 7,000 residential customers would use in a year, according to a company press release. In total, Duke says its companies have installed about 450 MW of solar energy in the state, enough to power 85,000 average homes at peak production. In a statement Duke said it has invested more than $4 billion in renewable energy since 2007 and plans to invest about $3 billion over the next five years.

Will Wind Replace Natural Gas? - Oil & Gas 360

Source: EIA

At Half the Carbon, Natural Gas is the Logical Replacement for Coal—or Is It?

Power companies are adding combined cycle natural-gas fired power plants in lieu of new coal plants, or coal plant environmental retrofits. For the first time natural gas is outpacing coal for electrical power generated in the U.S. Even more telling, CO2 emissions were the lowest since 1993 because of the switch from coal to gas to make electricity. Burning natural gas emits about half as much carbon dioxide as burning coal.

But, even as fast as new natgas power plants are being built and commissioned, for 2015 the number one source of new generation capacity was not natural gas. It was wind.

The following data is from the EIA:

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory
Note: Data include facilities with a net summer capacity of one megawatt and above.

Wind. Wind installations steadily increased in 2014 and 2015 from less than 1,000 megawatts (MW) added in 2013. Uncertainty surrounding the extensions and modifications of the federal production tax credit (PTC) over the past several years led to large fluctuations in annual wind additions. The record amount of additions in 2012 was followed by a precipitous drop-off in 2013 and a subsequent rebound in 2014 and 2015—a pattern also visible with previous years’ PTC expiration and renewal cycles.

Texas added the most wind capacity (42% of total wind additions), followed by Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa, and North Dakota. All of these states are located in the central part of the country, where wind resources are the strongest. In Texas, new wind power records are continuously being set as the wind fleet continues to grow.

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory
Note: Data include facilities with a net summer capacity of one megawatt and above.

Natural gas. Natural gas additions, mainly combined-cycle plants, were lower in 2015 than in recent years. New Jersey and Texas together made up half of all natural gas additions.

Will Wind Replace Natural Gas? Oil & Gas 360

Source: EIA

In New Jersey, most of the new capacity came from two combined-cycle plants, the Newark Energy Center (685 MW) and the Woodbridge Energy Center (795 MW). Both plants will be supplied by the Transco natural gas pipeline, which recently completed expansions to bring larger volumes of Marcellus natural gas to market areas.

In Texas, the second phase of the combined-cycle Panda Temple Power Station (734 MW) and three combustion turbine plants totaling 716 MW (Ector County Energy CenterMontana Power Station, and Elk Station) came online.

Utility-scale solar. California added more than 1,000 MW each of utility-scale and distributed solar PV capacity, accounting for 42% of overall solar additions in 2015. North Carolina added 720 MW of utility-scale PV, more than double the amount added in the state in the previous year. In Nevada, the 110 MW Crescent Dunes concentrating solar thermal plant with energy storage came online in 2015 along with several solar PV plants totaling 236 MW.

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Electric Power Monthly
Note: All data reported in alternating-current megawatts (MWAC).

Distributed solar PV. Distributed PV saw significant growth in 2015, particularly in the residential sector, where total installed capacity rose much faster over the year than in the industrial or commercial sectors. While still far behind top distributed solar PV states, several states saw notable growth in 2015, including Nevada, where distributed PV capacity more than doubled from 49 MW to 129 MW. Further growth of Nevada’s distributed PV sector, however, is uncertain because Nevada’s Public Utility Commission recently approved several changes to the net-metering tariffs, including phasing in lower net-metering compensation rates and higher monthly fixed charges for distributed PV customers. These changes are an effort to address concerns about grid maintenance costs being shifted disproportionately from customers with solar systems to non-solar customers.

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory
Note: Data include facilities with a net summer capacity of one megawatt and above except for solar, which also includes small-scale distributed solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity. All data reported in alternating-current megawatts (MWAC).

NREL Director Martin Keller put it like this: “I see that in the U.S., we are very blessed discovering all this natural gas. I see that this is a tremendous transition fuel which buys us more time. It’s much cleaner than coal but it of course emits CO2, so in the long run I think we need to find a way to wean ourselves off of fossil fuel. Fifty years out, I don’t think that we would burn natural gas or oil to create electricity.”

U.S. Electricity Sales Expected to Grow Even as Consumers Become More Efficient

U.S. Electricity Sales Expected to Grow Even as Consumers Become More Efficient

Total U.S. electricity sales expected to grow 0.7% annually through 2040

Electricity sales are expected to continue growing in the U.S. through 2040 even as consumers use energy more efficiently, the EIA reported. In 2015, 3.7 trillion kilowatthours (kWh) of electricity was sold, and the administration expects that number to rise 0.7% annually through the end of its Annual Energy Outlook (AEO).

EIA Electricity Sales through 2040

The EIA’s most recent AEO takes the EPA’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) into consideration, and assumes consumers will receive subsidies of 10%-15% between 2020 and 2025 for energy efficient appliances, equipment, and building envelope improvements. The increased focus on efficient power use will keep overall electricity sales down, said the EIA, but they will still grow.

Currently, the residential sector is the largest electricity-consuming sector, with 1.4 trillion kWh sold, making up 38% of total electricity sales in 2015. The EIA anticipates the number of households will increase 0.8% per year, while residential energy intensity, or the average electricity per household, falls 11.3% from 2015 to 2040. Despite the leap in efficiencies, the growing overall number of homes should continue to push total electricity purchases higher.

Electricity sales to commercial consumers are projected to increase at an average annual rate of 0.8% as well. Energy intensity, which is calculated as electricity sales per square foot of floorspace for commercial purchasers, is projected to decline 0.3% annual as total commercial floorspace increases 1.1% per year over that same time period. Federal energy efficiency standards, as well as technological improvements in lighting, refrigeration, space heating, and space cooling, contribute to the decline in electricity intensity.

Sales to industrial users shows a similar trend, with sales projected to increase 1.1% per annum on average from 1.0 trillion kWh in 2015 to 1.2 trillion kWh in 2040. Energy intensity for the industrial sector, which measured as electricity sales per dollar of industrial shipments, are forecast to decline an average of 0.8% per year as the value of industrial shipments grows 1.9%. In addition to more efficient technologies, a shift away in the economy from electricity-intensive industries will contribute to lower energy intensity.

EIA Electricty Energy Intensity

Solar PV systems playing a major role in lower electricity sales growth

Electricity from solar photovoltaic (PV) systems is also expected to increase over the course of the AEO, contributing to slower growth in electricity sales. An extension of federal tax credits for residential and commercial solar PV systems, combined with the expected continuation of declining PV prices, will spur increased adoption of residential and commercial PV through 2040, said the EIA. The agency believes generation from residential PV systems will reach 90 billion kWh, while commercial systems will generate 36 billion kWh by 2040. Residential and commercial electricity sales would be 5.0% and 1.7% higher, respectively, in 2040 without the electricity generated by rooftop PV systems, according to the EIA.

NatGas Will Grab 31% of Electric Generating Capacity Additions in 2016, Second to Solar

NatGas Will Grab 31% of Electric Generating Capacity Additions in 2016, Second to Solar

Electric generating facilities are expected to add more than 26 gigawatts (GW) of utility-scale generating capacity to the power grid this year, according to a report from the EIA. The majority of that increase is expected to come from increased solar generating capacity, with natural gas making up the second-largest portion of the gains to overall electrical capacity.

EIA Electric Generation Gains 2016

Additions from solar are expected to reach 9.5 GW, or 37% of increases, while natural gas is expected to add 8.0 GW, or approximately 31% increases of power over the next year. Combined with wind, the three sources make up 93% of total additions for 2016. The combined additions from renewables will make up about 64% of additions to electric generating capacity next year.

The spike in December is typical, says the EIA. “This happens because of expiration of federal, state, or local tax credits on December 31, or because of how respondents complete the survey. Many projects expected to begin operations sometime in 2016 are conservatively estimated for December completion date.”

The 9.5 GW of solar power additions represent more than the total solar installations for the past three years combined (9.4 GW during 2013-15). The top five states where solar capacity is being added are California (3.9 GW), North Carolina (1.1 GW), Nevada (0.9 GW), Texas (0.7 GW), and Georgia (0.7 GW). The additions do not reflect increased use of rooftop solar units.

Natural gas additions continue to grow, with the 8.0 GW of expected power from natural gas in 2016 is slightly above the 7.8 GW of annual additions made over the last five years. Four states plan to add more than 1 GW of natural gas-fired capacity this year: Pennsylvania (1.6 GW), Virginia (1.4 GW), Florida (1.3 GW), and Texas (1.1 GW).

EIA Utility Scale Electrical Additions Map

Current electric generating fuel use

The chart below shows the overall net electricity generation by fuel type, by region, in December 2015 (source: EIA). The percentage of electricity from renewables such as solar and wind may be growing, but the use of coal and natural gas far outweighs the use of renewables. The Central U.S. was the largest user of renewables in its electricity mix in December; while Florida, the Southeast and the Northeast were the smallest. The Southeast was the largest user of natural gas in December.

EIA Net Eletric Generation

March 1, 2016 - 5:56 pm Closing Bell Story, Oil and Gas 360 Articles
Solar Market Slows Growth but Remains Healthy

Solar Market Slows Growth but Remains Healthy

Renewables continue growth

Renewable sources of energy continue to grow in importance both inside the U.S. and internationally. Solar energy makes up an important portion of the overall renewable energy mix, but the growth in total capacity has slowed along with installation.

Historically, Europe has been a strong source of demand for solar energy, but its growth in solar energy declined this year, according to the Energy Information Administration. China, the world-leader in solar energy installation, also saw demand stall out this year as financial instability took hold inside the country.

Inside the U.S., now the second largest demand market, companies like Tesla (ticker: TSLA) and SolarCity (ticker: SCTY) are making a push for use of solar-powered batteries in the home, but even as companies make the case for greater use of solar energy, growth in capacity has slowed significantly since 2008. Despite the sluggish market growth, analysts indicate that the overall solar market is still quite healthy.

Growth of 16% in 2015 to 46.4 GW, and an additional 14% in 2016 to 52.9 GW: Raymond James

A note released by Raymond James today to coincide with the Solar Power International (SPI), North America’s largest solar trade show, showed that the solar energy market is likely at its healthiest since the global financial crisis, despite solar stocks largely underperforming. The KWT solar index is down approximately 15% year-to-date, with the bulk of the losses coming since the oil price meltdown that began in June, but Raymond James believes there is a disconnect in the market.

Solar photovoltaic (PV) installations in 2014 totaled 40.1 GW, up just 5% from 2013, with weaker-than-expected demand in China being largely responsible for the sluggish growth. Despite the weakness in growth from 2013 to 2014, Raymond James analyst Pavel Molchanov expects global demand to grow 16% in 2015 to 46.4 GW, and then to grow an additional 14% in 2016 to 52.9 GW.

Molchanov expects the bulk of this growth to continue to come out of China, the world’s largest PV market. China missed its growth target of 14 GW last year, installing just 10.6 GW, due to strain on the downstream of China’s domestic PV value chain, especially for distributed PV, says Molchanov. Raymond James projects growth of 15.0 GW in PV for China in 2015, below the government’s goal of 17.8, but still representing nearly a third of total global demand.

While not expected to grow as much as China in absolute terms, the United States – the world’s second largest demand market for PV, surpassing Japan in 2015 – is forecast to grow by 45%, or 9.0 GW, through the end of 2015. “Demand is clearly being ‘pulled in’ ahead of the drop in the federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) from 30% to 10%,” says Molchanov. “The ‘land rush’ will surely be aggressive in 2016, especially in the second half.” Despite the rapid growth it projects, the analyst also notes that solar power still makes up less than 1% of the power market.

RayJ Solar Growth

Other notable markets included in the Raymond James analysis included Europe, which saw a decline in PV installations to 7.0 GW in 2014 – less than a third of 2011 levels – and Africa. Although cumulative PV installations in Africa total under 1.0 GW, or less than China’s monthly installation, Mochanov points out that several GW-scale projects are in the works in Egypt, Nigeria and Zambia, and says the continent offers a “intriguing long-term theme to watch.”

Solar production utilization rates trend lower

Sluggish growth in PV installation has also dragged down the solar manufacturing utilization rates in recent years, according to data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA). Growth in the PV module production capability has slowed significantly in recent years to 4% annually from 2011 to 2013, after increasing at an average of 78% from 2006 to 2011.

The utilization rate of PV module manufacturing facilities peaked in 2011, according to the EIA, when production was 36.6 GW and capability was 52 GW, putting utilization at 70%. Production capability outstripped throughput in the years following 2011, declining to 66% in 2013.

EIA Solar Capacity and Throughput

The market reaction to the lower utilization rates has been to consolidate and downsize PV manufacturing companies. For example, Germany reported to the International Energy Agency (IEA) that there were a total of 11,000 employees working in 40 PV companies operating in the country at the end of 2013, compared with 32,000 employees in 62 companies at the end of 2008. A similar trend was reported in China, where PV module and cell manufactures decreased in number to 100 from 300 in the same time period.

Even as the global PV industry consolidates, the major consumers of solar energy continue to set their sights higher for future installation goals. More than 50 countries have established national solar targets, amounting to more than 350 GW by the year 2020. Reaching that goal would require average annual installments of 40 GW from 2013 to 2020, which the EIA notes is well within the current 60 GW capacity.

EIA Cumulative Solar Capacity

September 14, 2015 - 3:46 pm Oil and Gas 360 Articles
Where You See a Depleted Oil Well, Quidnet Sees Green Energy Storage

Where You See a Depleted Oil Well, Quidnet Sees Green Energy Storage

With Hollywood seed funding, startup is testing abandoned oil and gas wells as grid-scale energy storage solution for wind and solar generation

“Our goal is to get to a cost point that’s potentially lower by a factor of about ten times than the batteries that you read about in the popular media, especially from companies like Tesla,” Aaron Mandell, Quidnet founder

Fossil fuels may consist of the majority of global energy consumption, but every year green energy continues to grow its footprint.


Source: BP

In BP plc’s (ticker: BP) 2015 Statistical Review of World Energy, green energy–renewables–accounted for about 33% of the increase in primary energy use. The form of energy has more than tripled in popularity in the last decade and now accounts for about 3% of energy consumption worldwide.

The Energy Information Administration believes domestic energy demand will grow at an annual rate of 0.3% through the year 2040. Scientists, geologists and inventors worldwide are continuously testing methods to generate new forms of energy to meet the rising demand with sources that are low carbon generating.

Hydropower Innovator Wants to Store Wind and Solar Energy in Depleted and Orphan Oil Wells

One of the minds behind the alternative energy curtain is Aaron Mandell, an entrepreneur who has founded four different organizations focused on hydropower and thermal power.

Mandell’s latest venture is Quidnet – a hydropower-based idea that is now being actively tested on a dry well in the Barnett Shale of Texas. The technology is being tested for Quidnet by Howard Schmidt of Saudi Aramco.

The basic idea is to store wind and solar generated energy in the ground by pumping water under pressure into rock formations where oil and gas are no longer trapped. To re-access the energy, Quidnet will feed the pressurized water from the well into turbines that will re-create the electricity when it is needed.

Early cash infusion from Hollywood

The seed money for the demonstration is mostly in place, courtesy of Boston’s PRIME Coalition which facilitated philanthropic capital infusions from Hollywood icons like Will Smith (The Will and Jada Smith Foundation).

According to a recent article in Inside Philanthropy: “Quidnet’s support from the Will and Jada Smith Foundation and other funders was unveiled recently by the Obama Administration as part of the president’s call to action to encourage more funding of technologies that fight climate change. Initially announced in February, the Clean Energy Investment Initiative plans to gather $4 billion for the funding of tech startups that are on a mission to help the planet with better energy resources.”

Quidnet plans to raise additional capital via private equity in the fall in order to develop its first commercial scale facility.

Aaron Mandell, Co-Founder of Quidnet

Aaron Mandell, Co-Founder of Quidnet

Quidnet founder Aaron Mandell spoke with Oil & Gas 360® about the Quidnet venture in this exclusive interview.

OAG360: Can you explain to our readers how the system works, from start to finish?

MANDELL: Yes, absolutely. You probably gathered that we’re in the business of energy storage, so our focus really is on getting to very large scale, large capacity storage systems that would be appropriate for power plants or large generators of that nature.

Our goal is to get to a cost point that’s potentially lower by a factor of about ten times than the batteries that you read about in the popular media, especially from companies like Tesla. So we’re basically trying to get away from expensive battery chemistry and do storage in a way that’s not really all that new. Hydropower, which is what we’re mimicking, has been around for ages and today represents the largest form of energy storage globally.

What we’re trying to do is create hydropower in a different way and eliminate the geographic restrictions that have prevented it from expanding further, namely the requirements to have two very large water reservoirs where you can pump water back and forth. We’re basically taking all that surface infrastructure and putting it underground initially by starting with abandoned oil and gas wells.

We go into reservoir formations where the oil and gas operations have either exceeded their useful life (meaning depleted the oil and gas resource or there really wasn’t much hydrocarbon there to begin with) and inject water into the well.

Source: EIA

Source: EIA

We’re essentially using the water to compress the rock, which in turn makes the well act like we’re putting weight on a very large spring. And when we open the well, the spring wants to move back in place so it forces the water out of the well and through a turbine, much like you would see at the bottom of a dam. In that way, we’re able to charge the reservoir by taking electricity and using it to pump pressurized water, and we’re able to discharge power in the form of hydro-power by releasing that pressurized water and spinning a hydro turbine.

The attractiveness of this method is that the cost structure for hydropower is very inexpensive because it’s all mature equipment and we’re using oil and gas techniques that are very well known. Oil and gas companies have gotten very good at manipulating reservoirs, controlling permeability, controlling fractures and so what we’re doing is basically using those same techniques but in a very different way.

An analogy I would use is when you fracture a hydrocarbon resource, you end up pumping in a proppant, a sand material that holds the fracture open. This particular storage technology came about because people observed that if you don’t have a proppant, the fracture closes very quickly. We’re just eliminating the use of a proppant by allowing the fracture to actually open and close as it would normally want to do and that’s how we get energy storage.

OAG360: Where is your first test well located, and what was the reasoning behind your decision?

MANDELL: We’re starting in central Texas because we found a resource that we think will work really well and Texas is a good place for energy storage. Broadly speaking, we think this type of storage technology will be pretty widely applicable to anywhere where you have oil and gas production. Therefore, this won’t be limited to just Texas – it will most likely be as widely applicable to all geologic formations associated with oil and gas exploration.

Source: EIA

Source: EIA

OAG360: Do your operations include fracturing the rock?

MANDELL: We do, except we don’t use any of the typical additives that are associated with hydraulic fracturing. Obviously the biggest difference is we’re not mobilizing hydrocarbons because we’re in an environment that’s depleted of oil and gas. Second, we’re not using a proppant or any of the associated chemicals that are required to mobilize and pump the proppant. Really all we’re doing is pumping fresh water into a fracture. We also don’t have any disposal fluid.

So, there’s no produced water because it’s a closed water loop. We’re cycling fresh water in, we’re cycling it out, we produce power and the same water goes back into the reservoir. So there’s no net production of produced water that would need to be disposed of or treated.

OAG360: Can the water remain in the well for an extended period of time or is there a timetable for when it should be replaced?

MANDELL: The formations that we operate in, by definition, have very low permeability. That’s kind of the opposite of what you look for with oil and gas, since high permeability causes hydrocarbons to flow out of the resource.

In our case we want extremely low permeability because we don’t want to lose any of our water. Lost water represents lost energy. We can actually store the water for long periods of time in the reservoir but for energy storage, we’re going to be operating on a pretty daily cycle. We’ll be storing energy during the day, most likely, when wind and solar is producing in excess and then when the sun goes down we’ll be able to discharge it on a daily cycle.

OAG360: How many gallons are required for these wells?

MANDELL: The depth for a typical energy storage well ranges from about 1,500 to 5,000 feet, and will store about 50,000 barrels of water (about 2.1 million gallons).

OAG360: Do you see any pushback from environmental groups?

MANDELL: No, I don’t think we’re going to get a lot of pushback for two reasons. One is, as I said before, we’re not actually consuming water. We’re using it to charge the reservoir, but after that there’s not really any net consumption of water and is therefore a pretty low water requirement. Second of all, we can use non-fresh water resources such as produced water or other impaired water that’s not good for fresh water resources.

OAG360: Can you explain the permitting process?

MANDELL: We had to go through the Texas Railroad Commission to get approval to take over what was classified as an orphan well, so it was abandoned by the original operator. But in terms of the permitting process, it looks a lot more like wind or solar than it does oil and gas because we’re not extracting any minerals from the ground. All we’re looking to do is get surface rights from a landowner and be permitted to do injection of water.

OAG360: Do you believe this business can eventually yield high returns?

MANDELL: We definitely see it turning into an attractive business even though it started out as very experimental. No one had ever used a rock fracture to do energy storage so it definitely started out as a technologically risky project. As a result, it was very hard for us to show investors how it would generate revenue in the very near term because we were more focused on demonstrating the content. But now that we’ve moved past that stage and will be completing our demo project over the next few months we do see a path to building a pretty good business because we can do energy storage at a much lower cost point and we can get a much larger capacity than what you can do today with batteries.

For example, if we have a field of 20 of these storage wells we can get up to 500 megawatt hours of storage which is a very, very large battery and we can do it at much lower cost point. So we do see a big market for this and as more solar and wind comes online there’s going to be a huge need to actually store that energy so that we can smooth out the curve.