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.
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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).
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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.
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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.
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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
5 min read
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.
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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
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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
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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.
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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?”