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.
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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.
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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.
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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
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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.
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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
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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
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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
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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.