Energy News

December 15th, 2014

Executive Market Summary

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Although the storage withdrawal this week was larger than expected, it was still well below historical averages. The 51 Bcf withdrawal was 21 Bcf lower than the five year average withdrawal of 72 Bcf and 41 Bcf lower than last year’s withdrawal of 92 Bcf.

According to Centerpoint, expectations for next week’s withdrawal are currently around 60 Bcf which is smaller than the 256 Bcf (record) withdrawal last year and the 157 Bcf five year average.

The National Weather Service forecast shows greater than a 50% chance of above normal temperatures throughout the US and NOAA’s 8-14 day temperature forecast shows above normal temperatures across the entire nation.

Overall, prices have remained generally flat at most locations.

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December 7th, 2014

Executive Market Summary

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The November cold snap led to larger than average withdrawals from storage inventories. Natural gas storage fell a total of 161 Bcf the first four weeks of November – the largest withdrawal for that period in more than 10 years. This was largely driven by the 162 Bcf withdrawal for the week ending November 21.

Change in Working Gas Inventories

Regardless of the November withdrawals, mild weather continues to outweigh most of the bullish factors. WSI, Platts and NOAA are all forecasting above average temperatures through mid-December across the entire country.

The warmer weather helped bring in a smaller than expected net withdrawal. The net withdrawal for the week ending November 28 was 22 Bcf – 28 Bcf lower than the five year average and 119 Bcf lower than last year’s withdrawal.

Production continues setting records. According to the EIA, production was more than 71 Bcf/day for all days in the report week and 2% higher compared to the previous week.

 

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November 26th, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving from RPM!

November 24th, 2014

RPM’s 1st Annual Thanksgiving Potluck

Rapid Power Management celebrated the holiday with a Thanksgiving potluck.

A few of RPM’s Menu Items

 

Our staff enjoyed homemade Mexican-themed dishes featuring two of our local clients, Renfro Foods and Rico’s Products.

From Left to Right: Jared Patterson, Senior Energy Manager; Katie Casse, Marketing and Sales Support; JD Dodson, President and CEO

 

Renfro Foods manufactures and distributes packaged spices and pepper sauces throughout the United States. RPM president, JD Dodson, particularly enjoyed Mrs. Renfro’s Ghost Pepper Salsa which was debuted at the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York in 2010.

Rico’s Products was the first to launch ‘nachos’ at Arlington Stadium in 1976. Their fried tortilla chips served with cheese sauce and jalapeno peppers is now the standard bearer for ball park nachos. Our team enjoyed the chips as an integral part of our Mexican-themed Thanksgiving feast!

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November 24th, 2014

Executive Market Summary

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The southern US saw warmer temperatures that lasted through much of the weekend but the northeast is expected to experience colder than average weather through this week. Predictions vary on the length of time the cooler weather will linger and gas futures have jumped to a nearly five month high on concerns that another brutal winter could strain our natural gas supplies. According to Teri Viswanath, a gas strategist at BNP Paribas, this is the most volatile start of the season we have experienced (WSJ).

The first withdrawal of the season occurred on Thursday. The number came in at -17 Bcf, about 5 Bcf more than expectations of a -12 Bcf withdrawal.  Forecasts predict anywhere from a 147 Bcf to 160 Bcf draw for this report week. It could be a record storage withdrawal for the third week of November. Please see below for the largest November withdrawals:

largest Nov Withdrawals

Consumption outpaced supply again this past report week and consumption in the northeast reached its third highest recorded November level on Wednesday. According to the EIA, mid-November demand for natural gas in the Northeast normally ranges from 15 to 17 Bcf/day. Since November 13, when the cold spell began, demand has remained above 18 Bcf/day.

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November 17th, 2014

Executive Market Summary

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The cold temperatures we saw last week are expected to continue which will likely result in more natural gas consumption. The cold weather over the eastern three-fourths of the country is expected to linger through the majority of this week but normal temperatures are expected to take hold from the plains down to Texas around the middle of the week.

According to Bentek Energy, residential and commercial consumption hit 36.3 Bcf last Wednesday and then 42.1 Bcf on Thursday. For the first time since mid-April consumption outpaced supply. See chart below:

Resi Comm Consumption

In the latest revision of the EIA’s Short Term Energy Outlook, natural gas production numbers for 2014 are set to outpace what was produced in 2013 and then again in 2015.

The natural gas injection came in at 40 Bcf, above expectations of 38 Bcf, the five-year average of 16 Bcf and last year’s 22 Bcf injection. Forecasts estimate this will be the last injection of the year/season. If this rings true, we will begin depleting the 3,611 Bcf we have in storage. Storage still sits below the one and five year average by more than 200 Bcf.

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November 10th, 2014

Q4 2014: ARLINGTON ISD POWER FACTOR CASE STUDY

Arlington ISD Eliminates Nearly $175,000 in Annual Energy Related Costs

Arlington ISD recently teamed with Rapid Power Management to implement a system-wide power factor correction project. By correcting the power factor at virtually all of their schools in the district, Arlington ISD is saving taxpayers $175,000 a year. The project began in April 2014 and is expected to be complete in early 2015.

Bebensee Elementary School, Arlington, Texas:Bebensee Elem School 2

(Left) is an example of an outdoor wall-mounted low-voltage unit with a remote mounted disconnect. Both the capacitor and the disconnect are NEMA 3R enclosures designed for operations in North-Texas weather and heat. The Automatic 150 kVAR 480V unit connects to the school’s main switchgear panel behind the wall on the bus bar. A Current Transformer (see the ½” conduit) is used by the system controller to measure system values and bring on capacitor stages based on load requirements. The CT is installed in the main around a single phase of conductor wire.

 

 

 

Remynse Elementary School, Grand Prairie, Texas:Remynse Elem School

(Right) is a 175 kVAR, 480V, automatic, indoor, floor mounted unit.

In this application there was space available inside the mechanical room of the school for us to mount the capacitor unit in the middle of an open area. The capacitor is mounted and bolts directly to the floor, and cabling is routed via ceiling suspension and conduit.

 

 

 

 

Wood Elementary, Arlington, Texas:

(Left) is a 125 kVAR, 480 V, Wood Elementaryindoor, floor mounted unit.

This is an example of an indoor application that required a remote disconnect, where wall space was at a premium and options were limited. The simple solution was mount the capacitor in the middle of the room, but RPM still had to mount the remote disconnect near enough to the switchgear and capacitor. The solution was to mount the capacitor bank and it’s disconnect, back to back. To further reduce cost and installation time, the two share the same assembly of unistrut.

 

 

 

Upgrade from Fluorescent to LED!

Installing an LED lamp, Source: Philips

Philips has developed the world’s first LED replacement bulb compatible with high frequency fixtures and drivers in linear fluorescent tube lighting. With this application, there are no wires or drivers to replace. In just a few minutes, replace your outdated fluorescent bulbs with LED lighting.

Savings and return on investment are significant! Moving from a typical 2L T-8 fluorescent fixture with 32 Watt lamps, can cut usage by as much as 60%. Also, with a rated life around 50,000 hours, the fixtures maintenance costs are $0. In a typical office, the fixture would last 15 to 20 years.

Please note: Philips LED T8 lamps will only operate properly on compatible instant-start ballasts.

 

Construction Begins on World’s largest Floating Power Plant

Floating Solar

Floating Solar Plant, Source: hortibiz.com

Kyocera Corporation, Century Tokyo Leasing and Ciel et Terre recently announced construction on the world’s largest floating solar installation. The 2-piece project, which began construction in September, will total 2.9 megawatts (MW). The 1.7 MW planned at Nishihira Pond will become the world’s largest solar power generating system installed on water. The other 1.2 MW will be located at Higashihira Pond.

Solar power is gaining popularity in Japan and due to increasing difficulty in securing land, floating solar power plants will help utilize all possible options.

Features and Added Benefits of Floating Solar Power Plants:

  1. Floating solar power plants generate more electricity than ground or rooftop systems thanks to the cooling effect of the water.
  2. The reservoirs in which the panels are installed experience less evaporation and algae growth due to the shading of the water.
  3. Ciel et Terre’s platforms are 100% recyclable and can withstand UV rays and corrosion.
  4. The design and technology used are to ensure durability against typhoons.

(Source: Kyocera)

 

2014 Nobel Prize for Physics Awarded to Creators of Blue LEDs

A Blue LED, Source: adafruit.com

Isamy Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura were named the winners of the 2014 Nobel Prize for physics for their creation of blue LEDs. They first created blue LEDs in the early 90’s and their invention has led to a new generation of LED-based computer and TV screens.

Red and green LEDs had been around for many years while blue LEDs remained a challenge for scientists to create. Without them, the colors could not be mixed to produce the white light we see inside smart phones, TV’s and even LED lamps in offices and homes.

The president of the Institute of Physics, Dr. Frances Saunders, said “20% of the world’s electricity is used for lighting, it’s been calculated that the optimal use of LED lighting could reduce this to 4%.”

According to an article in Energy Manager Today, The LED lighting market is poised for strong growth in the next five to 10 years as energy-hungry technologies being systematically banned across the world. The research by Akasaki, Amano and Nakamura have made this possible.

 

Fortune 100 Companies Invest in Solar Power

According to the 3rd annual Solar Means Business reports, released by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), many of America’s leading companies continue to ramp up their use of clean, solar energy.

Combined, the companies have 569 megawatts (MW) of solar capacity – a 28% increase from last year and a 103% increase since 2012.

Walmart leads the pack for the third year in a row with 105 MW installed across 254 locations. Some other companies that made the list include   Kohl’s, Costco, Apple, IKEA, Macy’s, Johnson & Johnson, Target, McGraw Hill, Staples, Campbell’s Soup, U.S. Foods, Bed Bath & Beyond, Kaiser Permanente, Volkswagen, Walgreens, Safeway, FedEx, Intel, L’Oreal, General Motors, Toys “R” Us, Verizon, White Rose Foods, Toyota and AT&T.

Source: Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).

 

GDP Update: 

Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased 3.5% in the third quarter of 2014 according to an advanced estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. GDP increased 4.6 percent in the second quarter.

The increase in GDP for the second quarter is due mainly to personal consumption expenditures, exports, nonresidential fixed investment, federal government spending and more. Imports (a subtraction of GDP) decreased.

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November 10th, 2014

Executive Market Summary

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Short Term
Winter weather finally creeps in. This weekend the northeast experienced Winter Storm Warnings and Winter Weather Advisories.  New York and New England even received some snow. According to the EIA and CenterPoint, last week residential and commercial natural gas consumption rose to 30.5 Bcf and electricity consumption rose 0.5% to 69,114 GWh. The market responded to the introduction of cooler weather last week. Shell reports that natural gas futures spiked nearly 20%, an early November figure we have not seen since 2002.
The net injection last Thursday came in at 91 Bcf with expectations of 87 Bcf. This injection was 49 Bcf larger than the five year injection average and 56 Bcf larger than this week last year. 
Injection season wrapped up at the end of October. Thursday’s injection brought the total to a record 2,749 Bcf added for 2014 (April 1 – October 31). Inventories began at 826 Bcf, the lowest total inventory since April 2003, but concluded with 28 straight weeks of injections exceeding the 5-year-average according to the EIA. Despite last winter’s strain on natural gas inventories, record high production, a mild summer and early fall temperatures attributed to reduced volume of gas used for electricity generation.
These injections may not stop, either. For the past eleven years, injections have continued into November. In two of those eleven years, storage levels were greater at the end of November than at the end of October. If injections continue, we could see a similar trend this month.
Long Term
The EIA released an analysis over the effect of increased levels of early LNG exports on the US energy market. In it, the EIA predicts that expenditures for natural gas and electricity will increase modestly. On average, natural gas bills are estimated to increase between 1%  to 8% (depending on the export scenario and case) and electricity bills could increase up to 3% (again, depending on the scenario and case). To read the entire EIA analysis, please click here.
Multiple pipeline expansion projects are underway to increase takeaway from the Marcellus Shale. One pipeline began operation and another is expected to come online this month. Columbia’s West Side Project began partial service and will transport 0.4 Bcf/d from western PA and WV to the Gulf. The TEAM 2014 project is expected to be fully operational this month linking gas from western Pennsylvania and West Virginia with the northeast, midwest, and south.
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November 3rd, 2014

Executive Market Summary

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Halloween weekend was a cool one for most of the eastern and central regions of the US. Temperatures are expected to warm back up across the nation come Tuesday. According to CenterPoint Energy, above normal temperatures are expected to continue across the northeast through November.

One week remains in injection season although injections have continued into November for the past 11 years. In order to reach the EIA’s end-of-storage season estimate of 3,532 Bcf, a 52 Bcf injection is required this next report week.

The net injection last Thursday came in at market expectations of 87 Bcf, which is 28 Bcf larger than the five year injection average and 42 Bcf larger than last year’s injection.

A record 2,658 Bcf of natural gas has been added to storage thus far in the 2014 injection season. Over the same period last year, total injections reached only 2,074 Bcf.

Long Term

The EIA released an analysis over the effect of increased levels of LNG exports on the US energy market. In it, the EIA predicts that expenditures for natural gas and electricity will increase modestly. On average, natural gas bills will increase 1 to 8% (depending on the export scenario and case) and electricity bills will remain flat or increase up to 3% (again, depending on the scenario and case). To read the entire EIA analysis, please click here.

Multiple pipeline expansion projects are underway to increase takeaway from the Marcellus Shale. The Constitution Pipeline, Tennessee pipeline and the AIM pipeline should total between 1.6 and 2.8 Bcf/day. For a list of pipeline projects that are in the works, please view the Excel spreadsheet from the EIA here:  http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/images/2014.10.15/EIA%20pipeline%20table.xls.

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October 27th, 2014

Executive Summary

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An updated winter weather forecast was released and below average temperatures are expected in many parts of the south central and south eastern US. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting above-average temperatures in the western US, Alaska, Hawaii and New England and the rest of the country falls into the “equal chance” category. This means these areas have an equal chance for above-, near-, or below-normal temperatures.

Although below average temperatures are expected in the south central and south eastern US, a repeat of last year’s extreme winter is unlikely. Chris Kostas with ESAI Power LLC expects weather-related demand and, in turn, gas prices to remain soft through December.

Gas production has been robust in 2014 hitting several new production records. The month-to-date production average is now 69.7 Bcf/day which is 5.2 Bcf/day higher than October 2013. According to the EIA, the 336 Bcf difference in storage from last year could be narrowed by 139 Bcf by the end of October.

Storage was slightly disappointing last report week with the expected injection at 96 Bcf and the actual injection only being 94. It was the 27th consecutive week in which the storage build exceeded the five year average injection (CenterPoint) and expectations for this week’s report is about 90 Bcf.

 

 

Weather side note: California is experiencing a record-setting drought and there is still a 67% chance that an El Nino will develop by the end of the year, though it is expected to be weak. An El Nino is a complex series of climatic changes affecting the equatorial Pacific region and beyond every few years. El Nino episodes often pull more moisture into California over the winter months.

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