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.
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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.
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Since the dawn of electricity deregulation, most commercial and industrial clients have relied on brokers and sales reps as their primary source of education and strategy development. Clients meet with a different set of sales people to discuss procurement, engineering, demand-side management, sustainability, and resiliency, leading to a fractured decision-making process and piecemeal strategies that lack depth, diversity, harmony, and foresight. When energy prices are falling, the weather is following normal patterns, and suppliers are offering low bids in a race to the bottom, any sales rep or broker running a simple procurement process can appear to be adding value to your business.
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To all businesses and homes in Texas fortunate enough to still have power, please reduce electricity consumption throughout the rest of Monday and Tuesday. The Texas electric grid is experiencing unprecedented strain, and many have been without power since early Monday morning. You can help by reducing the setpoint on your thermostats, turning off and unplugging non-essential lights and appliances, closing shades and blinds, and avoiding use of large appliances (ovens, washing machines, etc).
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On behalf of the team at 5, I am pleased to forward our market letter for the fourth quarter of 2020. This issue revisits the 2020 election and discusses its potential impact on energy policy. Other topics covered include: (i) key energy provisions in the Stimulus Bill passed on December 29, 2020, (ii) green hydrogen, and (iii) the continued shift in generation from coal and nuclear to renewables. We conclude by noting the dramatic spike of LNG prices in Asia, a good reminder that, notwithstanding a long period of depressed pricing, electricity and natural gas remain volatile commodities that must be carefully managed.
Topics: Newsletters Education
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Throughout the rollercoaster of the past year, it is always a pleasure to share positive news that impacts school districts. Recently a new pool of Federal stimulus dollars was earmarked for HVAC upgrades in K-12 schools and many school districts qualify.
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In recent conversations with clients and suppliers, we have noticed the Renewable Energy Credit (REC) has been viewed with some degree of disdain and ridicule. Some of the negative impressions associated with RECs are justified. About a decade ago, the energy industry went through an era of “greenwashing” where many companies made dubious environmental claims, and RECs certainly played a role in some of those cases.
Topics: Sustainability Education Renewables
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Ohio House Bill 6 (HB6), signed into law in July 2019, provided a bailout for two nuclear plants and two coal plants while lowering Ohio’s renewable energy and energy efficiency goals substantially. At the time of its passage, the legislation was treated to a negative reception from the press and the bill faced scrutiny from environmental groups. Following the arrest of former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder, a fierce advocate for HB6, on racketeering charges, Ohio lawmakers are debating whether to repeal the law, and how.
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It’s got Jim Cramer saying it’s “sexy” and natural gas companies betting their futures on it. What are we talking about? Green hydrogen (GH2). And no, GH2 isn’t just hydrogen by another name, it’s hydrogen produced by renewable energy and there are several important reasons why its trending today.
Topics: NYISO Sustainability Education Renewables Resiliency
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Yesterday, November 5th, ERCOT released its Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy (SARA) for the upcoming winter season. In summary, the grid operator expects to have plenty of power plant capacity available this winter. ERCOT expects winter peak demand to top out at 64.5 GW, just shy of the all-time winter peak demand record of 65.9 GWs*.