Energy News

August 28th, 2014

Executive Market Summary


August has been a relatively mild month across most of the central and eastern US. We are quickly approaching September and forecasts indicate cooler-than-normal temperatures for most of the north-central US. WSI predicts this same pattern for a majority of the fall and indicates that the data needed to make a successful winter forecast is not yet available. The first official winter forecast will be available in September.

The natural gas injection was 75 Bcf, below expectations of 76 Bcf, causing prices to rise briefly immediately following the report. Some analysts predicted up to a 78 – 80 Bcf injection. 2014 has been the strongest injection season in the past six years but storage still remains 15.7% below the levels last year.

High production numbers have assisted in reducing the storage deficit due to extreme weather by more than 50% since the beginning of injection season. Forecasts indicate strong injection numbers will continue and the EIA predicts storage to sit at 3,460 Bcf by the end of injection season (October 31).

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August 22nd, 2014

Executive Market Summary



Overall mild weather this summer has helped US natural gas production achieve record levels, curtail natural gas demand in the power sector and support large, ongoing natural gas injections.

Gas production continues to break records. US dry natural gas production hit a high of 69.3 Bcf on July 30 and reached the same level again a few times this month.

NOAA is predicting that weather will remain mild in the Midwest and Northeast portions of the United States. The Southern part of the nation and California area can expect above normal temperatures through the end of the month.


This report week’s injection was 88 Bcf – surpassing the expectation of 82 Bcf as well as last year’s 58 Bcf build and the 5-year average build of 48 Bcf. This was the 18th straight injection beating the 5-year average injections. Again, the mild weather is helping support the large injections we continue seeing each week. Bentek Energy’s injection forecast for the next three weeks is 87, 82 and 76 Bcf.

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August 21st, 2014

Oncor’s Transmission Cost Recovery Factor Increase

Oncor’s billing rates are made up of several different components. One of them, the Transmission Cost Recovery Factor or TCRF, is a charge passed through to all retail customers connected to Oncor’s transmission or distribution system. The charge is updated across each September and March and most customers will see a line item for this on their bill.

Invoice Example

In September 2013, the charge for customers with secondary, greater than 10 kW, IDR meters paid $2.778674 per 4CP kW. In March, the charge increased by 26.56% or nearly 74 cents. The most recent charge of $3.516757 per 4CP kW will likely increase again in September.

For larger customers, this could be a decent price increase on TDSP charges and/or power factor penalties.

See below for an example of how the charges have increased since March 2013:

TCRF Example

Please let us know if you have any additional questions around this increasing charge. Visit page 106 of the Oncor tariff to see how the charges have changed over the years.

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August 21st, 2014

CNG Motor Fuel Lucrative For Texas

As we all know, the abundant natural gas supply the United States has discovered has helped make natural gas prices decrease. In turn, natural gas has become an attractive alternative motor fuel.

Especially popular in Texas, compressed and liquefied natural gas sales accounted for nearly $2.2 million in tax revenue in the first half of 2014. In order to encourage use of the fuel, Texas changed its taxing structure on compressed natural gas to make it a more attractive option for station operators.

According to the Department of Energy, compressed natural gas (used to fuel vehicles) sold for $2.15 per the gasoline equivalent in April. This is approximately $1.50 per gallon cheaper than gasoline.

Natural gas fueling stations are more expensive to build than a gasoline fueling station and availability remains sparse. There are 51 public compressed natural gas fueling stations in the state of Texas – mainly clustered in the Dallas and Houston area.
Source: FuelFix

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August 15th, 2014

Executive Market Summary

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According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, above normal temperatures are expected for the eastern half of the United States through next week. Temperatures in the Midwest are expected to remain normal to above normal in most areas. CenterPoint Energy also noted that forecasts are predicting the last half of August to be warmer than what was anticipated originally.

Due to the lack of cooling demand overall consumption decreased by 0.2%. The largest decline in power burn was in the Midwest, at 27.6%. Supply continues increasing due to record production numbers. The EIA released an updated Short Term Energy Outlook and expects production in 2014 to grow by 5.3% compared to last year. Above weekly storage injections have raised the projected end of injection season inventory to 3,460 Bcf.

Storage still stands 17.7% less than it did last year despite the record injections we continue seeing each week. Though the projected end of injection season inventory was raised, it still stands below the five-year average peak storage value of 3,851 Bcf. In order to reach the five-year peak weekly injections would need to average 114 Bcf/week. So, until the storage gap is filled it remains a bullish factor.

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August 15th, 2014

Natural Gas Production Increases in July

According to Bentek Energy, natural gas production rose by 0.5 Bcf/day during the month of July versus June. On July 30, production set a one day record high of 69.3 Bcf/day, surpassing the previous record in June.

“The U.S. has moved past 68 Bcf/d and we’re now talking about what day production will surpass 70 Bcf/d,” said Jack Weixel, Bentek director of energy analysis. He added that 70 Bcf/day in production would calm most fears about depleted storage levels going into winter.

Please see the Platt’s article here.

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August 15th, 2014

LNG Facilities Use New Process For Approval

The US Department of Energy announced in May changes to the process for approving liquefied natural gas export facilities. Now, the DOE will only issue final rulings after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has completed an environmental review of the project.

The FERC process costs companies up to $100 million to complete, while the export application with the DOE costs about $20,000. This new rule will shift focus away from the DOE and onto FERC.

This policy will not affect companies that have already received conditional approvals but does affect Cheniere’s Corpus Christi project. The project is due to receive its final environmental review in October. From there – they will seek DOE approval.

For more information, please see the Reuters article here.

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August 12th, 2014

4Front Entrematic Shows Off New Showroom

4Front LogoAs a global leader in docking solutions, 4Front Entrematic took an innovative step by creating a world class showroom for their product offerings. The showroom opened in June and has been host to over 20 customer visits. On Tuesday August 5th, 4FrontEntrematic hosted Vistage’s Group 3816 meeting. Keith Moore, President and CEO of 4Front, took the opportunity to share his new product room with fellow members and participants of his Vistage group.Keith Moore demonstrates how one of the counter balanced dock levelers is used for fellow Vistage member, Bob McDonald, CEO ofSummit Consulting.

LoadHogKeith demos the LoadHog for Mark Heymann, Vistage member and President and CEO of Unifocus. The LoadHog spans the gap between warehouse and trailer without the concrete requirements of typical dock levelers.

4Front Entrematic Show Room - 18-Wheeler The showroom houses a split up 18 wheeler truck bed to give potential clients a true visual for air tight docking solutions.

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August 8th, 2014

Executive Market Summary

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For the most part, weather continues to be moderately cooler than average. As stated last week, forecasts predict August 2014 to be about 1.3% cooler than August 2013. Overall temperatures are expected to be relatively normal this coming week but a cold front is estimated to hit the Eastern United States later in the week.

The reduced weather-related demand will allow inventories to continue refilling at a rapid pace and keep natural gas usage at power plants low. Natural gas consumption for power generation fell 3% and total consumption fell by 2.6% this week.

This report week’s injection was about 2 Bcf lower than what forecasters expected. The 82 Bcf injection was also the first time in 12 weeks there was a smaller weekly build than last year and the year-on-year defecit increased from 530 to 538 Bcf. Early forecasts for next week indicate an injection well above last year’s rate.

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August 5th, 2014

Q3 2014: LED in the Office – Money Well Spent

How much do you think the commercial market in America will spend on LED lighting by 2020? Would $8.8 billion shock you?

LED technology is far superior to older systems in efficiency, lighting quality and life. The lifespan of LED lighting is longer than that of incandescent, fluorescent or HID lamps. This has huge ramifications on the market being that a high quality LED can last 70,000+ hours.

N America Lighting

*The LED market is expected to grow 17.6 times from 2010 through the end of the decade. Courtesy of LEDLinX.

Because LEDs never really burn out, product lifespan is measured by illumination depreciation. The lifespan of an LED is at the point in which it reaches 30% illumination depreciation. This equates to anywhere between 70,000 – 100,000 hours. Hypothetically speaking, if your facility is lit 24 hours, all day, every day, it would equate to 8,760 burn hours a year. At the very minimum, your LED fixture would last 8 years. No past fixture has come close to even half of that life. Manufacturers that run 2 to 3 shifts are great LED candidates because of the low return on investment.

Beyond the busy plant, the commercial market still seems skeptical of the new technology. An application that all commercial clients should consider is the LED office retro-kit. The image below is a typical office fixture that presents a good LED savings opportunity.

The parabolic LED fixture above typically comes with 4 fluorescent lamps. See below for wattage and price differences.

The parabolic LED fixture above typically comes with 4 fluorescent lamps. See below for wattage and price differences.

Fixture                                 Wattage              Hours                    Annual Cost @$0.10 per kWH

4-Lamp T-12           200     W/Ballast             2,600                                     $52

LED Retro-Kit           40     W/Driver             2,600                                     $10


Based on upfront cost, the LED retro-kit would still take about 4 to 5 years to payback. That may still be a long ROI to justify at your facility. If you are able to use your own personnel to install the fixtures and take advantage of utility rebates, the payback can be as little as 1 to 2 years.

To see how easy it can be for your personnel to install, reference the Philips Lighting video below:

Philips EvoKit Installation

LEDs outlast all other lighting solutions! Call RPM to get a free estimate for your custom application: 469-759-1450 or


Advances in Solar Energy: What Will the Future Hold?

With the recent advances in solar technology, and the amount of sheer energy we use for giant sporting events like the World Cup, is it probable that we could see an improvement on the amount of fossil fuels used by the next World Cup in 2018?

The jet fuel used to fly in spectators, players, equipment and general personnel along with the electricity to power stadiums and the approximately three billion viewers’ television sets makes for a lot of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere during the month long World Cup.

It is estimated that the 2014 World Cup will burn through enough energy to fuel almost every car and truck in the US for an entire day (

The advancements in solar cell technology are ever changing. Solar makers test different materials and technologies to improve efficiency and costs of cells.

A team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has set a new record for the most efficient quantum-dot cells. Another MIT team created the first solar cell that gives off extra electrons from high-energy visible light. According to research from the team, applying the technology as an inexpensive coating on solar cells could increase efficiency by as much as 25%.

Vladimir Bulović, a professor at MIT, was quoted saying, “silicon had six decades to get where it is today, and even silicon hasn’t reached the theoretical limit yet. You can’t hope to have an entirely new technology beat an incumbent in just four years of development.”

While researchers continue to reduce costs around manufacturing and materials, create more efficient cells and find versatile ways to use the technology, it isn’t stopping consumers from purchasing solar systems.

SolarCity, an energy services provider, posted a record breaking 136 megawatts of solar power in the first quarter of 2014 and added 17,664 customers. The company has worked to lower solar installation costs by approximately 30% within the past two years and plans to reach 2 gigawatts of power by the end of this year.

Close to 6,000 MW of PV are forecasted to come online throughout 2014, which represents 26% growth over 2013′s record installation totals. As strides are continually made in the advancement in efficiency and falling prices we can expect that more and more people will adopt the use of this technology.

Solar Industry Data

  • There are now over 13,000 MW of cumulative solar electric capacity operating in the U.S., enough to power more than 2.2 million average American homes.
  • Year-over-year, the national average PV installed system price declined by 15% to $2.59/W in Q4 2013.
  • The average price of a solar panel has declined by 60 percent since the beginning of 2011.
  • Close to 6,000 MW of PV are forecasted to come online throughout 2014, which represents 26% growth over 2013′s record installation totals.
  • 2014 will be a record year for CSP as 840 MW are expected to be commissioned by year’s end.
  • Together, new solar electric capacity projected to be added in 2014 will generate enough clean energy to power over 1.13 million average American homes.

Courtesy of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA)

 GDP Update

Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased 4% in the second quarter of 2014 according to an advanced estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. GDP decreased 2.1 percent in the first quarter.

The increase in GDP for the second quarter is due mainly to nonresidential investment, state and local government spending, exports and private inventory investment. Imports (a subtraction of GDP) increased.

The second Q2 update or revision will be released on August 28, 2014 and will be based on more complete data.

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