Energy Market Intelligence

Michael Constantine

Michael Constantine
Mr. Constantine oversees all aspects of the day-to-day operations of the firm. He is looked upon as the wholesale to retail energy market expert and has participated in the wholesale energy markets for more than 15 years. Mr. Constantine is the former VP, Market Operations and Trading at Constellation Commodities, NewEnergy Division. In this position he led the electricity and gas portfolio management groups in 15 states, Washington D.C. and two Canadian provinces that supplied more than 15,500MW of peak load. While at Constellation, he had management responsibility for all renewable portfolios, the wholesale market technical sales force, wholesale back-office functions, settlements and other roles. He also was a member of Constellation’s Corporate Risk Committee and Corporate Commitments Committee. Most recently, Mr. Constantine was the Managing Director of Portfolio Management at Edison International, where he developed innovative portfolio management strategies, market execution, risk management, and where he was responsible for one of the largest renewable generation portfolios in the US. He was Edison’s Enterprise Portfolio Planning and Asset Valuation Leader. Mr. Constantine began his career in wholesale power trading on the 24-hour real-time trading desk at New Energy Ventures. Previously, he was in the financial services sector with Fidelity Investments and Eaton Vance.
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Recent Posts

#marketupdate

EPA Tackles Power Plants, PJM FERC Proposal, Crypto Mining, and Market Intel

President Biden’s plan to cut greenhouse-gas emissions is already taking shape. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it would revisit changes made in 2020 and strengthen discharge limits for power plants' wastewater as part of this initiative.  With the implementation of these new rules, it is possible that business owners could see their power bills skyrocket and consumers will be even more at risk. Mr. Finkel  added, “If the ambition is to create death by a thousand cuts, to make it more difficult to operate, yes - that’s wildly problematic." The EPA's Regional Haze Program has been a major contributor in the effort to improve air quality which led to closure of several coal-fired power plants that emit large amounts. The new rules are aimed at shielding poor and minority neighborhoods that often get the brunt of power plant pollution, as well cutting greenhouse-gas emissions.  Jonathan Skinner-Thompson, a former EPA lawyer - a current law professor at the University of Colorado stated, “If we make [coal-fired plants] more expensive from other pollutants, rather than spend money to retrofit, it may just be better for them to shut down. Then you get the climate benefits without necessarily having to directly regulate greenhouse gas emissions.”

PJM has submitted a comprehensive proposal to FERC outlining how it will comply with Order 2222. The development of this filing is the product of extensive engagement with stakeholders, who have worked to create an approach that balances both DER aggregators’ needs for access on a level playing field while also ensuring safe and reliable operations within electric distribution systems. 

Key Takeaways: 

  • A new market participation model called the DER Aggregator Participation Model
  •  Pre-registration coordination activities between DER aggregators and distribution utilities
  •  A 60-day review period
  •  Locational requirements that support reliable operations and energy price formation
  •  Enabling of retail and wholesale participation as well as preventing double counting of the same product
  •  Balanced metering and telemetry requirements
  •  A coordination framework to balance market access 

Important Dates:

  • Feb. 2, 2026, for the Tariff, Operating Agreement and Reliability Assurance Agreement revisions
  • July 1, 2023, for a limited subset of revisions

The environmental toll of crypto mining is proving quite hefty.  Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) stated that, “The energy required to validate just one Ethereum transaction could power a U.S. home for more than a week, the energy required for a Bitcoin transaction could power a home for more than 70 days House Energy.” When it comes to the environmental impact of cryptocurrency mining, there are many factors that need consideration. The environmental impact of a single Ethereum transaction adds more than 90 pounds of CO2 to the atmosphere. Bitcoin transactions added more than 1,000 pounds. Together, the two biggest cryptocurrencies are responsible for emitting more than 78 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere which is equal to the annual tailpipe emissions of more than 15.5 million cars. One crypto mining company acquired two shuttered waste coal-fired power plants in Pennsylvania which generated more than 150 megawatts to support its operations. The value of cryptocurrencies has increased exponentially over the last year, which means that mining rewards are now greater than ever before. This increase in profitability is creating more mining facilities entering the market - especially in Texas such as Riot Whinstone, a large mining facility in Rockdale, Texas just an hour northeast of Austin which broke ground and started operating its first gold mine back in January 2020.

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Energy Transfer Threatens Stop Service, Coal Demand Shipping Giant Goes Net Zero, and Market Intel

Luminant Corp., a subsidiary of Vistra Corp., has filed the 149-page document with the Texas Railroad Commission to stop Energy Transfer from halting natural gas service. Luminant claims that Energy Transfer illegally charged them $21.6 million for fuel during the winter storm. Luminants five plants that rely on ET’s pipelines provide 2,000 megawatts of electricity and serve about 400 000 homes in Texas including hospitals & schools."  Graham and Trinidad are served only by Energy Transfer’s pipelines and the three other pipeline companies that have access to Energy Transfer’s pipelines may not be able operate at full capacity if the Energy Transfer stops production. According to the filing, Luminant spent approximately $1.5 billion for natural gas during the February winter storm, twice its planned natural gas cost to fuel its entire Texas fleet for a full year.  They also went on to say that Luminant paid Energy Transfer more than $600 million for natural gas during the winter storm. The utility’s natural gas contract ended in November, and since then the company has been buying natural gas without a contract according to the filing. An Energy Transfer spokesperson said in a statement late Wednesday to WFAA, "We will continue to sell them gas pursuant to the same process, terms and conditions that have been in place since Dec. 1, 2021." Energy Transfer reported last year publicly that it had made $2.4 billion “from the storm for 2021.”

The US is getting ready for an intense year of power plant closures.  According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), US electricity generator operators have scheduled 14.9 gigawatts (GW) of electric generating capacity to retire during 2022 whereas the majority of the scheduled retirements are coal-fired power plants (85%), natural gas (8%) and nuclear (5%). In 2021, there was a 17% increase in coal generation due to the rise in natural gas prices and reduction in production due to the pandemic. Coal demand worldwide is forecast to grow by 6% in 2021. If weather patterns cooperate, coal could reach new all-time highs as soon as 2022 with an estimated increase from last year's levels of 8%. Recently, the month-long ban on Jan. 1 on exports of coal by Indonesia has created a stir in the seaborne market for this fuel, with repercussions likely to be felt beyond its initial shortage. The coal supply crunch is being further exacerbated by the inability of some major exporters, such as Russia and South Africa to boost their shipments.

One of the largest shipping companies, A.P. Moller-Maersk has pledged to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040 instead of 2050 which is a decade earlier than their previous goal!  The company said in December that the new vessel series is set to offer Maersk’s customers “carbon-neutral transportation at scale on ocean trades.” The design of the eight 16,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) container vessels powered by carbon neutral methanol will allow for a 20% improvement in energy efficiency per transported container when compared to industry standards. As a part of its commitment to reduce carbon emissions and create sustainable resources, this year's shipping giant Maersk has partnered with REintegrate in order for them both to produce green fuel that can be used on one of their vessels. The Danish renewable energy company European Energy will establish a new facility where it plans to produce 10,000 tons of carbon-neutral e-methanol. Henriette Hallberg Thygesen, CEO of Fleet & Strategic Brands, A.P. Moller-Maersk said, “Our updated targets and accelerated timelines reflect a very challenging, yet viable pathway to net zero which is driven by advances in technology and solutions. What is needed is a rapid scale-up which we will strive to achieve in close collaboration with customers and suppliers across the entire supply chain.”

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#marketupdate

Texas Price Gouging, Coal Hits Record Levels, MA Commits to Wind Again, and Market Intel

According to the North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC), there is "anecdotal evidence" of natural gas price gouging in Texas during February's winter storm Uri.  NERC Chief Technical Advisor Thomas Coleman's  presentation to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) speculates that consumers may have been cheated by gas producers by producers not delivering on long-term supply contracts, and instead selling gas on the spot market for much higher prices. He goes on to state, "When we look at compressor stations that are electric, it's not a whole lot of critical mass in Texas.  So most of this big drop [in gas production] is a result of freezing and winter conditions and not a loss of power to these facilities." The 300-page analysis also highlights the following: 

    • 81 percent of freeze-related generating unit outages occurred at temperatures above the units’ stated ambient design temperature.

    • 87 percent of unplanned generation outages due to fuel issues were related to natural gas, predominantly related to production and processing issues, while 13 percent involved issues with other fuels such as coal or fuel oil.

    • Natural gas fuel supply issues were caused by natural gas production declines, with 43.3 percent of natural gas production declines caused by freezing temperatures and weather, and 21.5 percent caused by midstream, wellhead or gathering facility power losses, which could be attributed either to rolling blackouts or weather-related outages such as downed power lines.

According to the IEA’s Coal 2021 report, after falling in 2019 and 2020, global power generation from coal is expected to jump by 9% in 2021 to an all-time high of 10,350 terawatt-hours. The COP 26 climate summit in Glasgow last month weakened efforts to end coal power from countries like China, who also encountered power shortages and blackouts in Beijing. Dave Jones of Ember, a climate and energy think-tank states, “China has committed to phasing down coal from 2025, while India’s huge renewables target should remove the need for more coal. It will take time for the ship to turn, but time is not on our side to keep 1.5 degrees within reach.” IEA executive director Fatih Birol  states, “Coal is the single largest source of global carbon emissions, and this year’s historically high level of coal power generation is a worrying sign of how far off track the world is in its efforts to put emissions into decline towards net zero.” The economic recovery from the pandemic , rise in natural gas prices and the increase in demand for electricity in countries like India and China has lead to the upward demand for coal.

 

Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration agreed to purchase an additional 1,600 megawatts as part of its third round of bidding for offshore wind power. Once the two projects already under development, the offshore wind will generate roughly 25 percent of Massachusetts and the total to be procured by the state from wind energy to 3,200 megawatts, or enough to power 1.6 million homes. The governor’s office said it will buy 1,200 megawatts of power from Vineyard Wind and the 400 megawatts from Mayflower Wind. Officials with parent company Avangrid said, "Vineyard Wind's 1,200 MW Commonwealth Wind project will create 11,000 full time equivalent jobs over the project's lifetime and generate enough energy to power 750,000 homes annually." Mayflower Wind said its 400 MW proposal is accompanied by an economic development package that includes "commitments to spend up to $42.3 million, including $27 million over 10 years to the SouthCoast Community Foundation." According to Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides, "These projects will double the size of our current offshore wind procurements, they will deliver significant economic benefits to a number of coastal communities across the commonwealth, they include important provisions for diversity, equity and inclusion as well as benefits to environmental justice communities, and they invest significantly in the state while balancing protections with environmental resources including fisheries," According to Clean Power, the United States have established nearly 40,000 MW of offshore wind procurement targets to date.

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The Last Power Plant in CA, Louisiana Possible Exit from MISO, PJM Release Study, and Market Intel

The Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology states that keeping the last remaining nuclear power plant in California open can help the state achieve its climate goals and save money, according to a 114-page assessment.  The report analyzed various scenarios and concluded that keeping Diablo Canyon running would “significantly reduce California’s use of natural gas for electricity” and save $2.6 billion in costs to the state’s power system from 2025 to 2035. The 2,240 megawatts of electricity generated by the plant can also help grid operators avoid blackouts, such as the statewide outages experienced in August 2020. However, the operator of the Diablo Canyon Power Plant, Pacific Gas & Electric still plans on closing the facility in three years. Senior manager of communications Suzanne Hosn said in a statement, “PG&E is committed to California’s clean energy future, and as a regulated utility, we are required to follow the energy policies of the state." The plant has been producing power since the mid 1980s and is the last remaining power plant in California. 

PSC Commissioner Eric Skrmetta, R-Metairie, recommended Entergy Louisiana and Cleco Power begin the process of withdrawing from MISO last month. Skrmetta’s comments launched widespread efforts by environmentalists and renewable energy advocates to stop that termination. He also added, “They’ve gotten free windmill assets. Now they want the ratepayers to pay for the transmission for these stranded wind assets that are going to cost $130 billion to bring into the marketplace.” Craig Greene, the PUC chair of R-Baton Rouge announced the five elected commissioners would put off the vote, adding that only one regulator seemed to support the idea of leaving the Midcontinent Independent System Operator. MISO (Midcontinent Independent System Operator) is an independent, not-for-profit, member-based organization responsible for operating the power grid across 15 U.S. states and the Canadian province of Manitoba serves over 42 million people. MISO recommends 335 projects estimated at $3 billion for upgrading infrastructure and closing generating plants. Louisiana argues that the improvements would benefit the state. 

According to the Renewable Energy Transition Study, PJM synthesized the diverse set of state policies within its footprint into three scenarios in which an increasing amount of energy is served by renewable generation on an annual basis (10%, 22% and 50%), up to 70% carbon-free generation when combined with nuclear generation. Currently, renewables represent approximately 6% of the annual energy, a total of over 40% carbon-free when combined with nuclear’s contribution to the energy mix in 2020. The study suggests five key focus areas for PJM stakeholders - complete list can be found here

  • Correctly calculating the capacity contribution of generators is essential.
  • Flexibility becomes increasingly important with growing uncertainty.
  • Thermal generators provide essential reliability services today and an adequate supply will be needed until a substitute is deployed at scale.
  • Regional markets facilitate a reliable and cost-effective energy transition.
  • Reliability standards must evolve.
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#marketupdate

New England Solar Farm Online, Coal Plant Shutdowns, FERC Issues Texas Freeze Report, and Market Intel

The largest New England Solar farm located in Farmington, Maine is now online. NextEra financed $110 million to develop the 76.5-megawatt solar farm.  The 300,000-panel solar farm which is expected to last 25 - 40 years is on 500 acres of leased land on Route 2 in the town of Farmington.  The New England College Renewable Partnership (NECRP) which includes five small New England liberal arts colleges, Smith, Amherst, Williams, Hampshire and Bowdoin are buying power, which is the equivalent of powering around 17,000 homes.  According to NECRP, this agreement is the first ever example of a collaborative purchase of solar energy in New England Higher Education, and one of the first such collaborations in the United States.  NECRP also said that the purchase of power from Farmington moves each of the five campuses closer to their climate-action goals, helps each school manage costs by “locking in” the price of electricity for the next 20 years. The project will net the town about $20 million in taxes during the course of the 30-year agreement.  Farmington Solar LLC is a subsidiary of NextEra.

Contrary to popular belief, climate change is not what's driving some U.S. coal-fired power plants to shut down. According to state regulatory filings, dozens of plants nationwide plan to stop burning coal this decade to comply with more stringent federal wastewater guidelines as the industry continues moving away from the planet-warming fossil fuel to make electricity. The Associated Press states that two of Pennsylvania’s largest coal-fired power plants, Keystone and Conemaugh outside Pittsburgh will stop using coal and retire all of their generating units by Dec. 31, 2028. The Environmental Protection Agency wastewater rule requires power plants to clean coal ash and toxic heavy metals such as mercury, arsenic and selenium from plant wastewater before it is dumped into streams and rivers. The rule is expected to affect 75 coal-fired power plants nationwide and at least 26 plants in 14 states said they will stop burning coal. The EPA estimates the rule will reduce the discharge of pollutants into the nation’s waterways by about 386 million pounds annually. states with power plants that plan to stop using coal by 2028 are Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia, the Sierra Club data shows.

Winter Storm Uri caused 4.5 million people in Texas to lose power and failures across the region in February 2021.  The Final Report includes 28 formal recommendations that seek to prevent a recurrence of the failures experienced during the February 2021 cold weather event. These recommendations include important revisions to the NERC Reliability Standards surrounding generator winterization and gas-electric coordination. Full report can be found here

  • 81 percent of freeze-related generating unit outages occurred at temperatures above the units’ stated ambient design temperature.
  • 87 percent of unplanned generation outages due to fuel issues were related to natural gas, predominantly related to production and processing issues, while 13 percent involved issues with other fuels such as coal or fuel oil.
  • Natural gas fuel supply issues were caused by natural gas production declines, with 43.3 percent of natural gas production declines caused by freezing temperatures and weather, and 21.5 percent caused by midstream, wellhead or gathering facility power losses, which could be attributed either to rolling blackouts or weather-related outages such as downed power lines.

NERC President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Robb said. “The FERC-NERC-Regional Entity Staff Report also highlights the need for substantially better coordination between the natural gas system and the electric system to ensure a reliable supply that nearly 400 million people across North America depend upon to support their way of life.”  

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Natural Gas Prices Increase, Exelon Reverses Power Plant Shut Down, PJM Winter Preparation, and Market Intel

U.S. Henry Hub gas prices closed last Friday $3/MMBtu higher compared to a year ago. The higher natural gas prices can be attributed to several factors such as  exporters sending gas to Europe and Asia and fracking holding off on new drilling.  According to the EIA, the average U.S. household that relies on natural gas for heating will pay 30% more for the fuel this year. Eversource Energy stated that average natural-gas customers in Connecticut can expect to see their bills increase by about 14% this month and an increase by as much as 21% in Massachusetts. James Daly, Eversource’s vice president of energy supply, said “Demand for natural gas and power is increasing substantially over where it was a year ago. We’re seeing a bit of upward pressure on natural gas prices here to respond to the very high demand and the prices in Europe.”  LNG export facilities have been at near maximum capacity with exports hitting a record 19.2 billion cubic feet a day in March, which is about 71% during the pandemic and up about 17% from the pre-pandemic peak. The largest U.S. LNG exporter, Cheniere Energy Inc. set a record for shipments in the third quarter, with 141 LNG cargoes between its two Gulf Coast facilities. However, the biggest natural-gas producers have vowed to keep investments in production growth low such as  EQT Corp. , Chesapeake Energy Corp. , Antero Resources Corp. Antero Chief Executive Paul Rady said, “We’re staying away from growing."

Byron and Dresden nuclear plants which supplied 20% of Illinois’s in-state electricity generation last year will continue operating rather than retire this fall as previously planned. Exelon operates six nuclear power plants including Byron and Dresden. Illinois has more nuclear generating capacity than any other state and nuclear power plants accounts for 58% of Illinois’s in-state electricity generation in 2020. Illinois Senate Bill 2408 (S.B. 2408), signed into law on September 15, 2021 targets the state's goal to 50% clean energy by 2040 and 100% clean energy by 2050.  The law also states that the  remaining fossil-fueled generation plants will reduce carbon emissions in stages starting in 2030 and to be completed by 2045. The EIA states that in 2020, 18% of in-state generation in Illinois came from coal; natural gas-fired plants generated another 14%.

PJM expects to have over 185,000 MW of resources to meet the forecasted peak demand of approximately 133,000 MW. PJM’s all-time winter peak is 143,295 MW, set on Feb. 20, 2015.  PJM President and CEO Manu Asthana said, “Keeping the power flowing under anticipated winter conditions is the core mission for PJM and our member companies. We understand the critical importance that electricity plays in the daily lives of the 65 million people we serve.” PJM performs annually, winter readiness assessments such as data collection on: fuel inventory, supply and delivery characteristics; emissions limitations; and minimum operating temperatures. PJM initiated an analysis that resulted in numerous additional improvements to its winter preparedness, taking in consideration the 2021 February freeze in Texas and the efforts are as follows:

  • Incorporating critical-load business rules and expectations into emergency operations procedures to assist transmission owners in identifying and prioritizing electric service for critical facilities in emergencies
  • Collecting more information from suppliers about any fuel, environmental or weather-related limitations that could impact winter operations, while also including wind and solar generators in these requests
  • Further enhancing information-sharing with the natural gas industry
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Power Plants Switch to Oil, GM Partners with PJM, Natural Gas Bill Increase and Market Intel

The EIA anticipates in 2022 that crude will exceed pre-pandemic levels at 99.6 million barrels a day. The International Energy Agency increased its global oil-demand forecasts for this year and the next by 170,000 and 210,000 barrels a day. They also reported that,  “An acute shortage of natural gas, [liquefied natural gas] and coal supplies stemming from the gathering global economic recovery has sparked a precipitous run-up in prices for energy supplies and is triggering a massive switch to oil products and direct crude use for power generation,” as well as  adding that power-generation plants, fertilizer producers, manufacturing operations and refineries are all affected. Bjarne Schieldrop, chief commodities analyst at SEB Markets states, “We have never had a situation like  where oil is extremely cheap [versus gas] so we just don’t have empirical evidence” for how much oil demand may increase. Additional factors such as weak natural-gas inventories for the time of year and low wind levels in Europe have coincided with the post-pandemic economic recovery, coal shortages in China and the possibility of a cold Northern Hemisphere winter to send fossil-fuel prices soaring. IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said extreme weather events such as Hurricane Ida in the Gulf of Mexico, droughts stymieing hydroelectric power in China and Brazil, and widespread flooding have also contributed to the energy crunch. Birol also added that supply choke points, including pandemic-delayed maintenance work, meant that natural-gas outages are currently 40% higher than average.

General Motors Co. (GM), in partnership with PJM member TimberRock, announced plans last week to utilize the PJM marginal emission rates data to help GM reach 100% renewable energy to power its operations by 2025 – five-years earlier than previously announced. GM Chief Sustainability Officer Kristen Siemen said, “We know climate action is a priority and every company must push itself to decarbonize further and faster. That’s what we are doing by aiming to achieve 100 percent renewable energy five years earlier in the U.S. as we continue to advance on our commitment to lead an all-electric, carbon-neutral future.” The marginal emission rate data stream is publicly available on PJM’s Data Miner tool. The development of this data source was the work of PJM alone, not under any special relationship with GM or TimberRock.

The EIA forecasted that U.S. households will use 30% more natural gas for space heating and will spend an average of $746 on heating this winter (October–March), which is $172, or more than last year. Residential spending on winter natural gas bills is largely determined by the retail price of natural gas and the amount of natural gas consumed. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019, Natural gas is the primary heating fuel for 48% of U.S. homes. Retail price of natural gas and the amount of natural gas determines residential spending on winter natural gas bills. Higher prices this winter can be attributed to the increase in natural gas prices over the past year, utilities having to raise prices for consumers due to the winter storm in February 2021 which affected most of the country, but particularly Texas and the Midwest. The cold snap forced many utilities to purchase natural gas at spot prices that were higher than anticipated. Utilities were not able to collect enough to cover the cost of the natural gas since retail rates were already set for the respective months which caused a chain of events where many utilities raised prices in subsequent months to make up for the under collection.

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Natural Gas Prices Surge, PJM NJ Offshore Wind, Bitcoin Mining and Market Intel

The price of U.S. natural-gas futures have been going up when it is supposed to be offseason for demand. Energy has been the best performing sector in the S&P 500 stock index in September. According to Baker Hughes Co, we saw $5 prices in 2014, but there were more than three times as many rigs drilling gas wells as the 100 operating now. There are several reasons for the high prices, such as February’s freeze in Texas, hottest on record and drought out West dried up hydropower production in  June and July, which lead to higher demand for power for air conditioners. Hurricane Ida forced the majority of the  Gulf of Mexico’s gas output offline and more than a third of the Gulf’s gas production remained shut, according to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. Europe also suffered high prices due to hot weather, lackluster wind-power generation and lower imports from Russia. According to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. analyst Samantha Dart, Europe's high prices will force U.S. prices to climb to $17 with no corresponding rise overseas before it becomes uneconomic to ship liquefied shale gas across the Atlantic. Christopher Louney, an analyst with RBC Capital Markets said, challenges in forecasting how high prices could rise lies in the unprecedented ties between the once isolated U.S. market and international prices and higher overseas prices are lifting those in the US.

PJM has received 80 proposals that address onshore and offshore needs that would facilitate New Jersey’s goal of delivering 7,500 MW of offshore wind generation by 2035. PJM’s Regional Transmission Expansion Plan (RTEP) projects are driven by reliability or market-efficiency criteria. The proposals fall into four categories:

  • Option 1a: onshore upgrades on existing facilities (45 proposals)
  • Option 1b: onshore new transmission connection facilities (22 proposals)
  • Option 2: offshore new transmission connection facilities (26 proposals)
  • Option 3: offshore network (eight proposals)

“These are just the combinations as supplied by the entities,” Berner said. There may be an opportunity as well for PJM, in concert with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU), to look at various proposals and determine that some of them might be paired up differently.” According to a guidance document issued by the NJBPU, it is targeting the second half of 2022 for that decision.

According to recent data from the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index, the United States is now home to over 35% of the world's Bitcoin mining. Countries like China have cracked down Bitcoin mining due to their already large carbon footprint, which used to be the larges bitcoin miner in the world. States like New York, Kentucky, Georgia and Texas are popular for Bitcoin mining.  The growth of Bitcoin mining has companies such as Marathon Digital to purchase a struggling coal-fired power plant. Consumers are worried about blackouts due to the mining in their state, especially with droughts causing more fuel shortages, crisis in Texas and Europe driving prices and supply, but the Bitcoin miners states that it is unlikely. However, reopening coal fired plants is concerning for states with aggressive clean energy initiatives such as New York, which reportedly hosts the highest percentage of Bitcoin miners. 

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BP Full Force to Clean Energy, FERC Conference, PJM Marginal Emission Rates and Market Intel

BP earned in 2019, $650 million in profits and is selling a third of their majority stake to liquify fossil fuel and focus on renewable energy investments. Oil companies have been getting pressure from regulators to invest in cleaner energy and BP Chief Executive Bernard Looney stated that they can "make clean-energy transition much faster than its peers." To decrease BP output by 40% or 1 million barrels per day and increase electricity from renewable sources to 50 gigawatts, they will sell 13% of the company's assets. BP owns 50% of the firm Lightsource in December 2017 for $200 million, which operates solar farms in 15 countries. They also purchased 50% of Norwegian energy giant Equinor (EQNR.OL) in two projects off the U.S. East Coast for about $1 billion. 

PJM participated in Federal Energy Regulatory Commission technical conference, “Energy and Ancillary Service in the Evolving Electricity Sector,” on September 14th. According to Adam Keech, Vice President – Market Design & Economics, “There are no issues more fundamental to good market design than the ones we are talking about today, that we get the incentives in the real-time time frame correct, and we articulate the products clearly." Renewable resources account for nearly all resources that have applied to connect to the grid via PJM’s interconnection queue. PJM anticipates the power system shifting from one that has historically been predictable and controllable to one that is less so in the future. This rise in uncertainty must be met with flexibility to manage the grid reliably and cost-effectively,” Keech said in testimony submitted to FERC (PDF).

PJM added Marginal Emission Rates to the public information available on its Data Miner tool on September 9th. The emission rates data will correspond with the marginal unit or units representing the locational marginal price of energy according to the the Marginal Emission Rates Primer on the Data Miner page. “It’s important to understand that marginal units do not provide a prediction of what would happen. They only show what has just happened,” according to the primer notes. PJM stakeholders have identified potential uses for Marginal Emission Rates to determine the times each day when electricity use can have the least impact on the environment by drawing on lower-emitting resources.

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US Wind Project Secures $2.3B, Community Solar Launch in NY, Gas Prices Hit Seven Year High and Market Intel

Vineyard Wind project secures $2.3B from nine international and US based banks. The project is one of the largest clean energy investments in the US and the first US commercial scale offshore wind project. The Vineyard wind project will begin in 2022, 15 miles off the coast of Barnstable, Massachusetts.  It is expected to power 400,000 homes and businesses and reduce carbon emissions by about 1.6 million tons per year. Vineyard Wind CEO Lars T. Pedersen said  “Achieving financial close is the most important of all milestones because today we finally move from talking about offshore wind to delivering offshore wind at scale in the US.”

New York State’s largest municipality, Rochester is expected to launch in early 2022, a community choice aggregation (CCA) program for their 57,000 residents. Customers are automatically enrolled in the program without having to install solar panels or sign a contract. Customers will have the option to opt out at any time without penalty. Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren said “We look forward to adding the community solar program early next year, which will offer guaranteed savings for the community, including many of our more than 23,000 Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) households.” The CCA program aligns with New York’s commitment to clean energy of 70% by 2030 and allows customers to select their own power source.

The U.S. could see higher than usual heating bills this fall and winter due to a seven-year high natural gas futures and decrease in supplies. The EIA released on Wednesday Sept. 8 showing a 16% increase from August's projection in Henry Hub Spot price of $4 per million British thermal units in the fourth quarter. Natural gas is the US primary source of energy, which is approximately 34% of all energy consumption according to the EIA in 2020. The increase in prices can be attributed to Hurricane Ida damaging 90% of natural gas output. The U.S. Department of the Interior states that more than 30% of oil production and 40% of gas production are still offline weeks after Ida made landfall. EIA Acting Administrator Steve Nalley added , “Hurricane Ida affected natural gas production at a time when the United States was already experiencing higher natural gas prices due to growth in exports, strong domestic natural gas consumption, and relatively flat natural gas production." Reuters reported more than 17 million barrels of oil have been lost to the market due to Hurricane Ida, and overall U.S. production could drop by as much as 30 million barrels this year. The economy under the Biden administration has slowed down drilling due to anti drilling compared to the Trump administration where natural gas production grew by 10.0 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2018, an 11% increase from 2017. 

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