5 min read

Understanding RECs in New York 2024

By 5 on June 20, 2024

New York, like many states across the country, has a standard by which certain qualifying renewable generation assets are awarded one Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) for each MWh of electricity delivered to the grid. RECs provide two main functions to the market:

Topics: Markets NYISO
4 min read

Coincidental Peak Alerts 2024

By 5 on May 14, 2024

Topics: Markets PJM NYISO ERCOT Demand Response Resiliency
4 min read

How to Purchase Power in a Bull Market

By 5 on May 14, 2024

One of the most common questions clients ask when purchasing electricity or natural gas is, “How much money am I going to save?” This is a reasonable question and for many years, savings could be realized because energy prices had been trending lower. Figure 1 shows how the NYMEX has settled over the last 31 years. This chart shows that natural gas hit its peak in 2006 in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and Rita where gas prices approached $14/Dth. 

Topics: Markets Procurement Education Resiliency
11 min read

May 2024 - Energy Market Letter

By Jon Moore on May 14, 2024

On behalf of the team at 5, I am pleased to forward our May 2024 market letter.  In this edition, we discuss several interrelated topics.  First, we look at ongoing legal challenges to two new federal energy regulations, (i) the SEC’s climate change reporting rules, and (ii) the EPA’s new power plant emission standards. Second, we address a question we are hearing often from our clients, especially those faced with rising energy prices: “Could President Trump’s election reduce the price of electricity?”  

Topics: Markets Natural Gas NYISO ERCOT Sustainability Newsletters Education Renewables
1 min read

Webinar Recording: Upstate New York Regulatory and Energy Market - Apr 25 2024

By 5 on April 25, 2024

Topics: Markets Videos Education Regulatory Upstate NY
1 min read

Client Spotlight: Bradley University Community Solar

By 5 on April 10, 2024

Bradley University is a prestigious private university located in Peoria, Illinois. Known for its commitment to academic excellence and community engagement, Bradley University offers a comprehensive range of undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs in diverse fields of study. 

As trusted energy advisors, 5 manages Bradley University’s energy procurement strategy and execution, including Bradley University’s participation in demand response. As 5 sought additional value for Bradley, our experts identified an opportunity to achieve energy bill savings through participation in community solar. 5 orchestrated a community solar offtake agreement for Bradley University that will add new renewable energy to Illinois’s power grid. Our team performed an invoice analysis to calculate the savings opportunity for Bradley, vetted multiple solar developers, helped present the business case, and negotiated contract terms to guide Bradley to a successful agreement. 

Topics: Clients Case Studies Sustainability Community Solar
2 min read

5 Facilitates Bradley University Agreement With Nexamp for Community Solar Offtake in Illinois

By 5 on March 5, 2024

PEORIA, Ill., March 5, 2024

5, a leading energy and sustainability advisory firm, orchestrated a community solar deal between Bradley University and Nexamp that will help to add renewable energy to Illinois’ power grid. Bradley University will be the anchor subscriber on four community solar projects developed by Nexamp in Illinois in the next two years. The projects stand to produce over $115,000 in annual cost savings for Bradley University, and over 26,000 MWh of renewable electricity to advance Illinois’ renewable energy goals. 

Topics: Clients Sustainability Press Renewables Community Solar
3 min read

FERC Battles with States in the Energy Transition

By 5 on February 26, 2024

2024 will be a busy year for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). FERC is typically run by five commissioners, appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by the Senate.1 With Commissioner Glick stepping down at the end of 2022 and Commissioner Danly stepping down at the end of 2023, FERC is down to three commissioners, Democrat Willie Phillips (appointed Chairman by President Biden in February 2024), Republican Mark Christie, and Democrat Allison Clements. Commissioner Clements’ term expires on June 30, but she is expected to remain at FERC until the end of the year. With the election in full swing, we do not expect President Biden to seek confirmation for additional Commissioners (FERC rules mandate that no more than three members are from one political party).

Topics: Markets Regulatory
4 min read

The Impact of the LNG Export Pause

By 5 on February 22, 2024

In late January, the Biden Administration paused all LNG export facility applications, so that the Department of Energy (DOE) can assess whether any additional LNG export capacity is in the public interest. There seems to be a little confusion in the general public as to what exactly this pause does to short-term and long-term LNG export capacity and therefore natural gas supply and price. We thought it would be helpful to illustrate what this suspension means in terms of actual natural gas supply and demand.

We will skip the politics of the decision for now and jump straight to the facts of the matter.

First, this suspension only impacts pending applications requesting to export to countries without a Free Trade Agreement in place with the US 1. That’s the first carve out. Second, there is already 14.28 Bcf/day of export capacity in operation in North America (not affected by this order), and another 12 Bcf/day under construction (also not affected by this order). Finally, there is also another 22 Bcf/day of approved capacity not yet under construction (also not impacted by this order), most of which is still working toward a Final Investment Decision (FID), meaning the developers of the sites are still trying to gather enough long-term contracts to move forward with the construction phase of the project.

All in all, by the end of 2026, North America will have a total daily output capacity of almost 25 billion cubic as shown in Figure 1. To put that into perspective, the total global LNG demand in 2023 was about 400 million tons, which is the equivalent of about 53 Bcf/day. The entire market demand is currently 53 Bcf/day, the US, Canada, and Mexico have 14 Bcf of active export capacity online and another 34 Bcf of capacity under construction, or approved (bringing the total to 48 Bcf). Given that the US is not the only game in town (Russia and Qatar also have another 27 Bcf/day in development), it seems as though our future LNG export capacity might exceed global demand, even with forecasted demand growth 2.

Topics: Markets Natural Gas
2 min read

The Texas Supreme Court and Winter Storm Uri

By 5 on February 22, 2024

On January 30, 2024, the Texas Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a ground-breaking case related to Winter Storm Uri. At the heart of the case is the question of whether the Texas PUC had the authority to manually set the ERCOT rates paid by electricity suppliers to $9,000 per MWh during the four days of Winter Storm Uri. Attorneys representing the PUC (supported by attorneys representing numerous energy companies, including NRG, Calpine, and Talen Energy) stated that this action was necessary to avoid a weeks-long blackout for much of the state.  In response, attorneys for numerous energy companies suffering losses as a result (including Luminant and Pattern Energy) argue that the PUC acted outside of the authority granted by the Texas legislature in taking such action.  The Texas Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Austin previously ruled against the PUC in March, and the PUC appealed to the Texas Supreme Court. 

Topics: Markets ERCOT
1 min read

Webinar Recording: Earning Energy Revenue to Fund Efficiency & Compliance Projects in New York Feb 2024

By 5 on February 2, 2024

Topics: Markets NYISO Videos Education
2 min read

5 Acquires BidURenergy and NRG Advisory Services to Expand Its Presence in the Northeast

By 5 on January 29, 2024

DALLAS (May 5, 2023) 

5, one of North Americas top energy advisoryand management firms, announced its acquisition of BidURenergy(“BUE”) and NRG Advisory Services from NRG Energy, Inc. Based in Buffalo, NY,BUE and NRG Advisory Services provide a full suite of exceptional brokerage and energy advisory services to clients throughout the Northeast. 

Topics: Clients Procurement Sustainability Press Renewables
3 min read

Informe Eléctrico Mayorista Enero 2024

By 5 (Mexico) on January 23, 2024

ACTUALIZACIONES DEL MERCADO

Topics: Markets Mexico
1 min read

Webinar Recording: ERCOT'S Growing Pains, December 2023

By 5 on December 11, 2023

Topics: Markets ERCOT Videos Education
2 min read

NY's Peaking Plant Problem

By 5 on November 28, 2023

In 2019, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) adopted a regulation to limit nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from simple-cycle combustion turbines. Combustion turbines known as “peakers” typically operate to maintain bulk power system reliability during the most stressful operating conditions, such as periods of peak electricity demand. Pursuant to the Peaker Rule, 1,500 MW of peakers were to shut down by 2025 to comply with the emissions requirements. Around 1,000 MWs of peakers retired by May 2023 and another 590 MWs were scheduled for retirement by May 2025. 

On November 21, 2023, the NYISO determined that the peaker retirements scheduled for 2025 had to be postponed. The NYISO concluded that retirement of the peaker plants could cause a shortfall in generation for New York City on a 95˚ day in 2024 and 2025. Figure 1 shows that in those years, the Reserve Margin (the difference between the forecasted amounts of supply and demand) is especially tight. The NYISO’s solution is to keep four barge-mounted peakers running until the later of May 2027 or the date on which the Champlain Hudson Power Express (CHPE) line is completed. CHPE, a 1,250 MW transmission line being developed by an affiliate of Blackstone, will bring power from Canada into New York City. The CHPE line is scheduled for completion in the spring of 2026. 

From a market perspective, one might assume the addition of 508 MW of capacity from these barge generators added to summer reserves would lower forward capacity prices for the summer of 2025, but that does not appear to be the case. It is likely that the market was assuming the NYISO would take these steps to account for a possible capacity shortfall. That and the additional market risk still present in the demand curve reset and capacity accreditation changes that are planned for roll-out in May 2025 means the market has not really seen any material change in forward capacity or energy prices for the summer of 2025. 

Topics: Markets NYISO
4 min read

PJM's Capacity Market Dilemma

By 5 on November 28, 2023

By most accounts, the winter of 2022/2023 was relatively mild. Only 2.3 inches of snow fell in New York City all winter, which is the lowest snowfall total in the 150 years that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has been tracking this data. Additionally, the price of natural gas fell 25% from the beginning of December through February on moderate temperatures and lower demand for natural gas used for heating throughout the winter. Despite the mild weather, one winter storm nearly brought PJM’s electricity grid to its knees. Winter Storm Elliott, which occurred between December 22 and December 26 last year, drastically affected power markets across the 13 states that make up the PJM Interconnection. The aftermath of Winter Storm Elliott has added a tremendous amount of uncertainty to PJM’s capacity markets and any new fixed-price retail electricity contracts that go beyond May 2025.    

Winter Storm Elliott may not have been an anomaly. This storm was the fifth event in the last eleven years where cold weather-related generation outages jeopardized the reliability of the electricity grid. In February 2021, ERCOT’s electric grid came within four minutes of a complete blackout across Texas from Winter Storm Uri. And while there were no rolling blackouts during Winter Storm Elliott, many describe last year’s storm as a “close call” with disaster. As reported in 5’s February Market Letter, more than 23% of PJM’s entire generation fleet was offline during last year’s storm. Figure 1 shows the extent of the outages in PJM during Winter Storm Elliott. 

Topics: Markets PJM
3 min read

Mild Temperatures and Lower Gas Prices

By 5 on November 28, 2023

While it has become common over the last few years for the bears of the natural gas market in the US to rule the month of December and drive down the coming winter’s (January and February) contract, this fall it seems like December came early. For almost the entire month of November, warmer-than-normal weather forecasts, both weekly and monthly, have been relentless for any traders holding on to long positions.  Since Halloween, the Dec. ’23 – Feb. ’24 strip has dropped about 75¢, from $3.65 down to $2.90 per MMBtu as shown in the blue line in Figure 1. This chart also shows that prices have fallen for the April 2024 to November 2024 strip (black line) over the last several weeks. 

Topics: Markets Natural Gas
1 min read

Webinar Recording: Eastern Region - Winter Energy Prep, November 2023

By 5 on November 1, 2023

Topics: Markets PJM Videos Education
1 min read

Webinar Recording: Upstate New York Regulatory & Energy Market Discussion, October 2023

By 5 on October 26, 2023

Topics: Markets NYISO Videos Education
3 min read

ERCOT Contingency Reserve Service

By 5 on September 19, 2023

This summer, temperatures in Texas have been significantly higher than average, with record-breaking ERCOT demands and Real-Time prices reaching their maximum cap on multiple days in both June and August. In fact, between June and August, ERCOT eclipsed the 2022 maximum demand of 80,148 MW on 47 different days, with this summer’s maximum of 85,464 MWs set on August 10. Figure 1 shows the effect of the record breaking heat on spot electricity prices in North Texas in the months of June through August, 

With growing energy demand in Texas, there is a need for more power-generating resources to maintain the grid's reliability and to ensure there is a balance between available power supplies and demand. Intermittent sources like wind and solar cannot be dispatched on-demand, making it unreliable during hours when electricity supplies are tight.

This summer, the grid’s vulnerability to insufficient reserve margins was demonstrated multiple times after the sun set, solar output dropped to zero, and wind output was low due to insufficient wind speeds across the state. Ancillary services are ERCOT’s market mechanism to ensure that power-generating assets are on standby and available to produce electricity on days when solar and wind outputs are low and demand on the grid is high.

Before this summer, there were four market-procured ancillary services: Regulation Up, Regulation Down, Responsive Reserve Service, and Non-Spin Reserve Service. A few years ago, ERCOT and the Public Utility Commission (PUC) decided these four services were insufficient to provide adequate levels of responsive reserves. To address this need, ERCOT added a fifth ancillary service, the first to be added since the market opened in 2002, called ERCOT Contingency Reserve Service (ECRS), which went into effect on June 10, 2023.

ECRS can be seen as an intermediate product between Non-Spin and Responsive Reserve capacity that can respond within 10 minutes to address operational issues. These services secure additional power capacity beyond regular supply and are purchased in the Day-Ahead Market. This new ancillary service is intended to address unforeseen disruptions like generator failures or sudden demand spikes and to provide a rapid response backup to the grid. These contingency reserves are provided by power plants (or other resources such as load) that are capable of quickly ramping up their generation (or reducing their consumption) to help balance the grid during times of reduced reserves.

Topics: Markets ERCOT
14 min read

September 2023 - Energy Market Letter

By Jon Moore on September 18, 2023

On behalf of the team at 5, I am pleased to forward our September market letter. If you had any doubts that the energy transition is happening, recent events in Texas and New York confirm that the answer is yes. As discussed below, these states have very different approaches to energy regulation, and both have struggled to incorporate intermittent resources in the energy mix. For clients in Texas, New York, or any other deregulated market, planning for the challenges of the energy transition, including increased regulatory risk, should be a key component of your energy management strategy.

Topics: Markets Natural Gas NYISO ERCOT Sustainability Newsletters Education Renewables
4 min read

Choosing the Best Term Length for Your Electricity Contract

By 5 on September 18, 2023

Topics: Markets PJM NYISO ERCOT
1 min read

Webinar Recording: Downstate New York Regulatory & Energy Market Discussion, August 2023

By 5 on August 30, 2023

Topics: Markets NYISO Videos Education

Webinar Recording: Upstate New York Regulatory & Energy Market Discussion, July 2023

By 5 on August 1, 2023

Topics: Markets NYISO Videos Education
4 min read

New York: a Capacity Problem with no Solution

By 5 on July 18, 2023

Many are surprised to learn that there are several cost components that are added together to establish the rate in cents per kilowatt-hour in an electricity supply contract. Those components are summarized in Figure 1, which shows that the two largest are energy and capacity. It’s important to note that both energy and capacity are market-based, which means that the price of both is based on the forces of supply and demand. And while it may not be obvious, regulations and legislation can have a significant effect on the forces of supply and demand and thus the power markets. Between April 2018 and May 2019, the price of energy in New York City increased nearly 40% largely driven by a carbon tax proposed by the NYISO. Doubts around implementing that carbon tax caused prices to dramatically fall to just fourteen months later. This is an example of how regulatory forces can move market prices. Today, regulations in New York State are causing a dramatic increase in the price of capacity, the second largest cost component in a retail electricity supply price (See Figure 1). 

Topics: Markets NYISO
5 min read

Natural Gas Storage: How to Read the Tea Leaves

By 5 on July 17, 2023

One of the most utilized pieces of fundamental analysis in the natural gas industry is the Energy Information Agency’s (EIA) Natural Gas Storage Report, which is released every Thursday morning at 10:30 ET.  This report summarizes the results of a weekly survey of most natural gas storage facilities across the US and shows how much natural gas the nation has in storage. It also gives a regional breakdown, along with a reference to normal storage levels for each week of the year as shown in Figure 1.  Many industry analysts use this data and the amount of natural gas in storage compared to what is normal (the 5-year average is commonly used) to understand and forecast natural gas prices.

Topics: Markets Natural Gas
4 min read

Mid-Summer Market Update: ERCOT, PJM & NYISO

By 5 on July 17, 2023

Given that we are halfway through July, we thought it would be appropriate to provide an update on how major power markets have performed as they relate to each ISO’s coincident peak demand management program.

So far, both weather and demand on the PJM and NYISO grids have been mild compared to recent summers and average summer temperatures. The mean temperature, compared to the average over the last thirty, fourteen, and seven days for the period ending July 13, is shown in Figures 1, 2, and 3 below. These charts show that summer has not really arrived in the middle of the country and that temperatures in the Northeast are only 2º to 3º F above the average.

Topics: Markets PJM NYISO ERCOT Demand Response Resiliency
3 min read

Why Install Electric Vehicle Chargers?

By 5 on July 11, 2023

Why Install Electric Vehicle Chargers?

Topics: Markets Sustainability Renewables Resiliency
1 min read

Webinar Recording: ERCOT - This Summer and Beyond Strategy

By 5 on June 2, 2023

Topics: Markets ERCOT Videos Education
4 min read

Coincidental Peak Alerts 2024

By 5 on May 22, 2023

Topics: Markets PJM NYISO ERCOT Demand Response Resiliency
3 min read

Summer Reserve Margin Forecasts

By 5 on May 22, 2023

Early this month, ERCOT released the Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy (SARA) report detailing market conditions as they exist going into the summer of 2023. This report takes into consideration the power output from all current, new, and planned generation that will be available comparing it to the forecasted peak load.

On the same day that ERCOT released the SARA report, the Chairman of the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT), Peter Lake, released the following statement “Data shows, for the first time, that the peak demand for electricity this summer will exceed the amount we can generate from on-demand, dispatchable power." While the initial shock of these words is quite alarming and was quickly picked up by regional news agencies, we believe ERCOT is still better off this summer than last, and that the evolution of the grid to larger and larger percentages of renewable generation is not a new story. And while the statement of the Chairman is not technically false, it is somewhat misleading. Here is more of the whole story.

Figure 1 below is a summary of the report’s findings, demonstrating the load forecast scenarios on the left and a breakdown of the generation by type on the right, rated for this and last year’s summer capacity (the expected generation capacity during peak hours) as well as the current nameplate capacity (theoretical maximum output). Lastly, the reserve margin is a measure of the difference between the summer capacity and the maximum forecasted peak in the summer season. 

Topics: Markets ERCOT
2 min read

The EPA’s New Climate Rule – Déjà vu All Over Again

By 5 on May 18, 2023

On May 11, 2023, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed new rules designed to limit emissions from existing and new coal and natural gas fired power plants. This is the EPA’s third swing at regulating CO2 emissions from power plants. Its first at-bat dates back to 2015 when the Obama Administration’s EPA introduced the Clean Power Plan (CPP). The CPP proposed state-by-state emissions limits. These limits were quickly challenged by numerous states, particularly those with significant amounts of coal-fired generation. While these legal challenges were ongoing, President Trump was elected. Trump scrapped the CPP and introduced the Affordable Clean Energy Rule (ACE), which overrode the CPP and gave the states more power to set their own emission limits. The ACE also faced challenges in the courts.

In June 2022, the Supreme Court issued a ruling in West Virginia v. EPA that significantly limited the ability of the EPA to regulate emissions without a clear mandate from Congress. This ruling assures that the EPA’s new proposed rules, if finalized, are likely to face a lengthy legal battle.

The latest EPA plan sets out aggressive emission reductions and is likely to further accelerate the retirement of fossil fuel generation units. By 2030, the EPA plan requires any coal plant that intends to operate past 2040 to use a carbon capture and storage (CCS) system to eliminate 90% of its CO2 emissions. Large natural gas generation units will also be required to install a CCS that captures 90% of their carbon emissions by 2035 or operate on clean hydrogen by 2038. While there are different restrictions for smaller generation units, the EPA’s rules lean heavily on carbon capture, clean hydrogen and in some instances, use of dual-fueled gas plants with both natural gas and green hydrogen. At the same time, the EPA has acknowledged that CCS and clean hydrogen are not yet in widespread commercial use.

As filed last week, the EPA plan is a proposed rule, and the EPA will need another year or so to issue a final version. Once the final version is issued, states will have another two years to submit plans to comply with the regulations. This timetable will be delayed further by the inevitable legal challenges. West Virginia Senator Shelley Moore Capito and Attorney General Patrick Morrisey have already vowed to lead congressional and legal efforts to kill the rule.

A few things are clear. First, if the rules are adopted, the cost of generating electricity from coal and natural gas plants will increase dramatically. Second, even if the prospects for the EPA’s new rule are limited by various challenges, the proposed rules will cast a shadow over new investments in existing and new fossil fuel generation. Testifying before FERC on May 4, 2023, a bipartisan panel of FERC commissioners (2 Democrats and 2 Republicans) raised their shared concern that the reliability of our electricity grid is challenged by the fact that we continue to see fossil plants retire at a rate far faster than they are replaced by new emission-free generation. Of course, we will continue to monitor this important regulation on behalf of our clients.

Topics: Markets Natural Gas Sustainability Renewables Resiliency

Webinar Recording: Upstate NEW York Regulatory & Energy Market Discussion

By 5 on April 27, 2023

Topics: Markets NYISO Videos Education
2 min read

Texas Court Invalidates PUC's Decision on Winter Storm Uri Electricity Prices

By 5 on April 17, 2023

On March 17, 2023, the Texas Court of Appeals added significant uncertainty to the state’s electricity market. The Court sided with Luminant in their ruling that the Texas Public Utility Commission’s (PUC) decision on February 15, 2021 and February 16, 2021 (in the middle of Winter Storm Uri) to unilaterally set the market price at the cap ($9,000 per MWh) was invalid. The Court’s decision creates unprecedented uncertainty in the electricity market and could lead to ERCOT resettling Real-time Settlement Point Prices for multiple days during that week because of the PUC’s order. 

This case takes us back to Winter Storm Uri, which devastated Texas in February 2021. The storm caused a significant portion of the generation fleet (both natural gas and renewables) to fail. Without sufficient generation, ERCOT was forced to institute widespread outages to avoid a total grid collapse.  The widespread outages reduced demand for electricity, and as result, the energy market started clearing well below the $9,000 per MWh cap.  

On February 15, 2021, the PUC, after a short hearing, unilaterally determined that the market price must artificially be set at the cap in the event of widespread forced outages. This increased market prices from around $1,200/MWh to $9,000/MWh (see Figure 1). On the next day, the PUC met again, and effectively confirmed its earlier ruling. Those orders on February 15th and 16th, dramatically increased electricity market prices until the energy supply shortage ended on February 19th.

Topics: Markets ERCOT
3 min read

The Good News and Bad News for Capacity in PJM

By 5 on April 12, 2023

Here is the good news: in February, PJM posted the results of its latest capacity auction for the planning year June 2024 to May 2025. And for the most part, those prices are similar or lower than those for the 2023/2024 planning year. Historically, PJM holds annual capacity auctions to secure capacity three years in advance. However, recent auctions have been delayed over the last few years due to FERC rulings on the validity of the PJM’s auction design. These auctions are important because the results determine future capacity rates paid to generators, which are a major component of overall electricity rates for all retail customers in PJM states. Without this clarity and price transparency, electricity customers in PJM states risk paying high premiums to fix the price of capacity in future electricity contracts. The results of the latest auction provide price certainty for contracts through May 2025. The good news is that overall, the price of capacity fell again in most parts of PJM.

Figure 1 shows the latest auction clearing prices in dollars per MW per day across different Locational Delivery Areas (LDAs) in PJM. The capacity price for most of PJM cleared at $28.92/MW day (see the light blue area in Figure 1 labeled “RTO”), which is down from $34.13/MW day from last year’s auction for planning year 2023/2024. Capacity in eastern parts of PJM cleared at higher rates because of regional differences in the generation mix (natural gas, nuclear, coal) and the electricity infrastructure across various states and utilities. For example, capacity prices are higher in the BGE and Eastern MAAC LDAs because there is congestion on the electricity grid when power is moved from Ohio to Maryland and New Jersey during periods of peak power demand.

Topics: Markets PJM
2 min read

Ohio Utility Rate Increases

By 5 on March 14, 2023

Over the past few years, energy markets have been pushed to the brink, and we’ve seen unprecedented market volatility brought on by the pandemic, supply and demand issues, extreme weather conditions, and more. We recently reported that natural gas prices have significantly fallen over the last several months. And while electricity rates typically follow natural gas prices, customers in Ohio who are on default service with the utility may be surprised to see their rates materially increase in June.

The utility companies in Ohio determine their standard offer service rates by conducting a set of auctions, which establish rates for a planning year from June through May. These auctions are carried out between November and April to procure the supply of electricity. The November auctions have played a significant role in the anticipated surge in prices due to elevated wholesale electricity prices witnessed in the fall of 2022, shown in Figure 1. The current price to compare to supplier rates in Columbus (AEP’s Ohio Power) is 7.4¢/kWh and is only valid for two more months. November’s auction for this utility cleared at 11.9¢/kWh for 45% of their expected load. An additional incremental auction held this month cleared at 8.9¢/kWh for the remaining 55%, softening some of the price increase. Rates for the planning year 2023/2034 are now fixed at a weighted average price of 10.3¢/kWh for energy. After additional cost components are factored in, the forecasted price to compare in AEP starting in June is 12¢/kWh, a 55% increase from current commercial rates. Commercial customers in FirstEnergy utilities (Ohio Edison, Toledo Edison, and The Illuminating Company), Duke, and AES territories can expect similar rate increases in the range of 10 to 13¢/kWh beginning in June 2023.

Topics: Markets PJM
4 min read

Con Edison On-Site Solar Incentives

By 5 on March 3, 2023

One might legitimately expect a future TV series to be called, “It’s Always Sunny in New York City.” This is not because there is a spin-off of the acclaimed FX series in the works, but because the economics of solar power in Con Edison’s service territory have never been more attractive. It is worthwhile for clients who may have considered on-site solar in the past to re-examine the options that are available. Highly attractive incentives from the federal government and Con Edison in addition to rising utility rates have created an ideal opportunity to get new or updated on-site solar proposals. There is some degree of time sensitivity, since incentives from the utility will run out once enough solar projects have been approved by Con Edison.

Topics: Markets NYISO
3 min read

Lubbock All Set for Electricity Deregulation

By 5 on March 2, 2023

Why did Lubbock vote to deregulate the LP&L service territory?

Lubbock, Texas, the 11th most populous city in the state and birthplace of rock ‘n roll legend Buddy Holly, is becoming a deregulated electric territory. On February 22, 2022, the Lubbock City Council cast a unanimous vote in favor of electric deregulation, the final hurdle to transition Lubbock Power and Light (LP&L) to competitive retail electric service. LP&L hopes to fully transition service by mid to late 2023. Lubbock will now join over 7 million Texas electric consumers with the right to choose their own retail provider.

Topics: Markets ERCOT
2 min read

Con Edison Joint Proposal

By 5 on February 28, 2023

Over a year ago we reported that Con Edison had filed for a one year rate case to increase electric delivery rates by 17.6% and gas delivery rates by 28.1%, resulting in a system-wide cost increase of $1.2 billion and $500 million respectively. Figure 1 compares the proposed cost increases to take effect in 2023 to those filed in previous years.

Topics: Markets NYISO
3 min read

Natural Gas market Alert - February 2023

By 5 on February 22, 2023

Earlier this month, the weather sage, Punxsutawney Phil, saw his shadow, retreated into his burrow and proclaimed six more weeks of winter. The problem is that Phil doesn’t seem very plugged into the latest meteorological observations or forecasts. Natural gas markets aren’t listening to Phil either. In fact, just looking at natural gas prices, one might guess that winter either never arrived or ended when the Astros won the World Series in the first week of November. Figure 1 shows how natural gas prices for the calendar year 2023 (blue line), 2024 (black line) and 2025 (green line) have traded since January 2021. This chart clearly shows that prices have dramatically fallen across those three calendar years over the last six months. On September 1, natural gas for 2023 was trading at $6.69/Dth. Today, it has lost 60% of its value and is trading at $2.70/Dth. Prices for 2024 and 2025 have fallen by similar amounts. This natural gas correction is being driven by a very mild winter and warmer than average temperatures.

Topics: Markets Natural Gas
12 min read

February 2023 - Energy Market Letter

By Jon Moore on February 22, 2023

On behalf of the team at 5, I am pleased to forward our February market letter. This letter discusses: (i) the recent fall in natural gas prices and increasing natural gas price volatility, (ii) the 188th Congress and the potential impact of the election on Federal and State energy policy in 2023, and (iii) how the electricity grid held up during Winter Storm Elliott and the February cold snap.

Topics: Markets Natural Gas NYISO ERCOT Sustainability Newsletters Education Renewables
1 min read

Webinar Recording: Upstate New York Regulatory and Markets Discussion

By 5 on February 2, 2023

Topics: Markets NYISO Videos Education
1 min read

Webinar Recording: ERCOT Regulatory & Energy Market Discussion

By 5 on December 9, 2022

Topics: Markets ERCOT Videos Education

Webinar Recording: PJM Regulatory & Energy Market Discussion

By 5 on December 9, 2022

Topics: Markets PJM Videos Education
1 min read

Webinar Recording: Downstate New York Regulatory & Energy Market Discussion

By 5 on December 2, 2022

Topics: Markets NYISO Videos Education
3 min read

Cold Turkeys Boost Gas Prices

By 5 on November 29, 2022

What a difference three months make in the constantly changing landscape of the natural gas market in the US. Last September, the December delivery contract for NYMEX’s Henry Hub, was trading at approximately $9.50/MMBtu, while natural gas prices in Europe were trading near $90/MMBtu. On November 28, the December contract settled for the last time at a final price of $6.65/MMBtu, a drop of almost $3.00 from the August high, while major European trading hubs are now near $30/MMBtu.

There were several factors that moved future prices for this winter’s gas delivery down from its late-summer highs. However, many of those bearish influences have started to change and reverse direction.

First, inventory levels of US natural gas in storage grew through the months of September through November at a pace that was significantly higher than expected. In late August, the market consensus was that the US would have about 3,400 Bcf of natural gas placed into underground storage facilities. That belief was dramatically changed when more than 100 Bcf of gas went into storage for six of the next seven weeks. The 1,004 Bcf of injections between weeks ending September 2 and November 11 was almost twice as much as in 2020, and the largest of the last decade.

Those injections came to a dramatic reversal on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving when the EIA reported the first withdrawal of the season of 80 Bcf, with an even stronger withdrawal expected for Thursday, December 1. Figure 1 shows that the gap between gas in storage and the five-year average was reduced from 10.5% in late August to 0.4% on November 11. Last week’s 80 Bcf withdrawal was enough to open that gap to 3.3%.

Topics: Markets Natural Gas
3 min read

How LNG Prices in Boston Affect New York

By 5 on November 29, 2022

Volatility continues to be the name of the game in the energy markets for Downstate New York and New England. An example is the rollercoaster ride of international liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices that rose to record all-time highs above $90/MMBtu in September before falling back down below $30/MMBtu in November. This recent drop in LNG prices has taken some of the premium out of both power and natural gas prices for this winter, but the cooler-than-normal temperatures over the past two weeks seem to have added a bit of fear into the minds of energy traders who are concerned that this could signal a colder than average winter.

Algonquin is one of the major pipelines that carry natural gas into New England from its origination point in New Jersey. The price for this winter’s (December – March) gas delivered on Algonquin is shown in Figure 1. This chart shows that prices in late July and August were trading near $35/MMBtu, but as international LNG prices fell throughout September and October, prices for this winter’s delivery dropped down to a low of $20, before rallying back up to around $28/MMBtu during the second half of November.

Topics: Markets NYISO
3 min read

Big Wind Plans for NJ and PJM

By 5 on November 28, 2022

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) recently approved nearly $1.1 billion in transmission system upgrades to the state’s electricity grid. These upgrades will enable electricity generated from offshore wind assets to be connected to the power grid and are a part of the state’s plan of creating 7,500 MWs of offshore wind capacity by 2035. The project, the Larrabee Tri-Collector Solution (LTCS), is estimated to cost $504 million and was proposed by JCP&L and Mid-Atlantic Offshore Development, a joint venture of EDF Renewables North America and Shell New Energies US. The NJBPU also awarded additional onshore transmission upgrades to accommodate the additional generating capacity from LTCS and other planned offshore wind projects. These awards went to ACE, BGE, LS Power, PECO, PPL, PSE&G, and Transource at an estimated cost of $568 million. In a press release, the NJBPU stated, “These project selections will establish the first coordinated solution for offshore wind transmission in the U.S., testifying to New Jersey’s status as a national forerunner in clean energy production. This coordinated transmission solution will minimize cost and other impacts while supporting the continued expansion of offshore wind energy in the state.” New Jersey is looking to the Ocean Winds project as the first step in achieving the state’s offshore wind goals.

The Ocean Winds One project will be located approximately 15 miles off the coast of New Jersey (see Figure 1) with a generating capacity of 1,100 MWs through nearly 100 General Electric Haliade-X 12 MW turbines. These massive turbines are 850 feet tall with a blade radius of 750 feet. Ørsted and PSEG are the owners and developers of the Ocean Wind project, which will be New Jersey’s first utility-scale offshore wind farm. Project construction is scheduled to begin in early 2023, with commercial operations expected at the end of 2024. A second and adjacent project, Ocean Winds Two, is expected to add an additional 1,100 MWs of generating capacity. Construction on that project is not expected until 2028. The Oyster Creek Nuclear Station was closed in September 2018 and removed approximately 650 MW of generating capacity from the state’s grid. Ocean Wind One and Two are intended to not only replace that asset but also add an additional 1,550 MWs of carbon-free electricity capacity. Given the difference in availability of offshore wind compared to nuclear energy facilities, the additional capacity will be needed to help offset Oyster Creek production.

Topics: Markets PJM
2 min read

ERCOT’s New Winter-Only Ancillary Service

By 5 on November 28, 2022

After Winter Storm Uri in February 2021, the Texas legislatures passed Senate Bill 3, which includes provisions intended to improve the reliability of the grid. One specific portion of this law in Section 18(3) calls for the competitive procurement of additional ancillary services to ensure there is enough electricity supply to keep up with demand during future severe winter weather events.

The Public Utility Commission ordered ERCOT to develop a “firm-fuel” product that would improve grid stability by procuring 3,000 to 4,000 MW of capacity from generation resources that do not depend on natural gas delivered through pipelines. The intent of this provision of the law is to ensure that a certain amount of additional deployable generation capacity can operate even during times of low natural gas pressure in the state’s pipeline system. This new ancillary service is known as Firm Fuel Supply Service (FFSS). The provision required the procurement of this additional reserve capacity to not exceed $54 million and covers the period from November 15 through March 15. In all, 2,941 MW of generation capacity was procured from 19 different generation assets across the state at a total cost of $52.9 million.

Eighteen of the nineteen assets that cleared the auction will use fuel oil (diesel) as the backup fuel source with only one asset relying on onsite natural gas storage capabilities. It is interesting to note that 77% of this capacity is from older, inefficient steam turbine power plants built between 1958 and 1978. These assets use steam, produced from boilers to spin the turbine blades which produce electricity. The remaining 23% of the FFSS capacity was procured from generators that entered service after 1988. These “newer” plants burn fuel in large gas turbine engines, similar to marine turbine generators used in naval and commercial vessels. These engines can run on natural gas, jet fuel, or diesel. A summary of the generating assets procured through this inaugural FFSS auction is shown in Figure 1.

Topics: Markets ERCOT
1 min read

Giving and Receiving Thanks

By Jeff Schiefelbein on November 28, 2022

Thank You.

Why is it so easy to say “thank you” when someone lends us a hand, yet we avoid saying it when we receive a compliment? Instead of showing appreciation, we often deflect that gesture of gratitude.

Topics: Culture Education
4 min read

Community Solar in New York State

By 5 on November 28, 2022

Community solar is a financial structure implemented by states and utilities that allows the financial benefits of solar electricity production to be shared with members of the community. Here is how it works: A solar developer builds a solar project and sells all the power and renewable energy credits (RECs) generated to the utility in exchange for “solar credits”. Those solar credits are applied as a dollar value credit to utility bills, reducing the amount owed for electricity provided by the utility. The developers then sell their solar credits to members of the community at a discount. Community members sign contracts with developers to purchase solar credits at a set discount rate, a percentage savings on the dollar value of the solar credit. In New York State, the market-rate discount is 10%. That means that by signing a contract with a developer, an electricity customer in New York can pay $90 to a developer for solar credits that will reduce the customer’s utility bill by $100. In some cases, that $90 is paid to the solar developer (or a third-party billing company hired by the developer), and the $100 solar credit is applied to the customer’s utility bill. New York has consolidated billing, which means there are not always two separate utility bills. The $10 savings is subtracted directly from the utility bill and the customer pays only $90 to the utility. In the end, the developer receives 90% of the per kWh value of solar and the remaining 10% of the value is spread among the community solar subscribers.

Topics: Markets NYISO Renewables
2 min read

Get to Know Mark Detor

By 5 on November 28, 2022

In many ways, Mark Detor defines why it is important to work with an energy advisor with regional energy market expertise. Mark was born and raised in Syracuse, NY, and spent a good portion of his youth playing baseball, basketball, and football. And when he was not playing any of those sports, there is a good chance that you could find him in one of upstate New York’s numerous lakes and rivers fishing for trout or bass. Always good at math, but unsure of what to study in college, Mark decided to pursue an engineering degree.

One of Mark’s claims to fame is that he graduated from every academic institution in and around Syracuse. After completing his Associate’s degree in Engineering Science from Onondaga Community College, he attended Syracuse University, where he graduated with a BS in Electrical Engineering and a Math minor. A few years after completing his bachelor’s degree, he got his MBA from Le Moyne College.

While at Syracuse University, Mark worked as an intern for the local utility, Niagara Mohawk. He began working there after graduation as an Energy Utilization specialist. In this role, Mark worked with large energy users to help them capitalize on various energy efficiency and rebate programs being offered by the utility.

Given his acumen for working directly with customers, Mark ultimately became an Account Manager with Niagara Mohawk for the largest commercial and industrial customers in central New York. In that role, he applied his expertise toward a variety of energy-related projects, including the evaluation of complex cogeneration systems. When the electricity markets in New York were deregulated in the late 90s, Mark moved over to Niagara Mohawk Energy Marketing, which was the deregulated affiliate of the utility company.

Over the next twenty years, Mark worked for a variety of Energy Service Companies (ESCOs), including Select Energy, Hess, Direct Energy, and NRG.  There he worked with and helped hundreds of commercial and industrial customers throughout New York and beyond. An expert in both natural gas and electricity supply, Mark was able to help a countless number of clients make good energy decisions for their businesses. In 2022, Mark had the opportunity to join the team at 5.

Clients who work with Mark enjoy a higher order of service and energy advice.  They benefit from his decades of experience in both the regulated and deregulated electricity and natural gas markets. Today, he continues to live in Syracuse and is one of the most accomplished and knowledgeable energy advisors in the company. Mark’s three daughters, Samantha, Grace, and Brittany are his pride and joy. And when he is not working to support his clients, he loves to play a bad game of golf and travel.

Topics: People
2 min read

Lubbock: Deregulation 101

By 5 on November 17, 2022

Topics: Markets ERCOT Lubbock
10 min read

November 2022 - Energy Market Letter

By Jon Moore on November 2, 2022

On behalf of the team at 5, I am pleased to forward our November market letter. This letter discusses: (i) the upcoming Mid-Term Elections, and how the results could impact energy policy; and (ii) the challenges facing grid system operators in Texas, New England and New York as they work to integrate large volumes of intermittent resources into the grid mix.

The Mid-Term Elections

Recent polls favor Republicans to take control of the House and perhaps the Senate as well. As a result, several clients have asked what such a change in Washington could mean for energy policy. The question is particularly interesting because the landmark Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which allocated some $369 billion to the energy sector, was passed by the Senate and the House without a single Republican vote.

The Inflation Reduction Act: The short answer is that the election results will probably have little effect on energy policy. While a change in control of the House or the shift of a single Senate seat would have doomed passage of this legislation, since it was passed and signed into law by President Biden, it will be difficult to repeal it. Even if the House and Senate pass legislation to repeal or amend portions of the IRA, President Biden has veto power, and overriding a veto requires a vote of two-thirds of the members in the House and Senate. This is good news for developers of renewable power, energy storage, electrical vehicle manufacturers and others that will benefit from the incentives found in the IRA. But this does not mean that the IRA and its various energy incentives are immune from challenges in the courts.

There are some interesting parallels between the IRA and the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Like the IRA, the Democrats used budget reconciliation to get the ACA approved by the Senate, and all Republicans in the House and Senate opposed the ACA. President Obama signed the ACA in March 2010, and in the November 2010 mid-term elections, the Democrats lost control of the House, in part, because of opposition to the ACA. The new congress did not reverse or upend the ACA, in part because politicians have little appetite for taking benefits away from voters. Yet the law became the subject of extensive legal challenges, one of which ended up in the Supreme Court.

While there is considerable opposition to the IRA, and it will undoubtedly face legal challenges, even though the law does not appear to be subject to the same serious constitutional challenges (for example, the constitutionality of the insurance mandate) that faced the ACA. In addition, as in the case of the ACA, we expect that in the two years remaining in the Biden Administration, a significant amount of the benefits will be granted to various energy projects. Once grants are made, it will be difficult if not impossible to reverse them.

Congressional Oversight: While the IRA may be safe from legal challenges, we expect that a Republican controlled house will use its oversight powers to review almost all aspects of the IRA and other programs that address climate change. This could certainly cause some delays in the implementation of the IRA’s programs and slow or halt other efforts to address climate change such as the SEC’s plan to require ESG reporting. For example, comments from Rep. Garland “Andy” Barr of Kentucky, a member of the House Financial Services Committee, indicated that ESG principles, “will be one of the major focuses of oversight of a Republican majority” adding that “My view is that ESG investing is a cancer within our capital markets,” Barr said. “It is a fraud on American investors.”

On the state level, we have already seen several states, pushing back against BlackRock and other investment firms that prioritize ESG principles. Texas has passed legislation that restricts the state’s retirement and investment funds from doing business with firms that “boycott” the oil and gas sector. Echoing this approach, Louisiana Treasurer John Schroder recently pulled $794 billion in pension fund money from BlackRock funds due to their use of ESG criteria in making investment decisions. “Your blatantly anti-fossil fuel policies would destroy Louisiana’s economy,” Schroder said. “In my opinion, your support of ESG investing is inconsistent with the best economic interests and values of Louisiana,” Schroder said.

Other than some minor changes to the approval process to FERC commissioners, we cannot think of other ways that a change in House or Senate leadership will impact federal energy policy – but as noted above, there is no shortage of ways in which the House and Senate can investigate the energy industry.

Looking past the mid-terms, if a Republican candidate is elected President in 2024, we might see an effort to pass legislation repealing the IRA. When President Donald Trump was elected in November 2016, Vice President Mike Pence stated, “President elect Donald Trump will prioritize repealing President Barack Obama’s landmark health care law right ‘out of the gate’ once he takes office.”

But as I expect will be the case with the IRA, once the energy community is offered the $369 billion in incentives, it will be very difficult for a future administration to repeal these benefits.

Permitting Reform: While repealing the IRA may be top of mind, the fate of Sen. Manchin’s effort to expedite permitting of critical energy infrastructure is equally important. In the run up to passage of the IRA, Senate Majority Leader Schumer agreed to support Manchin’s permitting bill (which included a requirement that Federal Agencies approve the controversial Mountain Valley Pipeline that Manchin supports) in exchange for Manchin’s support of the IRA. The bill seemed to be a good compromise, angering both Republicans who said it did not do enough for the fossil fuel industry and Democrats who said it did too much.

After the mid-term elections, it will be interesting to see if the Manchin bill can form the basis of bipartisan legislation that addresses the need to upgrade the nation’s energy infrastructure. As we note in the last section of this letter, there is a growing consensus among all participants that the grid envisioned by the energy transition does not yet exist. A recent Washington Post story is emblematic of the issue faced by new generation and transmission projects across the nation.

In this case, nearly ten years into the permitting process, a geo-thermal company had started construction of a plant that would provide carbon free energy to California residents. Late into this process, developers found out that: (i) the warm water drawn from the earth to power generation may threaten a rare toad, and (ii) the project’s location impinges on a sacred healing place for the Shoshone Tribe. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has ordered the project stopped, while the Bureau of Land Management has pointed to the project as one of the ways the Biden administration is successfully confronting the climate crisis. This is just the kind of permitting delay that the Manchin bill was designed to address.

Intermittent Resources and The Energy Transition

Intermittent resources are generating assets that are not continuously available such as electricity that comes from wind farms and solar arrays. The growth of intermittent generation continues to challenge system operators who are responsible for ensuring a reliable supply of electricity. In the balance of this letter, we discuss ways in which intermittent supplies are challenging three markets, ERCOT, the New England ISO (NEISO) and New York ISO (NYISO).[1]

ERCOT: In ERCOT, the state in the country with the highest volume of wind and solar generation, we are clearly seeing the challenge that intermittent generation places on the system operators responsible for managing the reliability of the grid. As shown in Figure 1, on one day in Mid-October, wind resources generated approximately 18,000 MWs in the morning and only 1,200 MWs in the afternoon. The variation of solar output is equally dramatic. The chart below shows the combined hourly output of wind and solar over the last several weeks.

Topics: Markets Natural Gas NYISO ERCOT Sustainability Newsletters Education Renewables
3 min read

Big Risks this Winter

By 5 on September 29, 2022

Forward commodity markets were created to allow market participants to mitigate price risk for a given commodity. Long before the world ran on oil and natural gas, agricultural commodities traded in the forwards. By the 1860s, the Chicago Board of Trade was using standard instruments to trade wheat, corn, cattle, and pork. By the 1870s, the New York Mercantile Exchange was created by a group of Manhattan dairy merchants looking to standardize the chaotic butter and cheese markets. Over the next 100 years, these markets matured and expanded, but their purpose has remained the same: to create a marketplace that allows buyers and sellers to access a standard and liquid market that mitigates forward risk to commodity price volatility.

Topics: Markets NYISO
4 min read

When Crude Goes Down, Gas Goes Up

By 5 on September 29, 2022

Often in commodity trading, it isn’t always the straight-forward market drivers that catch the market off guard. Rather it’s the counter-intuitive things that seem to side-swipe a market. Lately, there has been a negative correlation between the price of crude oil and the price of natural gas. This summer, a decrease in the price of crude oil has coincided with a rally in natural gas prices. This month, the inverse relationship between these two commodities will be examined in more detail.

Topics: Markets Natural Gas
2 min read

5CP and Summer Recap

By 5 on September 29, 2022

Leaves are changing and temperatures are falling, which can only signify one thing: PJM’s coincidental peak season is behind us. In PJM, there are five Coincidental Peaks (5CP) that are determined by the five highest daily peak hourly loads for the summer. Once the 5CP season comes to an end, the utilities begin the process of calculating Peak Load Contributions (PLC) and capacity costs for the upcoming year. Typically, 5CP events occur in PJM when the hourly load forecast approaches 140,000 MWs. The summer of 2022 was no different.

Topics: Markets PJM
3 min read

Is Texas the New California?

By 5 on September 29, 2022

There is no doubt that the rapid growth of utility-scale solar in Texas has helped the state meet its ever-increasing electricity demand during hot and dry summer afternoons. The 10X increase in solar capacity in ERCOT over the past five years has kept summer afternoon peak prices in check, contributing to almost 6% of ERCOT’s total power this year (over 17 million MWh of emission-free power). But all that shimmers in the West Texas sun is not gold, and as California is learning, solar alone will not solve the state’s capacity problems.

Topics: Markets ERCOT
5 min read

The European Energy Crisis

By 5 on September 29, 2022

Imagine the reaction of a modest homeowner in America who received an invoice from their electric utility that was more than $1,000 per month, or a monthly natural gas bill that exceeded $500. While these figures may seem outrageous, this is the situation that many in Europe are facing as they head into the fall and winter heating season. Anyone who has shopped for natural gas or electricity knows that prices have consistently increased over the last 18 months. Many homes and businesses are seeing electricity and natural gas rates that are between three and five times higher than previous contracted rates. And while there is no question that this is painful, the situation in the United States is not nearly as desperate as it is in Europe. The chart in Figure 1 shows that the price of natural gas for January delivery at the Dutch TTF trading hub peaked in late August at over $100/MMBtu. Domestically, on August 23, that same contract hit its maximum value of $9.77/MMBtu, making the European price of natural gas ten times more expensive than in the United States for that October contract. Circumstances are similar in Europe’s electricity markets. In late August, wholesale electricity prices in France were more than five times the wholesale price of electricity in New York City. As Figure 1 shows, the price of that January contract has fallen in Europe (and domestically) over the last month, but it also illustrates the dramatic difference in energy prices on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.

Topics: Markets Natural Gas
2 min read

One Button, Big Impact

By Jeff Schiefelbein on September 29, 2022

Using one button can immediately improve your workplace culture.
It is not new, but most people never use it. For years I have watched leaders send emails to their team throughout the evenings and weekends under false pretenses.

They say:

❌ “Don’t worry about reading my email until work tomorrow.”

or

❌ “No need to respond.”

But human nature says something different.

👎 The boss is emailing at 8:00 PM; I should also respond to show that I am working.

👎 My teammate just responded on Saturday morning while I know she is at her daughter’s soccer game; I need to prove that I am just as reliable.

👎 My team is six replies deep, and I have not even jumped into the conversation yet; I’ll make time to share my thoughts after the kids go to bed or tomorrow morning before church.

Most people you know are not capable of ignoring a work email from their boss during evenings or weekends. And even fewer people can sit back while an entire team hits “reply all” over and over to discuss something that “can wait until Monday morning.”

Do you want to prove that you respect your team’s personal lives and priorities outside of work?

It’s simple—one button.

Delay Delivery

If you are working into the night or over the weekend, delay the delivery of your emails until the next workday.

Tell your team that you are taking this new approach and request that they do the same.

If leaders take this approach, then they can hold everyone else to the same standard.

The floating anxiety of checking email during family time dissipates once this new norm is stated and followed.

In my case, I often work during off-hours.

I am up at 4:00 am each morning. After reflection, prayer, and coffee, I work for a few hours before my kids wake up. I am usually writing emails by 4:45 am.

I delay the delivery of those emails until 8:00 am.

Delay Delivery.

The impact is immediate and palpable.

Topics: Culture Education
1 min read

Client Spotlight: Beta Crude Connector (BCC)

By 5 on September 29, 2022

The Beta Crude Connector (BCC) project is jointly owned by Frontier Midstream Solutions IV, LLC (FMSIV) and ConocoPhillips. FMSIV is the operator of BCC. BCC is one of the premier midstream solutions providers in the Midland Basin. The BCC system provides crude oil gathering and transportation services in the Midland Basin across Martin, Midland, Ector, and Andrews Counties, Texas. This system consists of approximately 90 miles of crude oil transportation pipeline and 200,000 barrels of operational storage in the Midland Basin of West Texas. The BCC project has the capacity to deliver nearly 180,000 barrels per day of crude oil to multiple delivery points, accessing local refineries and connecting to multiple downstream pipelines.

Topics: Clients Procurement
1 min read

Get to Know Michael Clifton

By 5 on September 29, 2022

Meet 5's Special Teams Captain, Michael Clifton. In this role, Michael helps clients beyond their procurement needs as they rely on him to find energy solutions that require meticulous research and analysis. He also manages a team of developers who keep our proprietary client analytics software, Level5, up and running. Find out how this Auburn University football player and alumni got the idea for his current title.

Topics: People
2 min read

A Not-So-Hot Summer

By 5 on August 31, 2022

As the calendar flips from August to September, ICAP management season is winding down, school is back in session and both the Mets and the Yankees are in first place. And while this summer was pretty hot for New York baseball, it was very ordinary in terms of the temperature. The months of July and August are particularly important for electricity customers in New York because a significant portion of next year’s electricity bill, the capacity obligation, is based on how much electricity a meter uses on the grid’s one highest hour of demand during those two months.

Topics: Markets NYISO
3 min read

A Fundamentally Different Market

By 5 on August 31, 2022

Earlier this year, we wrote an article describing the rapid acceleration of price volatility in the natural gas markets, with a chart that showed daily price movement at the Henry Hub, the national benchmark trading hub for natural gas. In this chart, shown in Figure 1, the y-axis is the daily price change in natural gas prices over the last ten years. A negative number means the price went down and a positive number means the prices increased during that day’s trading session. This chart shows that since the summer of 2021, there is a higher degree of scatter among the data points, indicating that gas prices have become increasingly volatile over the past 12 months. One interesting feature that this data shows is this volatility has not been predominantly in one direction, or skewed to either the upside or downside, rather, it has been evenly distributed around the mean.

Topics: Markets Natural Gas
2 min read

Client Spotlight: Shriners Children

By 5 on August 31, 2022

Shriners Children’s began out of the polio epidemic in the late 1910s, with the first hospital opening in Shreveport in 1922. Today, they operate locations throughout the US and in two other countries, all with the same mission: to change and improve the lives of children. In addition to top-of-the-line treatments for children, Shriners also excels in research and physician education. With specialties in orthopedics, burns, craniofacial conditions, and many more, the hospitals follow the vision of the Shriners Fraternity to serve mankind through the care of children.

Topics: Clients Procurement Sustainability Resiliency
4 min read

The Inflation Reduction Act

By 5 on August 31, 2022

The Inflation Reduction Act was signed into law this month. As a budget reconciliation law, it impacts federal income and spending. For 5 and our customers, this law provides increased incentives for on-site renewable projects that support the energy transition.

Topics: Markets Sustainability Education Renewables Resiliency
3 min read

Transmission Costs Continue to Rise

By 5 on August 31, 2022

Last fall, 5 discussed the mechanism by which costs associated with the high-voltage transmission system are allocated across end-users in Texas. The current system enables the four Investor-Owned Utilities (IOUs) to update their tariffs twice a year, in March and in September, allowing the utilities to recoup their external costs for the state’s transmission system. Like last year, most customer classes across the four utilities should expect significant rate increases in September. The magnitude of these increases in each utility territory is shown in Figure 1.

Topics: Markets ERCOT
3 min read

Power Prices Keep Climbing

By 5 on August 31, 2022

Power prices across the country have been on the rise since the summer of 2021 and PJM is certainly no exception. Anyone with an electricity supply contract expiring in the next 12 months, has seen a significant increase in pricing, upwards of 120% higher than where prices were at the end of 2021. Figure 1 shows the historical trading range for forward wholesale electricity prices for calendar strip 2023 to 2027 at PJM’s largest trading hub, PJM West.

Topics: Markets PJM
1 min read

Get to Know Caitlin Connolly

By 5 on August 31, 2022

Meet 5's Corporate Coordinator, Caitlin Connolly. Caitlin got her start in energy applying for a social media internship, which eventually led to a full-time job offer. Shortly after, she found herself helping out in a variety of other departments and her role expanded greatly. Caitlin's impeccable work ethic and can-do attitude have made her an invaluable asset to our team and clients. Find out what makes her our "Get-it-Done" Guru.

Topics: People
2 min read

Appreciate the Person, Not the Production

By Jeff Schiefelbein on August 31, 2022

One of my favorite things to witness as the leader of a business is the personal growth and development of the people around me. It is simply amazing to see what happens when leaders step out of the way and empower their employees to take risks and make things happen.

Topics: Culture
3 min read

Pushing the Volatility Envelope

By 5 on July 28, 2022

What is Driving the Extreme Volatility in the Natural Gas Market?

The NYMEX Henry Hub prompt month future contract continued to push the volatility envelope this past month, with the daily change for August delivery exceeding $0.37/MMBtu. This is significant because the average daily change over the previous twelve July’s average was approximately $0.05, with a maximum average daily change of $0.08 back in 2012 (See Figure 1). Last month, we wrote about the explosion at the Freeport LNG plant south of Houston, Texas, and how it affected both international and domestic prices for natural gas.

Topics: Markets Natural Gas
1 min read

Client Spotlight: Autobahn Motorcars

By 5 on July 28, 2022

Autobahn Motorcars has been a Fort Worth institution since 1979 selling luxury vehicles including Volvo, Jaguar, Porsche, Volkswagen, Land Rover, and BMW, as well as certified pre-owned cars. Autobahn is proud of their dedication to building strong client relationships and within the Fort Worth community-at-large. They sponsor the Cowtown Marathon, food drives for Fort Worth’s neediest families, and provide scholarships every year to local students. Autobahn’s commitment to its clients doesn’t stop on the sales floor. They also boast an impressive service department, with dedicated mechanics for each brand.

Topics: Clients
2 min read

The Freedom of Accountability

By Jeff Schiefelbein on July 28, 2022

Most people do not get excited about accountability.

When you see “accountability” listed as one of a company’s core values, what is your first reaction?

Accountability does not tug at the heartstrings or inspire bold action and innovation. Instead, accountability often sounds like a burden and a need for control. But alas, when positioned correctly, accountability is the master key that unlocks a more dynamic work, and appropriate risk-taking, and ultimately leads to greater freedom in the workplace.

Topics: Culture
1 min read

Get to Know Karen Sweeney

By 5 on July 28, 2022

Meet Karen Sweeney, 5's Energy & Sustainability Specialist. Karen's interest in sustainability which started in high school led her to pursue roles in renewable technology and energy efficiency. To further her knowledge, she also attended Columbia University and graduated with a master's degree in Sustainability Management. Learn more about this sustainability superstar's journey to 5.

Topics: People Team Bios
2 min read

Energizing the Empire State

By 5 on July 28, 2022

NYISO Creating More Access to Renewables

On July 11, New York celebrated the commissioning of the Empire State Transmission line. The 20-mile line connects the Dysinger switchyard in Royalton to the East Stolle switchyard in Elma, creating a new transmission hub in Western New York (see Figure 1). The $180 million power transmission line upgrade enables an additional 3,700 MWs of renewable energy to be transmitted throughout the state.

Topics: Markets NYISO
4 min read

Setting New Records Almost Daily

By 5 on July 28, 2022

What is Driving the Increased Load in Texas?

This summer, it is clear how much the state of Texas has grown over the last few years. When Texas first deregulated its power grid about 20 years ago, the population of Texas was around 20 million. By 2010, it had grown to just over 25 million, and by 2020 it was just over 29 million. Texas is actually expected to hit 30 million this year, a growth of about 50% in 20 years. With this kind of population growth, it is no wonder that the total load on the ERCOT grid this summer is setting all-time records, it is just the frequency and magnitude of those records being broken that caught many of us by surprise.

Topics: Markets ERCOT
3 min read

PJM’s Changing Market Dynamics

By 5 on July 28, 2022

PJM Summer Spot Prices Now Higher Than Winter

Anyone who has entered into a new electricity agreement in the last twelve months knows that prices are between two and three times higher than previous contracts. One year ago, wholesale electricity for calendar year 2023 was trading at $30.77/MWh at the PJM West hub in Western Pennsylvania. In early May 2022, it peaked at $88.35/MWh, a nearly three-fold increase. This rapid rise in electricity futures has created sticker shock for many electricity and natural gas buyers over the last year. And while this may not be news, some buyers may be surprised to learn that spot electricity prices in PJM are at their highest levels in over ten years.

Topics: Markets PJM
8 min read

July 2022- Quarterly Market Letter

By Jon Moore on July 26, 2022

On behalf of the team at 5, I am pleased to forward our market letter for the second quarter of 2022. The dramatic increase in the price of electricity and natural gas noted in our Q1 letter continued its upward climb in Q2, fueled primarily by the war in Ukraine and its impact on the price of LNG. This dramatic increase is shown in Figure 1.

Topics: Markets Natural Gas Sustainability Newsletters Education Renewables
1 min read

Can NYC Go All-Electric?

By 5 on June 29, 2022

The All-Electric Building Act, known as New York S6843C, has died on the proverbial vine without getting a vote from the full New York State Senate or Assembly.

Topics: Markets NYISO
1 min read

Client Spotlight: Xpressdocs

By 5 on June 29, 2022

Xpressdocs was founded nearly 25 years ago as an innovator in marketing technology solutions and helps clients build better brands by providing unique products. Xpressdocs is focused on the creation, production, and distribution of branded materials, marketing collateral, and communications with solutions that streamline processes, automate tasks, and empower a distributed workforce throughout North America.

Topics: Clients Procurement
1 min read

Get to Know Marisa Streett

By 5 on June 29, 2022

Meet 5's Inside Sales Representative, Marisa Streett. She is a member of the SMB (Small/Medium Business) Team that helps small and medium businesses navigate the complicated energy market. Marisa's ability to learn quickly along with her commitment to helping others has made her an invaluable team member. Learn more about Marisa and her connection to the number 5. 

Topics: People
4 min read

Gimme Three Steps to Zero Emissions

By 5 on June 29, 2022

A greenhouse gas (GHG) is any gas in the atmosphere that absorbs thermal energy (heat) emitted from the earth’s surface and reflects it back to the earth’s surface. Certain gases serve as a trap for this thermal radiation which warms the atmosphere. GHGs include water vapor (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), and ozone (O3). While all these gases are naturally occurring, human activity since the advent of the Industrial Revolution has significantly added to the GHGs that are generated through various machines and industrial processes. Today, businesses and other organizations are trying to do their part to fight climate change by limiting and reducing the GHGs that are produced and released into the atmosphere.

Topics: Sustainability Education Renewables
2 min read

The Fall of Near-Term Prices

By 5 on June 29, 2022

Over the last year, forward electricity prices in ERCOT have continued to climb and set new highs every month. Figure 1 shows the price of wholesale electricity for calendar years 2023 through 2026 over the last 12 months. Notice that beginning in March, the rate of price increase has accelerated with the market setting new highs, followed by a slight correction and again testing new highs in the following month. Any trader will affirm that this is not sustainable in the long term and at some point, a downward move was inevitable. That move began in the middle of June. And as shown in Figure 1, prices have fallen over the next four calendar years. The most dramatic move can be seen in the 12-month strip for calendar year 2023. On June 14, calendar year 2023 was trading at $72.87/MWh. On June 27, 2022, that same calendar strip was trading at $52.39/MWh – a decrease of 28% over a two-week period.

Topics: ERCOT
4 min read

Recent Events Cause Gas Correction

By 5 on June 29, 2022

On Wednesday, June 8, 2022, from 10:00 AM to about 12:00 PM CDT, the July contract for NYMEX Henry Hub was trading around $9.60 per MMBtu. Even so, $9.60 is not an all-time high price for NYMEX Henry Hub. During the fall of 2005, after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita significantly reduced oil and gas production in the Gulf of Mexico, the Henry Hub contract settled above $9.60 from September through January before settling back down below $9.00 in February 2006. Additionally, during the spring and summer of 2008, April through August settled above $9.00. Since September 2008, no month has settled above $9.00. So, on the morning of June 8, after rallying up 30¢ from the previous night’s closing price of $9.30, it looked like natural gas would again test the $10 mark for the first time in nearly 15 years. Then there was an explosion at a plant due South of Houston, near a small town called Freeport, Texas.

Topics: Markets Natural Gas
2 min read

The Limitations of Unlimited Time Off

By Jeff Schiefelbein on June 29, 2022

Sometime during the recent work-from-home transition, I came to view our unlimited time off policy differently. From the beginning of 5, we always took the approach that our employees were fully formed adults and therefore they could be trusted to manage their own time off without onerous rules and restrictions.

As early adopters of this approach, we proved skeptics wrong and found that our team members were enjoying the freedom afforded by this policy and owning the associated responsibility. 5ers were taking time off for vacations, showing up for their kids’ school events, weaving doctor visits and the occasional person needs into their workdays, and enjoying maternity and paternity leaves with the arrival of each new life. As a foundational part of our culture, unlimited time off was one of those perks that did not need regular attention.

Then came the COVID-19 pandemic. As our workforce transitioned to completely remote work, we started meeting over video in each other’s living rooms, kitchen tables, and home offices. As the pandemic progressed, we saw the emotional toll that this new way of work was having on our team members. Like countless other organizations, the line between work and home for many 5ers became blurred, which contributed to employee burnout.

When the line that divides home from work is porous, there is a temptation to keep working with an inability to know when to shut down for the evening. Even those who worked remotely before the pandemic would affirm that the lack of a daily commute makes it difficult to bring the workday to a natural conclusion. This work-from-home transition has forced us to question what taking time off really means, especially in a culture with an unlimited vacation policy. Similarly, many 5ers are also having to adjust their own understanding of what time off looks like when one predominantly works from home.

We have been asking ourselves many questions with this new working paradigm. Are employees really taking enough time off and shutting down when working from home? Would employees be more intentional about stepping away from work if there were a set number of vacation days that were allotted each year? Would there be any improvements in employee wellness if there were a mandatory minimum number of days off employees were required to take? Or would these minimums create a feeling of top-down control? There are no simple answers to these questions.

When we first created our unlimited time off policy, our intention was to create a program that recognized the employees’ individual needs and rewarded their efforts in whatever way worked best for them. Now we must ask ourselves if a policy change would help us to achieve the same result or if there will be a natural return to normal work and normal time off as the working world rebalances. Our premise that 5ers are fully formed adults and should be able to determine the amount of vacation time that is appropriate has not changed. However, the way we work today is very different from the way it was before the pandemic, and it makes sense to re-evaluate what time off really means. We encourage other organizations to do the same and make employee wellness and resiliency a top priority.

Topics: Culture
3 min read

Record Lows for Capacity Auction

By 5 on June 29, 2022

On June 21, 2022, PJM posted the results of its capacity auction, also known as the Reliability Pricing Model (RPM), for the planning year June 2023 to May 2024. The execution of this auction has been postponed multiple times over the last few years due to FERC rulings on the validity of the PJM auction’s design. Differences between FERC and PJM seem to have finally been resolved to the extent to allow the auction to proceed. This is important because these latest auction results give the market some much-needed clarity into future capacity costs, which are a major cost component of next year’s overall electricity costs for all retail customers in PJM states.

Topics: Markets PJM
4 min read

What does SARA think?

By 5 on May 31, 2022

A Review of ERCOT's Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy report for Summer 2022

The Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy report, otherwise known as SARA, is a quarterly publication from ERCOT that gives its assessment of the short-term risk of Energy Emergency Alerts. This assessment looks at both load growth and peak demand forecasts, along with generation capacity and probability of availability to determine the potential for the state’s power grid to run out of power when it is needed the most. In May, ERCOT published the SARA report for this summer, with the following highlights.

Topics: Markets ERCOT
4 min read

Coincidental Peaks Should Peak Your Interest

By 5 on May 31, 2022

An Overview of Coincidental Peak Costs by ISO

Coincidental Peak (CP) is the measurement of an electricity meter’s actual usage at the time of the regional grid’s highest demand and determining that meter's share of the entire grid’s demand. This concept of identifying a facility’s share of the grid’s total maximum demand is often used in determining the allocation of specific cost components. The specific methodology of how that equation works and which cost components it impacts varies from region to region, and often even utility to utility, and even by customer class, but the overall concept is the same. In this post, we explain how this works in each of the major, deregulated electricity regions, and detail which costs are the most impacted by this variable.

Topics: Markets PJM NYISO ERCOT Demand Response Resiliency
3 min read

Potential Impacts of Electrification

By 5 on May 31, 2022

A Review of Resources Adequacy Risk in PJM

On May 17, 2022, PJM released the second phase of its “living study”, titled Energy Transition in PJM: Emerging Characteristics of a Decarbonizing Grid, which analyses the potential impacts associated with the evolving resource mix. The report, which follows the initial framework released in December 2021, studies three scenarios: Base, Policy, and Accelerated (see Figure 1). Each scenario represents an increasing amount of annual energy in PJM served by carbon-free generation in 2035: 40%, 50%, and 70% respectively. For reference, according to Monitoring Analytics, the grid operator’s market monitor, in 2021 39% of the power produced in PJM was from carbon-free resources.

Topics: Markets PJM
4 min read

All Bull No Bear

By 5 on May 31, 2022

Natural Gas Update for May 2022

This past month, the US natural gas market continued the recent trend that was established in mid-February. Strong bullish tendencies set new highs and blew past previous resistance levels (ceilings or limits to the upside) while also setting new support levels for any possible retracement in the future. Figure 1 shows how the June contract settled with daily candlestick bars. And while the curve seems to have given up its exponential shape from early April, it now appears to maintain a linear upward trend. The previous two market retracements during this sustained rally both took place directly after touching the psychological resistance levels of $8.00 in mid-April, and again at $9.00 in early May, otherwise, the market has been on a consistent upward trend.

Topics: Markets Natural Gas
2 min read

Same Swagger, New Swag

By Jeff Schiefelbein on May 31, 2022

The Conscious Evolution of Our Company Swag

With so many industry and company changes over the past decade, one aspect of 5 has remained the same – our love for this great team and our desire to share it.

Topics: Culture
1 min read

Client Spotlight: Museum of Modern Art

By 5 on May 31, 2022

5 began working with The Museum of Modern Art, New York by providing services that helped the museum capitalize on energy-related tax rebates that are available to non-profit institutions in Con Edison’s service territory. Recently, with rising energy prices, MoMA contracted 5 to help develop a new and proactive procurement strategy for the museum’s natural gas and electricity requirements. 5’s energy team worked with the museum to develop a plan that makes incremental purchases in a rising and volatile energy market. Applying these best practices enables the museum to reduce its exposure to volatile prices while also lowering energy costs over time.

5 also assisted MoMA in processing and submitting an application to the New York Power Authority (NYPA) to obtain an allocation of low-cost hydroelectricity through the ReCharge NY program. The successful electricity allocation from this program, which is available to qualified businesses and non-profits throughout the state, materially lowers MoMA’s energy costs over the seven-year term of this award.

5 is privileged to work with an institution like MoMA that is committed to preserving, promoting, and inspiring the arts today and for the next generation of artists.

Topics: Clients Procurement
3 min read

Bull Market Mitigation Strategies

By 5 on May 31, 2022

NYISO Power Market Update for May 2022

Near-term electricity prices in New York City continue to climb like an Aaron Judge home run that has not reached the apex of its arc. Figure 1 shows calendar year strip prices for 2023 (blue line) through 2026 (yellow line). Despite a short-lived correction in the middle of May, price movements have mostly been in one direction over the last year.

Topics: Markets NYISO
2 min read

Volatility Demands Smarter Strategy

By 5 on April 29, 2022

If you have been shopping for retail power in Texas, then what we are about to report will not come as a surprise. However, if you have not seen wholesale power prices in ERCOT in a few months, you should probably sit down before you continue.

Topics: Markets ERCOT
2 min read

Capacity Clears at Record Lows

By 5 on April 29, 2022

On April 1, 2022, the NYISO published the results of the six-month capacity Strip Auction for this coming summer period (May through October), establishing the first auction-based price signal for capacity for the upcoming months. This is important because capacity is the second largest cost component in a retail electricity contract. Often, when the wholesale price of energy increases, capacity prices decrease. Many expected lower capacity prices given how high wholesale power prices in the state have been, and that is exactly what happened with this most recent auction.

Topics: Markets NYISO
4 min read

Can PA Coal Befriend Reggie?

By 5 on April 29, 2022

Pennsylvania joins RGGI, Largest Coal-Fired Power Plant Announces Continuation of Operations. 

On April 23, 2022, Pennsylvania became the 12th member of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a market-based cap-and-invest initiative that sets an allowance on CO2 emissions and requires power plants to pay to offset their carbon emissions. As part of RGGI, PA will be required to make annual emissions reductions of 3%.

Topics: Markets PJM
3 min read

Gas Prices Going Vertical, Mav

By 5 on April 29, 2022

Over the last few months, these updates have focused on the steady run-up in natural gas prices, and the correlation between US natural gas prices and gas prices in other parts of the world, specifically the price of LNG in Asia and Europe. Each month it may seem like a broken record (pun intended, get it?) as we report that wholesale natural gas prices have hit new, record highs. This month, domestic natural gas soared to 10+ year highs, which pushed short-term forward prices to levels we have not seen since early 2008. The last time prices were this high, this country was in the midst of “the Great Recession” and “hydraulic fracturing” was just emerging as a technology that sent a very volatile gas market into a decade of slowly declining prices.

Topics: Markets Natural Gas Procurement
1 min read

Little Red Helicopters, Kindness, & Math

By Jeff Schiefelbein on April 29, 2022

This month we are taking a break from sharing our own culture corner insights to spotlight the inspiring work of James Rhee and his TED Talk about The Value of Kindness at Work.

James recently appeared on Brene Brown’s "Dare to Lead" podcast and his fresh approach to goodwill encourages us all to find out how we can build great businesses with lots of little red helicopter moments.

Topics: Culture Education
1 min read

Get to Know Julia Smith

By 5 on April 29, 2022

Time flies when you have great people like Julia Smith on the team, it's hard to believe her one-year anniversary is just weeks away.

Take a moment to learn more about Julia’s deregulated power journey and her fun nickname from her days as a collegiate soccer player.

Topics: People Culture

Client Spotlight: Empire State Realty Trust (ESRT)

By 5 on April 29, 2022

For the second year in a row, 5 is spotlighting one of our most innovative and iconic clients, Empire State Realty Trust. Earlier this month, ESRT announced their groundbreaking Empire Building Playbook: An Owner’s Guide to Low Carbon Retrofits. This publication, co-supported by NYSERDA and the Clinton Global Initiative, will help existing commercial buildings implement step-by-step carbon reduction processes with proven methodologies. 5 is proud to be among the core project team that helped ESRT with this game-changing playbook.

Topics: Clients Sustainability Education Renewables Resiliency
10 min read

April 2022- Quarterly Market Letter

By Jon Moore on April 27, 2022

On behalf of the team at 5, I am pleased to forward our market letter for the first quarter of 2022. In this issue, we continue our focus on the energy transition and the strain that this has put on the energy market. Our last letter quoted Larry Fink of Blackrock on the importance of navigating the “global energy transition.” The past quarter’s events add geopolitical risks to the navigational challenges associated with this transition.

Topics: Markets Natural Gas ERCOT Newsletters Education Renewables Resiliency
6 min read

The Jones Act

By 5 on March 31, 2022

What is the Jones Act and how does it impact our energy markets?

In January 2018 a cold snap descended across the Northeast. And in Boston Harbor, a liquified natural gas (LNG) tanker appeared on the horizon, ready to unload its cargo at the only port terminal in the lower 48 states equipped to process imported gas. The massive ship flew a red, white, and blue flag, but not that of the United States. Instead, it was the flag of the Russian Federation. The ship is called the “Gaselys” which, in the Russian language, translates to “extinguished” and it carried natural gas sourced from the Yamal Peninsula in Siberia. The owner of the LNG export terminal in Russia from where this ship set sail is Novatek, Russia's largest independent producer of natural gas. This is the same company that was put under sanctions by the US Treasury Department in 2014 after Russia invaded and seized Crimea from Ukraine. And while the company was sanctioned, the natural gas that it sold to New Englanders was not.

Topics: Markets ERCOT Education
3 min read

Global Forces Drive Up Gas Prices

By 5 on March 31, 2022

What is causing global forces to outweigh the domestic signals for natural gas prices?

If you still buy into the old trader’s tale of “buy natural gas in the fall and spring when it is cheaper” it’s likely that your energy purchasing strategies are as unlucky as your March Madness bracket. Last fall we saw one of the largest natural gas rallies in recent history as European and Asian storage levels were depleted and international LNG prices reached record highs. Now, at the beginning of spring, when natural gas withdrawals from storage are starting to dwindle and the country normally shifts to producing more natural gas than it consumes, we are again looking at another significant market rally, with April’s NYMEX contract settling at the highest price for any April delivery since 2008.

Topics: Markets Natural Gas
4 min read

2X Increase in Power Prices, Ouch!

By 5 on March 31, 2022

A current look into the market drivers and prices throughout PJM

PJM, the largest wholesale electricity market, covering 13 states including the District of Columbia, and serving a whopping 65 million people, is certainly feeling the impact of increased market costs. Consider that wholesale electricity for calendar year 2023 in PJM West was trading at its all-time low at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020, below $25 per MWh. Now, as of March 28, 2022, calendar year 2023 is trading at its all-time high above $55, an increase of over 100%. What is driving this 2X increase in the last 24 months and the monumental upward movement in the last 8 months, as seen in Figure 1?

Topics: Markets
4 min read

Power Prices Surge Across the Empire State

By 5 on March 31, 2022

Why are power prices increasing throughout New York?

Like many other commodities, the price of wholesale electricity has drastically increased over the last 12 months nationwide. In the middle of March 2021, the wholesale price of electricity purchased for calendar year 2023 in NYC was trading at $35.60/MWh. Today, as shown in Figure 1, that calendar strip is trading at $67.89/MWh. The same dramatic rise in energy prices has occurred in Upstate New York as well. The wholesale price for electricity in calendar year 2023 has increased from $24.57/MWh to $42.97/MWh over the last year.

Topics: Markets NYISO
2 min read

Caring for Caregivers (aka Your Employees)

By Jeff Schiefelbein on March 31, 2022

One of the most striking insights that I gained through the work-from-home shift of the last two years is realizing how many employees are engaged in caregiving for their loved ones on a regular basis. Even though this phenomenon existed long before the pandemic, we are now so comfortable sharing our cameras on video calls from home that we often end up sharing more about our daily struggles and needs as well.

When an employee is caring for a loved one, they often share the effects of caregiving, which include: 

Topics: Culture Education
1 min read

Client Spotlight: MacArthur Boulevard Baptist Church

By 5 on March 31, 2022

MacArthur Boulevard Baptist Church is a large church community in Irving, Texas with many families throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. The church campus consists of two large, interconnected buildings that support worship services and many other activities related to both youth and adult faith formation. Energy expenses are a significant operating expense, given the large campus and the numerous services offered by the church.

Topics: Clients Procurement Sustainability Renewables
4 min read

Russia’s Impact on Natural Gas Prices

By 5 on February 28, 2022

How is the Situation in Ukraine Impacting Global and Domestic Natural Gas Markets?

On February 21, 2022, Russia declared that the Eastern Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk were independent territories while simultaneously stating those territories were in need of Russian security forces. While this declaration and escalation did not surprise many, it prompted a number of questions and concerns around the short-term and longer-term risks to international and domestic energy markets. Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 23, 2022, caused international energy prices to become more volatile during overnight and intraday trading. However, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude prices for April delivery closed on Thursday up only around 70¢ per barrel compared to Wednesday’s closing price. Friday’s trading session also saw a slight sell-off, with prices closing around $91.50 per barrel. European natural gas futures had a stronger reaction. The large European Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) trading hub, the Dutch Title Transfer Facility (TTF) rallied up to €132/MWh (about $43USD/MMBtu) before settling down closer to $30USD/MMBtu on Friday.

Topics: Markets Natural Gas
3 min read

Shadows Coming for PJM's Solar Market

By 5 on February 28, 2022

A Two-Year Pause on Solar Projects in PJM

The geographic area served by the PJM Interconnection spans from Virginia all the way to northeast Illinois. And despite the name of the hit show, “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”, this is not a particularly sunny part of the country. It may be a surprise, then, to learn that PJM is overwhelmed by applications for new solar farms. In fact, PJM is proposing a two-year pause on reviewing new generation projects (most of them solar) that seek interconnection with its power grid to slow the influx.

Topics: Markets PJM
4 min read

Landon's Lullaby, Winter-Storm Lookback

By 5 on February 28, 2022

An In-depth Comparison of Winter Storm Landon Versus Winter Storm Uri

Earlier this month, the first big test of the post-Uri Texas electrical grid was blowing south across the plains. Many had legitimate concerns given the forecasts of freezing rain in West and North Texas, along with sub-freezing temperatures as far south as San Antonio. Temperatures in Houston were even forecasted to be below 30ºF for several hours in the morning on Friday, February 4th, and Saturday, February 5th.

Topics: Markets ERCOT
3 min read

Con Edison's 2022 Rate Case

By 5 on February 28, 2022

Higher Delivery Rates on the Way with Con Edison's 2022 Rate Case

ConEdison, the largest investor-owned utility (IOU) in the state of New York, has an obligation to its investors to operate profitably year-over-year. Doing so can be a challenge due to changing operating conditions like the COVID-19 pandemic, prolonged cold snaps like the Polar Vortex of 2014, or new climate-driven policy mandates for large-scale electrification powered by renewable sources that have yet to be developed. To ensure profitability, a formal process known as a Rate Case is undertaken annually to evaluate if the utility is adequately charging electricity and natural gas customers for its services.

Topics: Markets NYISO
1 min read

Client Spotlight: Black Rifle Coffee Company

By 5 on February 28, 2022

Black Rifle Coffee Company (BRCC) is a Veteran-owned business that was founded in 2014 by former U.S. Army Green Beret, Evan Hafer. Through the company’s tremendous growth, they have committed to hiring 10,000 Veterans to provide opportunities to the military community to help build and support the brand. Additionally, the company also launched the BRCC Fund to support Veterans, first responders, and their families while helping to conserve the great American outdoors.

When companies experience fast-paced growth, several energy-related issues usually appear. That was certainly the case with BRCC when they first engaged the team at 5 for help. The first issue that needed to be addressed was the high rates that some of the BRCC locations were paying after simply calling a supplier’s 800-number to turn on service using a utility default price. In many cases, the supply rate for off-the-shelf pricing could be anywhere from 30-60% higher than competitive market rates obtained through customized pricing. The procurement team at 5 worked alongside BRCC to secure better rates while also selecting better contract terms and conditions based on the power market conditions. The result was dramatic savings for the client over an extended contract term.

In addition to obtaining better rates, BRCC also turned to 5’s Construction Services Team to handle new meter installations, temporary power, and permanent power cut-overs for each new store opening. The team at 5 delivered with accuracy and consistency as BRCC locations are no longer experiencing the frustration of delayed openings due to utility hurdles and extended lead times.

5’s Construction Services Team provides construction-related services to both general contractors on design-build construction projects and to clients that are expanding and building new facilities. In both instances, 5 is brought in as a part of the construction management team to provide the necessary planning and to serve as a liaison with the local utility. 5 works directly with architects, engineers, and general contractors to establish utility services that are coordinated with construction project timelines and in compliance with municipal inspection requirements.

Topics: Clients Case Studies Procurement
1 min read

Get to Know Maggie Connally

By 5 on February 28, 2022

Meet Maggie Connally, a member of 5's Pit Crew. Maggie started out as an assistant but her tenacity and willingness to help others landed her a spot on the team that supports all our advisors and clients. Find out how she began a very "scary" tradition at 5. 

Topics: People
2 min read

The Beyond Zero Texas Tour

By Jeff Schiefelbein on February 28, 2022

A Special Opportunity for Texas Educators to Teach Sustainability

The feature-length documentary film, Beyond Zero, tells the story of Ray Anderson and his visionary leadership as the founder and CEO of Interface, a publicly-traded company in the carpet tile industry. In 1989, Ray had a conversion of heart and vowed to take Interface on a journey to become a sustainable enterprise in every way possible. He was ahead of his time in many ways and his heroic leadership is truly a model for companies that are aiming for true stakeholder impact. The best part about Beyond Zero is that it is not only inspirational and entertaining, but it also moves people into action.

Topics: Culture Sustainability Education
2 min read

Bracing for Cold Weather in Texas

By 5 on February 1, 2022

Conserve Power and Prepare for Potential Outages

Topics: Markets ERCOT Demand Response Education Resiliency
1 min read

Client Spotlight: Brightview Senior Living

By 5 on January 27, 2022

Brightview Senior Living was founded in 1999, built on the idea that a great place to work is a great place to live. Today Brightview builds, owns, and operates 45 senior living communities in eight states along the East Coast: Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Virginia. Brightview communities offer residential apartments for active seniors who are independent and those seniors who require varying degrees of assistance due to Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

Topics: Clients Case Studies Procurement Resiliency

5’s Stakeholder Map

By Jeff Schiefelbein on January 27, 2022

5’s Stakeholder Map highlights our focus on impacting each of our stakeholders and fulfilling our mission to Help People

As practitioners of Conscious Capitalism, we value the interdependent nature of our stakeholders and the human foundations of all business. Our Stakeholder Map provides the visualization of the win-win-win approach and the symbiotic nature of our stakeholder mentality. 5 is the place where Energy is Made Human.

Topics: Culture
4 min read

Domestic Natural Gas Production Rebounds

By 5 on January 27, 2022

What are the Drivers of Natural Gas Production and Pricing?

The dramatic changes in demand for many commodities over the past 24 months have wreaked havoc on supply chains across the world - energy markets are no exception. When demand for oil and gasoline tanked in the spring of 2020, oil prices fell to record lows, with near-term delivery prices even going negative. Natural gas prices did not fare much better, with spot prices during the summer and fall of 2020 setting new 25-year record lows. Producers of both oil and natural gas quickly reacted to those price signals, and production of both commodities began to drop as capital expenditures quickly ceased.

Topics: Markets Natural Gas
2 min read

Capacity Auction Delay of Game… Again

By 5 on January 27, 2022

What Caused the Most Recent PJM Capacity Auction Delay?

On December 22, 2021, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) ordered PJM to change its reserve market rules. This move, yet again, delays the 2023/2024 capacity auction, previously set to occur on January 25, 2022.

Topics: Markets PJM
4 min read

Is Texas Two-Stepping Past Extreme Cold?

By 5 on January 27, 2022

A Review of the Texas Energy Grid Performance Throughout This Winter

As February approaches, the Texas winter has included an abnormally warm December, followed by two major cold fronts throughout January. With roughly three weeks to go to the 1-year anniversary of Winter Storm Uri (the notorious Arctic blast that pushed the state’s electric grid, and the various systems that rely on it, to the brink of total collapse), it is still too early to announce the official end of winter. Texas may very well get another few shots of frigid air before the bluebonnets crop up. Still, with a very faint light at the end of the tunnel (aided by a warmer-than-average forecast for the region in February), it is a good time to review the performance of the state’s energy systems after the recent cold fronts that passed through.

Topics: Markets ERCOT
2 min read

Batteries for Battery Park and Beyond

By 5 on January 27, 2022

Energy Storage is Helping to Solve NYISO’s Zero Emission Puzzle

Earlier this month, Governor Hochul proposed legislation that would require all buildings constructed after 2027 to produce zero emissions on-site. This proposal is like the New York City Bill, Int 2317, that passed last month, prohibiting the combustion of fossil fuels on-site in new construction starting in 2025. While new wind and PV solar generation are the most frequently discussed solutions to support the anticipated increase in electricity resulting from these new rules, energy storage is now at pace to become the next most recognized piece of the technology puzzle.

Topics: Markets NYISO
11 min read

January 2022 - Quarterly Market Letter

By Jon Moore on January 25, 2022

“Few things will impact capital allocation decisions – and thereby the long-term value of your company – more than how effectively you navigate the global energy transition in the years ahead.”  - Larry Fink, Blackstone CEO Letter 2022

On behalf of the team at 5, I am pleased to forward our market letter for the fourth quarter of 2021. This letter continues our focus on the conflict between regulations that promote low carbon energy production, and the strain that this energy transition puts on utility systems that must: (i) accommodate intermittent energy sources, and (ii) ensure reliable electric supply at a reasonable cost. California and Europe have taken aggressive regulatory action to reduce carbon emissions. Perhaps because of their early mover status, these markets are also good examples of the challenge faced by regulators overseeing the energy transition.

Topics: Natural Gas Demand Response Sustainability Newsletters Education Renewables Resiliency
3 min read

Baby, it's (Not) Cold Outside

By 5 on December 21, 2021

At the end of last month, the news was buzzing about the newly discovered Omicron variant. On the last day of trading for the December NYMEX contract, the December price jumped up almost 50¢ to close at $5.447, settling well below the previous month’s closing of $6.202, which was the highest closing NYMEX price since December 2008.

Topics: Markets Natural Gas
3 min read

Santa's Clear Path to More Green in NYC

By 5 on December 21, 2021

New York City’s electricity is primarily generated by fossil fuel-fired power plants which typically produce higher levels of greenhouse gases than generators in the rest of the state. Physical bottlenecks in the City’s electrical transmission infrastructure have limited its ability to receive additional power from zero-emission generators located in other parts of the state or neighboring regions. The lack of downstate renewable generating assets and physical constraints have created a challenge for the state in reaching its carbon reduction targets established in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA).

Topics: Markets NYISO
3 min read

Energy Transition in PJM

By 5 on December 21, 2021

On December 15, 2021, PJM released the initial findings of a multiphase, multiyear "living study" that captures the potential impacts of an evolving grid resource mix that includes more electricity from renewable energy resources such as wind and solar assets. PJM's paper, "Energy Transition in PJM: Frameworks for Analysis," identifies critical gaps and opportunities within the current market construct and offers insights into the future of market design, transmission planning, and system operations with additional renewable generating assets in the grid. The paper cautions that the study’s assumptions are continually refined based on internal and external stakeholder feedback. PJM’s five key areas of focus are summarized below.

Topics: Markets PJM
4 min read

An Outstanding Amount of Reform

By 5 on December 21, 2021

To say that 2021 was a challenge for energy practitioners in Texas is a serious understatement. Certainly, 2020 was difficult as the market reacted to a global pandemic and energy demand destruction that resulted in negative oil prices. However, 2021 presented even greater challenges with the devastation from Winter Storm Uri coupled with the market uncertainty from the ongoing mutations of the Coronavirus.

Topics: Markets ERCOT
2 min read

Client Spotlight: The Highlands School

By 5 on December 21, 2021

The Highlands School, located in Irving, Texas, has been educating and forming future leaders since the school’s humble beginnings in a Dallas family’s home in 1986. Having moved to a more permanent location long ago, the school’s size and reach have both expanded and they now serve over 300 students from prekindergarten through 12th grade. The school’s motto, Semper Altius, is Latin for “Always Higher” and speaks to the school’s steadfast resolve to provide “education to face the world and formation to change it.”

Topics: Clients Case Studies
4 min read

Renewable Natural Gas is Garbage (Literally)

By 5 on December 21, 2021

Natural gas, also commonly referred to by its chemical name, methane, is one of the single most controversial topics of the energy transition so far. On the one hand, natural gas is an energy commodity that is far cleaner than coal as a feedstock for power generation and it is a fuel for which there is no alternative in terms of its load-following characteristics. It can be dispatched on very short notice, ramp up and down quickly and easily, and can stay on-line for days on end, as long as the gas delivery network is functional (which, as we learned in Texas in February 2021, is not always the case).

Topics: Natural Gas Sustainability Education
2 min read

5X – Celebrating Our First 10

By Jeff Schiefelbein on December 21, 2021

As our company recently celebrated 10 years of industry-changing impact, the entire team presented the Founding 5ers with one of the most thoughtful and energizing gifts to recognize this important milestone, the 5X Yearbook. Starting with a letter from employee number one, Cady Thomas, and continuing through each year with letters from the entire team in start-date order, this hardcover masterpiece shares the individual journeys and gratitude of each 5er. The reflections are complemented by over 300 pictures of special moments in 5’s history, from surprise events at our annual All Hands meetings to personal photos spotlighting 5’s impact in each of our lives.

Topics: Culture
2 min read

Beyond Zero: A Sustainability Gamechanger

By Jeff Schiefelbein on November 30, 2021


“If not me, then who? If not now, then when?” Ray Anderson, Founder of Interface.

Throughout the evolution of any great company, there are hallmark moments that define each new chapter. These experiences often serve as fuel for the company’s new trajectory and become a reference point for the team’s future work and ultimate impact. Our team experienced one of these catalyzing moments in mid-November during a screening of Beyond Zero that concluded with a live Q&A with the film’s writer and director, Nathan Havey.

Topics: Culture Sustainability Education Renewables Resiliency
2 min read

Natural Gas Resistant to Omicron

By 5 on November 30, 2021

On Friday, the last day of trading for the December NYMEX Henry Hub contract, trading was light, but the news was heavy. The newest COVID-19 variant B.1.1.529, named by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the Omicron variant, was first reported to WHO from South Africa on November 24. By the time energy markets opened Friday morning after the Thanksgiving holiday, the Omicron fear had moved into the markets.

Topics: Markets Natural Gas
3 min read

Natural Gas Paradigm Shift: A Domestic Commodity Goes Global

By 5 on November 30, 2021

The team at 5 has spent many months, complemented by countless charts, graphs, and blog posts, discussing the rising prices and volatility in the energy markets. When you spend so much time in the weeds, the bigger picture becomes cloudy. In this reflection, we step back to highlight the fundamental shift that has happened in the marketplace over the last year. Shifts of this magnitude do not happen often, perhaps once every ten years, and they need to be called out.

Topics: Natural Gas Demand Response Sustainability Education Renewables
5 min read

Ongoing Changes from Winter Storm Uri

By 5 on November 30, 2021

As winter approaches in Texas, many in the Lone Star State continue to share memories and horror stories from Winter Storm Uri. The exceedingly rare, multi-day winter storm from February 14th - 18th crippled the state’s energy infrastructure, causing hundreds of human deaths, and igniting a political firestorm that continues today.

Topics: Markets ERCOT
1 min read

Client Spotlight - Consumer Power Advocates

By 5 on November 30, 2021

Consumer Power Advocates (CPA) serves as a regulatory advocate for non-profit institutional organizations in New York. Launched at the onset of electricity deregulation by Luthin Associates, a leading energy advisory company acquired by 5 in 2019, CPA continues to advocate for its members and intervene in key energy legislation today.

Topics: Clients Sustainability Renewables Resiliency
1 min read

Get to Know Jeff Shoaf

By 5 on November 30, 2021

Jeff Shoaf is one of the most experienced and well-respected leaders in the energy industry. His robust background fuels 5’s growth as we help clients navigate the energy transition across North America. Learn more about Jeff's leadership of both direct sales and M&A for the firm and hear about the fun he has at work every day.  

Topics: People
3 min read

EPA to Coal Plants, Comply or Close

By 5 on November 30, 2021

EPA’s stricter wastewater rules among reasons for additional coal-fired power plant retirements across PJM

In July 2021, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced new initiatives to strengthen wastewater pollution regulations for power plants that use steam to generate electricity and use coal as their fuel source. These initiatives are expected to affect 75 coal-fired power plants nationwide. The new rules would require these power plants to reduce their level of toxic metals, such as mercury, arsenic, and selenium, from plant wastewater before discharge into streams and rivers. Noncomplying plants had an October deadline to show state regulators how they plan to comply with the EPA’s regulations by 2028.

Topics: Markets PJM Sustainability Renewables
3 min read

New York City's Steamy Future

By 5 on November 30, 2021

In October we discussed heating oil in New York City and the potential liabilities purchasers may have in the future given the city’s established clean energy policy goals in the Climate Mobilization Act (CMA) and the state’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA). As New York continues to focus on winter heating needs and the city's energy mix continues to evolve, the NYC district steam network, like fuel oil, may stand in the crosshairs of carbon policy in the years to come.

Topics: Markets NYISO Renewables Resiliency
10 min read

November 2021 - Quarterly Market Letter

By Jon Moore on November 5, 2021

On behalf of the team at 5, I am pleased to forward our market letter for the third quarter of 2021. World leaders convened in Glasgow on October 31st to address international commitments to lower greenhouse gas emissions. The energy market welcomed these delegates with a complex set of conditions that frame the challenge posed by the transition to a clean energy economy. These include historically high natural gas prices and significant energy shortages in several markets that moved aggressively to decarbonize their electricity grids: UK, Germany, and California. At the same time, energy shortages in China may undercut decarbonization efforts of the world’s largest carbon emitter.

Topics: Natural Gas Demand Response Sustainability Newsletters Education Renewables Resiliency
4 min read

Conscious Capitalism in Action at 5

By Jeff Schiefelbein on October 28, 2021

5 was formed with a higher purpose – to Help People.

That sounds overly simplistic. The natural tendency is to try to enhance this statement by adding a set of modifiers and details that highlight our impact related to energy and sustainability. We have tried on countless occasions to expand our mission and always find our way back to this visionary (and audacious) mindset that our company, teammates, technology, intellect, and passion are synthesized at 5 simply to Help People.

Topics: Culture
2 min read

Client Spotlight: Liberty Science Center

By 5 on October 28, 2021

Liberty Science Center is a 300,000-square-foot learning center located in Liberty State Park on the Jersey City bank of the Hudson River near the Statue of Liberty. It houses 12 museum exhibition halls, a live animal collection with 110 species, giant aquariums, a 3D theater, live simulcast surgeries, hurricane- and tornado-force wind simulators, and the Western Hemisphere's biggest planetarium—the Jennifer Chalsty Planetarium and LSC Giant Dome Theater. More than 750,000 students, teachers, and parents visit Liberty Science Center each year, and tens of thousands more participate in the Center's off-site and online programs.

Proactively controlling energy expenses and consistently reducing energy usage has always been a top priority for Liberty Science Center. The facilities and operations staff have looked to the team at 5 as a trusted partner to advise on best practices for electricity procurement and the implementation of a purchasing strategy that takes their existing solar arrays into account. Through a competitive procurement process, electricity contracts were recently put in place that leveraged 5’s proprietary energy market platform to identify strategic purchasing opportunities. Liberty Science Center has also aggressively participated in Demand Response programs and taken steps to reduce electricity usage to parts of the museum during periods of peak demand, which has provided an additional revenue stream to the museum over the last decade.

Liberty Science Center has also relied on 5 to provide regular updates on regulatory issues that are shaping energy markets in New Jersey. 5’s advisory services have helped Liberty Science Center to take both regulatory and market forces into account as they plan and forecast their energy costs into the future. Paola Amato, Director of Facilities at the Liberty Science Center said, “At a nonprofit like ours, keeping energy use efficient and reducing costs is a big part of the job. 5 has always been a terrific partner in these efforts.” Additionally, Chief Engineer Ronald Taglieri said, “We have faced a lot of unpredictable challenges in the past two years. 5’s partnership as we navigated our institution’s future was invaluable.”

5 is privileged to support and partner with an institution that is committed to inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers through the power, promise, and pure fun of science and technology.

Topics: Clients Procurement Demand Response Sustainability Renewables
1 min read

Get to Know Kat Campayo

By 5 on October 28, 2021

Kat Campayo is an Account Manager who helps clients navigate the complex energy space by providing solutions that best fit their needs. Find out where Kat got her passion for energy and what motivates her to learn more about renewables and sustainability. 

Topics: People
5 min read

What are Carbon Offset Credits?

By 5 on October 28, 2021

On October 31, the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (aka COP26) will kick off in Glasgow, Scotland. This event will mark what many energy and sustainability leaders consider to be an important escalation in the global fight to reduce pollution and implement measures to address the effects of climate change. There is one developing environmental commodity, carbon offset credits, that continues to gain traction and we are excited to help clients capitalize on this new sustainability opportunity.

Topics: Sustainability Education Renewables Resiliency
1 min read

FERC Goes to Work on Transmission Upgrades

By 5 on October 28, 2021

In July 2021, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) unanimously voted to approve an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANOPR), allowing the public to provide comments and recommendations on how the commission can best improve transmission planning, cost allocation, and interconnection process. Responses were due back in mid-October. With the future generation mix shifting toward more renewable energy, FERC is considering requiring transmission providers to identify geographic regions that expect high renewable development and prioritize transmission planning appropriately. PJM, Amazon, and the Department of Energy (DOE) were among the respondents, recommending a more forward-looking planning process.

Topics: Markets PJM
3 min read

City Slickers Bid Farewell to Fuel Oil

By 5 on October 28, 2021

Heating oil is facing an image issue in New York City. Pressure continues to mount against fossil fuels from many angles including environmental groups, policymakers, and competing energy sources that are either cheaper, cleaner, now or potentially both cleaner and cheaper in the future. With the Climate Mobilization Act serving as the primary platform for the city’s campaign against carbon emissions, many are wondering, “is the writing on the wall for heating oil in New York?”

Topics: Markets NYISO
3 min read

The Texas Two-Step Rate Increase

By 5 on October 28, 2021

Twice per year, in March and then in September, the four major Transmission Distribution Utilities (TDUs) in Texas file with the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) to update their tariffs to account for the ever-changing costs of transmission. This semi-annual TDU cost true-up was typically not one of the larger charges that Retail Electric Providers (REPs) passed through to customers but lately that has changed. As the PUCT directs changes to the rate design, this tariff charge has increased substantially, ultimately impacting the monthly invoice for end users.

Topics: Markets ERCOT
3 min read

LNG Exports: How much gas can we pass?

By 5 on October 28, 2021

Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) is produced through a process that super-cools pure methane gas to approximately -260ºF, which enables it to be stored in liquid form at normal atmospheric pressures and conveniently shipped overseas. Now that’s super cool in our book.

Topics: Markets Natural Gas
5 min read

See Ya Next Time, Summer. A Market Reflection.

By 5 on September 30, 2021

Doesn’t the first cold front of fall always just feel so glorious? Texans will tell you that 85 degrees Fahrenheit never felt so good. After over four months of sweltering heat in Texas, with triple-digit heat index values as the rule rather than the exception, on Tuesday, September 21, 2021, a small shot of Arctic air made it all the way to the Texas Gulf Coast. Finally, Texans received some relief from the high humidity levels statewide and overnight low temperatures plunged into the 60s as far south as Brownsville. This front officially marks the end of the 4CP season, and of summertime in general, in Texas.

Topics: Markets ERCOT Resiliency
2 min read

Get to Know Ben Steed

By 5 on September 30, 2021

In many ways, Ben Steed personifies what it means to be an entrepreneur. He was born and grew up in Henrietta, Texas, which is about 120 miles northwest of Dallas. Ben and his family lived on a 100-acre farm where they raised livestock and grew pecans. Like many farmers, he worked long hours with his brothers and often got up at 4 AM to begin the work necessary before heading off to school in the morning. The long hours of hard manual labor in working the family farm instilled a tireless work ethic in Ben that he has taken with him throughout his life.

Topics: People
3 min read

'Yes, And...' Improve Meetings with Improv

By Jeff Schiefelbein on September 30, 2021

Even prior to the last 18-months of social distancing frustrations and video call exhaustion, most organizations conducted meetings that were sorely lacking in creativity, energy, and inspiration. If you take a moment to reflect on your meetings this past year (and in the years prior) how many of them felt like a wash, rinse and repeat version of every other meeting? For the most part, each of the participants in a meeting show up with their predictable patterns of engagement and the group tackles issues and opportunities with a tunnel-vision approach.

Topics: Culture
2 min read

Buckle Up for RDM Charges in NYC

By 5 on September 30, 2021

Con Edison electricity customers have likely noticed a significant increase in delivery costs over the last 12 months. There are two specific variable components that have caused these rates to skyrocket in 2021:

Topics: Markets Procurement Demand Response Education
2 min read

Illinois Goes Green and Clean

By 5 on September 30, 2021

Illinois Passes Nation-Leading Climate and Equitable Jobs Act

On September 15, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed historic clean energy legislation, known as the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA). Among many things, the CEJA requires Illinois to achieve a 100% carbon-free power sector by 2045, becoming the first Midwestern state to commit to ending the use of fossil fuels.

Topics: Markets PJM Demand Response Sustainability Education Renewables Resiliency
3 min read

Gas Prices Surge on Foreign Demand

By 5 on September 30, 2021

Have you ever believed the energy market myth that natural gas prices are always cheaper during the fall and spring?

Topics: Markets Natural Gas Demand Response Education
5 min read

Winterizing the Texas DR Program

By 5 on August 31, 2021

In ERCOT, energy users with “flexible loads” (i.e., folks that can dial back electricity usage on short notice) have a variety of demand response programs to choose from. These programs pay end users for their participation and performance and are designed to maintain reliability on the grid in times of stress. The causes for grid stress could include if either real-time energy demand is higher than what was forecast and/or because of delivery issues on the supply-side power resulting from forced outages at power plants, transmission lines, or both. Demand response is an energy management concept that has existed for over two decades and these programs are in use nationwide and around the world.

Topics: Markets ERCOT
2 min read

There is no “i” in 5

By Jeff Schiefelbein on August 31, 2021

Since 5’s humble beginnings, we have continuously challenged conventional wisdom and explored alternative paths to create breakthrough results for others. We explore different methods and angles to every new issue or opportunity, brainstorming and celebrating fresh ideas along the way. One of the most fundamental, simple, and yet innovative discoveries in our business has been our team-based approach to almost everything. We extract such a tremendous amount of value from our team’s connectedness and diversity that we even made t-shirts that read “There is no ‘i’ in 5 (the number not the word).” Hopefully, you get the joke in that statement…

Topics: Culture
3 min read

Cryptocurrency: A Miner Energy Issue

By 5 on August 31, 2021

Aluminum manufacturers are among the most energy-intensive industries in the world. In 2010, the process used by smelters to refine primary aluminum from bauxite ore consumed approximately 3% of the entire world’s electricity supply. The vast amounts of energy used in this process have driven many aluminum manufacturers to locate their plants in parts of the world where bauxite is plentiful and electricity is relatively inexpensive. Today, there is a new energy-intensive industry that is driving demand for more electricity supplies: cryptocurrencies. According to the Cambridge Center for Alternative Finance, Bitcoin alone, one of the most well-known cryptocurrencies, uses 110 Terawatt-hours of electricity annually, or 0.55% of global electricity supplies. The fact that cryptocurrencies can use more electricity than some small nations has motivated companies that mine Bitcoin to find host locations where electricity is reliable, plentiful, and inexpensive. Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin, and others have used record amounts of electricity this year, raising concerns around the amount of energy these monetary systems use and the amount of carbon used to supply their facilities.

Topics: Markets Demand Response Education Resiliency
3 min read

How High Will Natural Gas Fly?

By 5 on August 31, 2021

There’s nothing like ending the month with a bang, which seems to be the trend for the settlement of the NYMEX Henry Hub prompt month natural gas contracts over the last three months. For most of August, the prompt trading month (September) was slowly churning lower, see Figure 1. By the middle of the month, prices even fell below the $3.90 to $4.10 per MMBtu trading range that was established in late July.

Topics: Markets Natural Gas
2 min read

SuSI Replaces Extinct TRECs

By 5 on August 31, 2021

“Sue” is the nickname given to the largest and most complete T. Rex specimen ever found. Today, she has a place of distinction in the Field Museum of Natural History of Chicago. And while Sue most likely died 67 million years ago, she seems to have come to life again in the wake of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) TRECs program through its successor - “SuSI”.

Topics: Markets PJM
1 min read

Client Spotlight: Celestial Beerworks

By 5 on August 31, 2021

The Celestial Beerworks taproom and brewery provides an otherworldly experience for visitors in more ways than one. Since its opening in 2018, the Celestial team has skillfully combined their favorite things: art, science, and delicious, fresh beer…and space. Their inspiration is manifested throughout each aspect of the company, from their wide variety of beers and meticulous obsession with hops to their masterpiece can-art and onsite décor. Bartenders are replaced by Startenders and flights of beers are ordered by their more Celestial name, Missions. Co-owners Molly and Matt Reynolds bring a wealth of knowledge and experience, including Matt’s history as a brewmaster for Malai Kitchen and his time making homebrews for his friends and family.

Topics: Clients Procurement Demand Response Resiliency
1 min read

Go For The Gold by Partnering with 5

By 5 on July 30, 2021

In order to provide comprehensive energy advisory services to more clients in need, 5 is currently adding additional referral partners and strategic partners across the country. This is a perfect opportunity for anyone who is looking to help others while also receiving an additional source of income or possibly beginning their career in energy.

Topics: Procurement
1 min read

High-Performance Cultures are a Great Place to Work

By Jeff Schiefelbein on July 30, 2021

Too often I hear business leaders try to separate great work culture from peak performance. Since many people have never worked for an award-winning, certified Great Place to Work, lack the firsthand experience to understand the key elements and drivers of great company culture. Instead of recognizing the core tenets of intentional culture building, including clearly articulated values, common vision, individual autonomy, integrity, appropriate risk-taking, accountability, excellence, dignified communication, shared experience, and the power of teamwork, people believe that gimmicky office accessories, like ping pong tables and beer taps, are the signs of good culture. That is simply not true.

Topics: Culture Education
1 min read

Client Spotlight: The Washington Tennis & Education Foundation

By 5 on July 30, 2021

The Washington Tennis and Education Foundation’s (WTEF) mission is to build life champions, giving children and youth a safe environment where they can excel. WTEF empowers them to achieve their highest potential by developing meaningful values and critical skills that lead them to life-long success through a pathway of continual academic, life skills, and tennis instruction during after-school and summer camp hours.

Topics: Clients Case Studies Procurement Sustainability Renewables Resiliency
2 min read

Get to Know Lilo Ramos

By 5 on July 30, 2021

Luziel “Lilo” Ramos was born in Manila, Philippines and raised in Muntinlupa City, which is a suburb of that city. Her family permanently relocated to the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) area in 2007. She got the nickname Lilo in middle school when one of her classmates mentioned that she looked like the fictional character Lilo from the Disney movie Lilo and Stitch. From then on, she has been known as Lilo.

Topics: People
4 min read

Predicting 4CP Should be an Olympic Sport

By 5 on July 30, 2021

Our head of analytics and Sr. Zoltar, Eric Bratcher, is a big lover of the Summer Olympics, especially the less popular sports. On Tuesday this week, while Eric was watching ERCOT’s load again come in under forecast, women’s skeet shooting was on in the background. Eric was glued to the final round as USA’s Amber English held off Italy’s reigning champ to win her first gold medal in the event. An hour later, USA’s Vincent Hancock set an Olympic record of 59 of 60 targets, winning his event and being awarded with his third gold medal.

Topics: Markets ERCOT
4 min read

Gas Prices Vault Over Prior Lows

By 5 on July 30, 2021

Global natural gas markets are finally starting the rally that many producers had been anticipating in recent years. Last year, global demand for LNG dropped so precipitously that some LNG buyers elected to pay LNG liquidation terminals their contractually obligated tolling agreement payments and canceled their delivery of the actual commodity. Subsequently, last summer spot prices for the Japan/Korea Marker (JKM, the Asian LNG version of the Henry Hub natural gas trading hub in the US) traded below $3 per MMBtu. On July 28 of this year, the future contract for September LNG delivery was trading around $14.50 per MMBtu. Figure 1 shows that the JKM price for LNG has increased three-fold over the last year.

Topics: Markets Natural Gas
2 min read

PJM Capacity Auction Clears High Hurdles

By 5 on July 30, 2021

The big energy news in PJM this summer was the completion of the first capacity auction in three years, which was held in late May. This was an important event on several fronts. Most importantly, the price for capacity in all parts of PJM was set for the period of May 2022 through June 2023. As shown in Figure 1, the price of capacity is typically the second-largest cost component of a retail electricity agreement, and like any other commodity or security, uncertainty creates risk and increases cost. This recent capacity auction provides the transparency necessary to reduce risk premiums associated with this important cost component.

Topics: Markets PJM
3 min read

Synchronized Swimming for NY Capacity Prices

By 5 on July 30, 2021

For as long as we can recall, there has been a significant difference between the price of capacity in upstate New York compared to capacity prices in New York City. It was common for capacity to trade at $3 to $5/MW-day in upstate New York and $15 to $18/MW-day downstate.

Topics: Markets NYISO
12 min read

July 2021 - Quarterly Market Letter

By Jon Moore on July 20, 2021

On behalf of the team at 5, I am pleased to forward our market letter for the second quarter of 2021. The unusual weather that caused historic outages and extreme electricity and natural gas prices in Texas in Q1 surfaced in other markets in Q2. Both the Pacific Northwest and the Western US faced extreme weather conditions, namely, heat. In Death Valley, temperatures hit 130 degrees on July 9, a world record for the hottest reliably measured temperature in recorded history.

Topics: Markets Natural Gas ERCOT Newsletters Education Resiliency
4 min read

Culture is Key in Mergers and Acquisitions

By Jeff Schiefelbein on June 29, 2021

How did Luthin Associates successfully assimilate into 5?

We found ourselves reflecting on the successful integration of 5 and Luthin Associates from a cultural standpoint with this week’s announcement of 5’s enhanced website experience that now combines the knowledge, tools, and passion from each of our brands. In just over two years, we have been able to take two very strong, client-centric organizations and leverage the best aspects of each to deliver best-in-class solutions to all stakeholders. After seeing so many mergers and acquisitions either fall apart or fail to produce meaningful value for clients and employees alike, we are compelled to share a few of the key actions we took to ensure a smooth transition that resulted in a win-win for all parties. While this list is certainly not exhaustive, here are five highlights of the process:

Topics: Culture
1 min read

A Website Worth Experiencing

By 5 on June 29, 2021

Topics: Natural Gas People Culture Videos Procurement Demand Response Sustainability Education Renewables Resiliency
4 min read

Austin Delivers Lots of Bills but Little Relief

By 5 on June 29, 2021

Ever since Winter Storm Uri devastated Texas in February, politicians in Austin began to debate what went wrong and how to implement legislation that would prevent another storm from having similar effects. Both the House and the Senate passed multiple bills at the end of the state’s 87th legislative session on May 31, 2021.

Topics: Markets ERCOT
5 min read

Natural Gas Fundamentals, Not Fun at the Moment

By 5 on June 29, 2021

NYMEX Henry Hub Natural Gas prices continue the strong rally that began in March with a persistent increase in prices extending all the way back to the onset of the pandemic at the beginning of 2020. Natural gas prices for the prompt month, balance of 2021, and future calendar years are all moving in the same direction. These sharp price increases can be seen in the NYMEX forward curves in Figure 1. And while all gas prices in all calendar years are on the rise, the strongest rally is in near-term prices over the next 18-months (see black, blue, and green lines in Figure 1).

Topics: Markets Natural Gas
2 min read

How to Manage Summer Peak Demand

By 5 on June 29, 2021

It comes as no surprise to energy managers that their electric bills are often the highest during the summer months. This is due, in large part, to the additional electric loads required to keep buildings and facilities comfortable during the hottest days of the year. While the impact on those summer bills may be obvious from a consumption perspective, a less obvious but equally important factor that affects electricity expenses is the installed capacity (ICAP) tag set each summer. In New York, every electricity customer’s ICAP tag is determined by the amount of electricity used when the power grid reaches its system peak. Current New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) rules state that the system peak must occur in July and August on a non-holiday weekday. Last summer, the peak hour occurred at 5:00 PM on July 27, 2020, when the electricity demand on the grid was 30,660 MWs.

Topics: Markets NYISO
4 min read

Delayed Auction, Worth the Wait

By 5 on June 29, 2021

The big news story this summer in PJM has been the auction that set the price for capacity for the period of June 2022 through May 2023. This is newsworthy because there has not been a PJM capacity auction in three years. The delay had been caused by disagreements between the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and PJM, which were at odds over the mechanism by which the price for capacity is set. This three-year delay created uncertainty in how capacity was valued in any forward electricity contract. And like any other security or commodity, uncertainty creates risk premiums and higher costs. Before examining the details of the most recent auction results, it is important to review capacity and why it is important to electricity buyers.

Topics: Markets PJM
2 min read

NY is Unclear About Nuclear

By 5 on May 25, 2021

The State of New York may be a microcosm of our nation’s energy past and future. New York has been trying to balance nuclear power plant retirements with new gas-fired generation while also encouraging the development of renewable power assets. On Friday morning, April 30, the last functioning nuclear reactor at Indian Point was shut down. For the past 60 years, electricity from this nuclear power plant provided New York with 565 Terawatt-hours of electricity. Before the second reactor was shut down last year, Entergy, the operator of Indian Point, estimated that the output of the two reactors supplied the Lower Hudson Valley and New York City with approximately 25% of its electricity. Environmentalists and politicians alike have described Indian Point as a threat to the safety of the millions of people who live near the plant, located 35 miles north of New York City, and many cheered its removal from service.

Topics: Markets NYISO Sustainability Renewables Resiliency
2 min read

Controlled Expansion Versus Explosive Growth

By 5 on May 25, 2021

Given the massive drop in oil and natural gas prices last year, it is no surprise that producers reacted by dramatically reducing rig counts and the amount of gas supplied to the market. This decrease in supply was not only rational but also welcomed as it stabilized prices and storage levels. This past week, the Energy Information Agency (EIA) released their graph of historical natural gas rig counts. This chart, in Figure 1 below, shows the sharp decrease in active natural gas drilling rigs in the nation’s three largest gas-producing regions. The modest increase in total rig counts over the past six months shows that producers are unwillingness to spend significant capital to increase production, given today’s market prices.

Topics: Markets Natural Gas
2 min read

Last Minute Energy Legislation

By 5 on May 25, 2021

With the clock ticking on the current legislative session in Texas, lawmakers are anxious to get some legislation passed that addresses and corrects some of what occurred during Winter Storm Uri. In the weeks following the storm, there were several pieces of legislation that were gaining traction. Senate Bill 3 (SB3) gathered the most attention, which, in its original draft, sought a complete ban on real-time, index-based products, put limits on wholesale electricity prices, and addressed issues related to the winterization of generating assets. After several votes and amendments, SB3 passed the Senate and is now with the House, but it is unclear if it will be signed into law before the current legislative session ends on May 31. House Bill 16 (HB16), however, passed both the Senate and House this month and will likely be signed into law by Governor Abbott in the coming days.

Topics: Markets ERCOT Education
2 min read

Get to Know Ben Manna

By 5 on May 25, 2021

Ben Manna was born and raised in Dallas and graduated from Red Oak High School, about 20 miles south of the DFW Metroplex.  While in high school, Ben discovered his natural talents in both sports and music. He played clarinet in the marching band and in ensemble band competitions. Ultimately, he was recognized as an all-region clarinet player. Ben also distinguished himself in soccer as a midfielder and was a part of the 2003 4A State Champion varsity squad.

Topics: People
2 min read

Client Spotlight: Redeemer Health

By 5 on May 25, 2021

Redeemer Health has a 95-year history of providing compassionate care and healing to the communities it serves in Pennsylvania and New Jersey through the vision of the Sisters of the Redeemer. From its modest beginnings, the Sisters' mission to care, comfort, and heal continues to grow through the many programs, services, and facilities that comprise Redeemer Health. With a long-held commitment to older adults, the Sisters built St. Joseph Manor, a home for older adults, in 1934 on a 45-acre farm in Meadowbrook, PA. In later years, the Sisters established Holy Redeemer Hospital and several retirement and independent living communities. Today, Redeemer Health is a comprehensive health care system comprised of over 40 facilities across the Greater Philadelphia area and Southern New Jersey.

Topics: Clients Procurement Resiliency
2 min read

Why Chicago Might Fire ComEd

By 5 on May 25, 2021

Next week, the City of Chicago will evaluate Request for Information (RFI) submissions from parties interested in taking over the city’s electricity grid from ComEd. While at some level, this may seem impractical, the intent behind the RFI is to solicit new ideas for managing energy in the nation’s third-largest city in a way that is equitable, affordable, reliable, and promotes the city’s sustainability objectives. Chicago seeks to create a resilient and clean energy metropolis for the 21st century by upgrading its electricity delivery franchise authority. In accordance with state laws and the city’s municipal codes, the city requires a franchise to deliver electricity to its residential and commercial customers.

Topics: Markets PJM
3 min read

Read with 5

By Jeff Schiefelbein on May 25, 2021

Shared experiences drive deep human connection in the workplace. 5’s book club is one of the most impactful ways that we orchestrate these meaningful moments for our team. When we gather to review, discuss, and debate each new book, we begin to form a unique vernacular and a deeper understanding of each other’s perspectives. Our conversations, about the book and subsequently about our business, create new avenues for organizational development and personal fulfillment.

Topics: Culture
3 min read

Biden's Energy Priorities

By 5 on May 25, 2021

There are several interesting developments in Washington D.C. that could impact the nation’s energy markets. With the death of Alcee Hastings (D-FL) last month, the Democratic majority in the House shrank to a mere six votes and the Senate remains split at 50/50. The razor-thin Democratic majority means it is unlikely that Congress will use the traditional legislative process to pass new energy-related legislation. Instead, as was the case with the stimulus bill, the Biden Administration is expected to use the budget reconciliation process to pass an energy bill at some point this calendar year.

Topics: Markets Demand Response Sustainability Education Renewables Resiliency
1 min read

Client Spotlight: Kenwood Country Club

By 5 on April 29, 2021

Kenwood Golf and Country Club has been in continuous existence since 1928. The clubhouse, golf course and its facilities cover over 100 acres of rolling countryside, located in Bethesda, Maryland. The Club is situated inside the Capital Beltway, only minutes from the Nation’s Capital, approximately seven miles from the White House and many other cultural and national attractions.

Topics: Clients Sustainability Renewables Resiliency
3 min read

SARA Smiles

By 5 on April 29, 2021

Late last month, ERCOT released their preliminary Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy (SARA) report. This is the seasonal report that identifies the output from all current, new, and planned generating resources and compares that amount to the forecasted peak load. Reserve margin is the difference between the forecasted peak load and the total amount of generation available to meet that demand. Recently, the reserve margin has climbed from a low of 8.6% in 2019 up to 12.6% in 2020.

Topics: Markets ERCOT
1 min read

Get To Know Anuniti Amireddy

By 5 on April 29, 2021

Anuniti is an energy engineer who is dedicated and passionate about doing something good for the planet. See the ways she helps our clients understand their energy usage and discover how a great culture can attract top talent without geographic boundaries.

Topics: People
5 min read

Commodity Oddities

By 5 on April 29, 2021

To say that commodity markets have been volatile during the last 12 months is an understatement, especially for natural gas. This volatility had many drivers including one of the most active hurricane seasons in over a decade, big drops in LNG demand over the summer followed by a rebound in the fall, one of the warmest Novembers on record, and the frigid temperatures at the beginning of the new year. These factors all contributed to significant price swings in spot natural gas prices.

Topics: Markets Natural Gas
3 min read

Is there a DR in the house?

By 5 on April 29, 2021

In the PJM power market, June 1 officially marks the beginning of the 2021/2022 delivery year. This is an important date for clients that will participate in PJM’s various demand response (DR) programs and those who are actively managing capacity tags through peak shaving. DR participation and capacity tag management allow clients to realize an additional revenue stream for their business while reducing their electricity expenses at the same time.

Topics: Markets PJM
3 min read

Falling Capacity Creates a Good Buy for NYC

By 5 on April 29, 2021

Wholesale electricity prices in New York City have been rising for the last several months. Figure 1 shows how forward prices for calendar years 2022 through 2025 have been trading over the last five years. Note that wholesale prices were at a low at the start of the pandemic in March 2020. Despite a correction in the late fall when the market dropped, the overall trend has been bullish for nearly a year. Additionally, this is a classic example of a contango market, where prices get more expensive with each subsequent time period in the forwards. Figure 1 also shows that the least expensive calendar year is 2022 and that 2025 is the most expensive.

Topics: Markets NYISO
2 min read

Client Spotlight: Hebrew Home at Riverdale

By 5 on April 29, 2021

The Hebrew Home at Riverdale by RiverSpring Living, located in New York City, serves older adults of all faiths through compassionate care and active community engagement. Guided by Jewish values for over 100 years, Hebrew Home is committed to healthy aging and the highest quality of life through innovative programs and services designed to meet the evolving needs of their residents. Hebrew Home is a nationally recognized long-term care facility that also provides specialized services, including elder abuse prevention and memory care to over 18,000 patients and residents.

Topics: Clients Procurement Sustainability Resiliency
3 min read

The 5 Values

By Jeff Schiefelbein on April 29, 2021

Changing the way businesses approach their overall energy strategy, while simultaneously raising the bar for the entire deregulated power industry, is an audacious goal. When we started 5, we knew that we would need to be intentional about every aspect of our culture to make an impact of this magnitude, starting with The 5 Values.

Topics: Culture
8 min read

¿Quieres saber más sobre la reforma eléctrica?

By 5 (Mexico) on April 28, 2021

Línea del tiempo con los hitos más importantes

29 de enero: AMLO presentó ante la Cámara de Diputados una iniciativa para reformar diversas disposiciones de la Ley de la Industria Eléctrica (LIE) con carácter preferente, por lo que la Cámara de origen cuenta con un máximo de 30 días naturales a partir de la fecha de su presentación para discutirla y votarla. La iniciativa propone 4 principales modificaciones para la LIE[1]:

Topics: Mexico
2 min read

Informe Del Mercado Eléctrico: México Primavera 2021

By 5 (Mexico) on April 28, 2021

ACTUALIZACIONES DEL MERCADO

Topics: Markets Mexico
1 min read

Spotlight – Savings and Flexibility for International Auto Parts Manufacturer

By 5 on April 21, 2021

5’s client in Mexico provides customers around the world with automatic transmissions, the brain of automobiles. As a manufacturer of Continuously Variable Transmissions (CVT, hybrids) for automobiles, the client offers ecological products that maximize vehicle performance.

Topics: Clients Case Studies Procurement Resiliency
10 min read

April 2021 - Quarterly Market Letter

By Jon Moore on April 21, 2021

On behalf of the team at 5, I am pleased to forward our market letter for the first quarter of 2021. This letter focuses on the latest Black Swan event, Uri, the winter storm that hit Texas in mid-February. The storm caused a catastrophic loss of generation and triggered an extended period of extremely high energy prices. This letter provides: (i) a summary and chronology of the legal and regulatory proceedings that Uri has spawned; (ii) a snapshot of how the storm has impacted a variety of market participants including municipal utilities, wind farms, renewable purchasers, commercial and industrial buyers, and the natural gas market; and (iii) an overview of legislative efforts to address electric reliability in ERCOT.

Topics: Markets Natural Gas ERCOT Newsletters Education Resiliency
2 min read

Client Spotlight: The Beck Group

By 5 on April 20, 2021

The Beck Group is an international architecture and construction firm that has designed and built some of the most well-known structures in North America. Based in Dallas, Beck also has offices in Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Denver, Fort Worth, Tampa, Mexico City, and Monterrey. Founded in 1912 by Henry C. Beck, the company began as a general contractor. It can trace its roots back to the original construction of the Cotton Exchange Building and the Cotton Bowl in the 1920s and 1930s. In addition to its design-build expertise, Beck is also involved in sustainability and technology solutions that help its clients operate their facilities cost-effectively.

Topics: Clients Case Studies Procurement Resiliency
1 min read

Spotlight – ESG Planning and Implementation for Auto Parts Manufacturer

By 5 on April 20, 2021

A large global auto parts manufacturer, with multiple facilities across the country, was looking for assistance in developing a comprehensive approach to managing its electricity and natural expenses. Prior to working with 5, this Fortune 200 company was waiting until their current contracts were getting ready to expire before gathering quotes and soliciting offers from various suppliers.

Topics: Clients Case Studies Procurement Sustainability Renewables Resiliency
2 min read

Client Spotlight: Killeen ISD

By 5 on April 5, 2021

Killeen Independent School District (ISD) is a large school district in central Texas that serves the Killeen, Fort Hood, Harker Heights, and Nolanville communities. Approximately 45,500 students in Killeen ISD attend 32 elementary schools, 11 middle schools, 4 high schools, 4 special campuses, a state-of-the-art Career Center, and an Early College High School. There are over 6,800 teachers and staff working across many campuses and facilities who are committed to providing a great education and learning experience to the students they serve.

Topics: Clients Procurement Demand Response
1 min read

Client Spotlight - Spring Creek Towers

By 5 on April 2, 2021

Spring Creek Towers (SCT), commonly known as Starrett City, is a self-contained urban community that is home to approximately 18,000 residents spread out over 46 brick towers on 153 acres overlooking Jamaica Bay in Brooklyn. SCT offers residents a unique mix of amenities within its borders including schools, a shopping center, a post office, and a sports club.

Topics: Clients Procurement Resiliency
1 min read

Get to Know Ellen Northrup

By 5 on March 30, 2021

Ellen Northrup is one of the most experienced and knowledgeable members on our team. Learn how this problem solver's business career took off at such an early age and enjoy hearing about her the famous people she met during the Daytime Emmy awards in New York City.

Topics: People
3 min read

Microgrids are a Macro Deal

By 5 on March 30, 2021

Despite the name, microgrids are a big deal. In fact, microgrids are a hot topic of conversation lately because of the crucial role they play in business continuity and resiliency planning. Thanks to a handful of unpredictable weather events, a wide variety of stakeholders are turning to microgrids to keep power flowing when natural disasters or catastrophic grid failures disrupt the utility grid’s normal operations.

Topics: Demand Response Sustainability Education Resiliency
3 min read

A Return to Normalcy (Sort of)

By 5 on March 30, 2021

Throughout last month’s Winter Storm Uri, NYMEX Henry Hub natural gas prices increased in volatility. Multi-year highs for the prompt month contract (April) along with daily trading ranges almost as high as earlier this winter were experienced. By late February, the winter storm bulls had left the market, and the bears took over. By the middle of March, April’s contract had sold off from the closing price of $3.032/Dth on February 17th to a closing price of $2.483/Dth on March 15th.

Topics: Markets Natural Gas