Energy News

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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October 24th, 2014

Working Together to Help Those in Need

Sachse’s First Baptist Church and North Pointe Church of Christ, both clients of RPM, are working together to serve their community. Though their denominations are different, they share common goals: love their neighbor and provide food for those in need.

North Pointe Church of Christ has collected approximately 200 family bags of food for CrossRoads House, a food and clothing pantry located at Sachse’s First Baptist Church.  The only food and clothing pantry in the Sachse area, CrossRoads House is open the second Saturday of the month from 9 AM to 11 AM and provides daily essentials at no cost to the consumer.

If you are interested in supporting CrossRoads House, or either church, please contact Jared Patterson at jpatterson@rapidpower.net or visit their websites linked above.

 

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October 17th, 2014

Executive Market Summary

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Winter is approaching without signs of colder-than-normal weather. Forecasters have been predicting above-average temperatures covering much of the country through the end of October (WSJ), thus delaying the usual heating demand and keeping natural gas prices relatively low.  Last year’s average temperatures this early had the same effect, though the late push of record cold temps late into last winter drove up the market to multi-year highs.  Stay tuned for future forecasts depicting late winter weather.

Most predictions for last week’s storage injection were roughly 92 Bcf, which proved to be relatively accurate.  The actual injection for the report week stood at 94 Bcf, larger than last year’s 79 Bcf build for the same week and the five year injection rate of 78 Bcf.  Natural gas storage is now within 10% of last year’s and the 5-year average for the first time all year. Three weeks remain in the injection season.

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October 10th, 2014

Executive Market Summary

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The EIA released the revised version of the Short-Term Energy Outlook. In it, the EIA projects that average US expenditures for energy will decrease this winter heating season (October 1 through March 31) compared to last winter. Additionally, using forecasts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the EIA predicts the number of heating degree days – a measure of heating demand – will fall 12 percent this year.

Last week’s storage injection of 105 Bcf didn’t quite meet the predictions for 109 Bcf and the market reacted by rising 4 cents. Regardless, this was the second straight week of triple digit injections and two weeks remain where Gexa has predicted 100+ injections. There are four weeks left in injection season but don’t forget that injections have continued into November for the past 11 years.

Storage levels have yet to breach the 10% deficit from last year.

For more information, please visit the EIA’s Short Term Energy Outlook.

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October 9th, 2014

Borrego Solar Listed as Top Solar Company

Solar Power World magazine released its list of the top commercial solar contractors for 2014. One of our vendors, Borrego Solar Systems from San Diego, California, placed 22nd out of 400 solar contractors. With over 30 years of industry experience and knowledge, Rapid Power Management is proud to partner with them. Borrego Solar has completed projects throughout California, the Southwest, New England, Texas and the mid-Atlantic. To view their projects, please click here.

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October 7th, 2014

Eagle Golf Brings FootGolf to DFW

Lake Scalise's daughter, Madelyn, kicking a soccer ball off of a tee.

Lake Scalise’s daughter, Madelyn, kicking a soccer ball off of a tee.

As people tightened their spending in the last economic recession, golf play took a hit and trends have been down for youth starting golf and staying with the game. Eagle Golf is an innovative company in the golf industry, and has come up with an exciting new strategy to get more people on their courses in the DFW area.  Tee boxes and flags line some areas of their courses where you can shoot a soccer ball into a 21 inch cup on the green. Coined ‘FootGolf’, it is a combination of both soccer and golf.  Bring your own soccer ball or rent one from the golf shop and take your best kicks at each hole that is flagged for the sport.  Eagle Golf provides scorecards and different par numbers for each hole – each kick on the hole is scored just like a golf round.

FC Xtreme at one of Plantation Golf Courses’s FootGolf Tees

Lake Scalise, Energy Manager with RPM, took his oldest daughter’s soccer team to Plantation Golf Course in Frisco for some FootGolf fun and team building. Everyone had a great time, and was excited about coming back to play another round sometime soon.  Lake said the Dads had so much fun that they might be back on the Foot Golf course again before their daughters.  Eagle Golf now has some new customers from this fun endeavor and we are happy to support their new effort in growing family fun on their courses!

Eagle Golf has three courses in DFW with FootGolf – Lake Park Executive Course, Plantation Golf Course and Mansfield National Golf Club. For more information on FootGolf please visit the AFGL Website here.

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