Category Archives: Natural Gas

5 Energy Predictions for 2011: Solar Soars As Fossil Fuel Costs Grow

gas-pump1The year ahead appears poised to be another wild ride for the energy sector. A recovering US economy combined with continued strength in China and India will send oil and coal prices toward highs not seen since 2008. Meanwhile, solar and wind power will become increasingly attractive investments and grow their share of Continue reading

US Wind Potential Estimate More Than Triples

wind-farmThis month brought another exciting piece of news for those of us hoping the US will transition to renewable energy in the years ahead. Not only did the US add a record amount of wind capacity in 2009, but new data show that the potential supply of wind power is almost infinite relative to our electricity consumption. The US government agency that deals with renewables, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), finally updated their study of onshore wind resources (since the last comprehensive study in 1993). They now estimate that wind power Continue reading

Wind & Solar Poised to Supply New Demand

wind-farmThe recession was supposed to slow down white-hot renewable energy growth. A lack of financing and tax equity was to reduce the wind and solar markets as much as 50% in 2009. Instead, last year brought new records in capacity additions. Wind power in the US grew Continue reading

Some balance returning to US fuel inventories

oiltanksThe Energy Information Administration (EIA) just released its weekly reports on petroleum and natural gas supply and demand. They both showed the beginnings of a return to balance in the American fuel market. While demand remains low for oil and its refined products, supply is moving lower for equilibrium. The same is happening for Continue reading

EIA: US emissions diving more than 4% in 2009

climatechange1As I wrote last month would probably happen, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) lowered its estimate for fossil fuel energy demand in 2009, translating into a huge drop in greenhouse gas emissions. Emissions projections for coal, oil, and natural gas were all lowered in its July Short Term Energy Outlook — meaning, by my calculations, that US emissions are expected to fall Continue reading

Solar quickly approaching grid parity

solarSolar module prices are falling so fast that solar may be able to cost-effectively compete with fossil fuels within a matter of months. The latest bit of news confirming astounding price drops was from China’s LDK Solar. LDK is a producer of the main component of solar modules (wafers). While their second quarter guidance showed a boost in shipments, it also lowered their revenue expectations, translating into a cost per watt of Continue reading

Recession keeps a lid on fuel prices

gas-pump1The recent oil price rally has taken a break due to the persistence of recessionary low demand. While lower prices may finally translate into lower crude oil and natural gas output in July 2009 than in 2008, US demand numbers show little sign of recovery. This reality makes it tough for renewable energy to compete currently, but is a relief to Continue reading

The Human Toll of Fossil Fuel Use

coal-minersMost of my posts have focused on the environmental and public health impacts of burning fossil fuels due to their greenhouse gas emissions. But the 16 deaths from a liquefied petroleum gas explosion on an Italian train today are an important reminder that reduced emissions are not the only benefit from efficiency and Continue reading

Oil prices rise, but supply still high

oiltanksPump prices are about to hit $2.70 per gallon nationwide, and oil has remained above $70 per barrel for several days. Most of the increase has come on expectations of economic recovery – like today’s increase in projection for China’s 2009 growth to 7.2% rather than 6.5% by the World Bank. But even more positive economic news will struggle to increase prices much more unless fuel inventories fall from Continue reading

EIA Report: US emissions to tank ~3.5% in ’09

climatechangeThe US Energy Information Agency (EIA) has further lowered its emissions projection for 2009 this month, as I said in May was likely. Lower coal consumption drives the reduction, based on the drop in industrial demand for fuel and the substitution by natural gas for coal for Continue reading