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RRA Finds More U.S. Governors Focused on Clean Energy Opportunities

Energy

Power Forecast Briefing: Fleet Transformation, Under-Powered Markets, and Green Energy in 2018

Energy

Power Forecast Briefing: Natural Gas And Coal Dynamics, Pressure On Nuclear, And Southwest Capacity

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Coal Forecast Surging Export Volumes Aid Coal Production As Gas Competition Tightens

Energy
RRA Finds More U.S. Governors Focused on Clean Energy Opportunities

May. 21 2018 — A recent analysis of 2018 state of the state addresses found a focus on the shift to cleaner energy sources and technology, seen by a number of governors as an economic opportunity for their respective states.

Each year, typically before the start of a legislative session or right after, the nation's governors give state of the state addresses before their state legislatures, highlighting the fiscal condition of the state, the prior year's accomplishments and successes, upcoming priorities for the new year, and broad policy proposals.

As part of these addresses, several governors outlined specific energy and water policy initiatives, while others provided a general energy policy direction, according to an analysis of each governor's remarks conducted annually by the RRA team. Renewable energy sources, climate change, infrastructure, energy storage, and energy affordability were some of the more prevalent themes this year.

As costs associated with renewable energy and distributed energy technologies have continued to decline and a focus on climate change shifted from the federal government to corporations, cities, and states in 2017, governors around the country spoke to efforts underway to capitalize on a shift away from fossil fuels and centralized power sources. A transition to cleaner energy sources is also being viewed as an economic opportunity, and governors have begun to convey that message as well, as seen in Colorado and Hawaii. The governors of other states, such as California, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Vermont, have tied clean energy goals to efforts to deaccelerate climate change and increase resiliency.

State Renewable Portfolio Standards

In addition to increasing renewable portfolio standards, a number of states have set energy storage goals. In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo in his address called on the state to increase its storage target of 1,500 MW by 2025. Since then, legislation has been introduced that would require the New York Public Service Commission to establish by order, rules and regulations, for both a state energy storage goal by 2030 and a deployment policy to support the goal by December 31, 2018. And in Massachusetts, Governor Charlie Baker offered updates on the state's energy storage investments; a measure under review in the Massachusetts House would increase its energy target to 1,766 MW.

Already a Market Intelligence subscriber? Check out RRA's full report covering energy-related topics addressed by the governors this year.

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Watch: Power Forecast Briefing: Fleet Transformation, Under-Powered Markets, and Green Energy in 2018

Steve Piper shares Power Forecast insights and a recap of recent events in the US power markets in Q4 of 2017. Watch our video for power generation trends and forecasts for utilities in 2018.

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Jun. 20 2018 — Steve Piper shares his Q1 2018 analysis and power market insights along with guidance from our Power Forecast solution on the Market Intelligence platform. The next guidance report will be released around mid-July 2018.

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Coal Forecast Surging Export Volumes Aid Coal Production As Gas Competition Tightens

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Higher export volumes aid coal production as gas competition tightens domestically

Jul. 20 2017 — Coal production made gains through June as modest electricity demand to open the summer was offset by stronger exports. Weekly shipments for June came in 24% higher than the same period last year, continuing the improved production results for 2017. However, easing natural gas prices during June provided little headroom for thermal coal prices. The NYMEX CAPP eased by $0.25/ton (0.5%) for the month, while the NYMEX PRB gained $0.24/ton (2.2%).

Natural gas prices traded lower during June than in May, with low electricity demand doing little to clear surplus storage. After opening the month at $3.05/mmBtu, Henry Hub spot prices varied during mid-month from $2.85-3.12/mmBtu, before closing at $3.07/mmBtu. Natural gas remains in a moderate surplus, with June injections trailing modestly below historical averages. Storage levels as of June 23 stood at 2,816 Bcf, 182 Bcf above five-year averages. The surplus restrained natural gas markets during the month, with warmer weather the last week of June kicking off the cooling season and providing a boost to prices.

Coal inventories remain in surplus as well, with April stockpiles growing to just over 166 million tons, 9.3% above normal. The growth in inventory corresponds to estimated displacement of coal from natural gas generation resulting from Henry Hub prices declining by 20 cents per mmBtu. Looking ahead to the summer season, robust cooling demand could add 1.5 million tons per week to production, which would drive coal production to levels not seen since the summer of 2015. For the four weeks ending June 24, coal shipments averaged 15.5 million tons, as demand into the summer season picks up. Production levels continue to improve overall, about 24% higher than the same period last year. Inventories remain above normal, and low electricity demand shoulder season may do little to clear them, tending to keep a lid on prices.

Higher natural gas prices have boosted coal demand for the first half of 2017, especially compared to the dramatic loss of demand that occurred during the first half of 2016. However, surpluses linger in both the coal and natural gas markets going in to summer. If electricity demand remains low, growth in coal production could taper during the peak season.

On the improved demand picture for the year, the CAPP and NAPP coal regions are projected to beat 2016 production levels. A firmer natural gas strip, easing coal retirements during the year, and stronger seaborne metallurgical markets all contribute to the improved outlook. The markets for Illinois Basin and Southern PRB are also projected to rebound by 44 million tons this year on improved price competitiveness.

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