CES Spotlight Blog
Q & A from the LDC Gas Forum Panel Discussion
I had the opportunity to speak yesterday at the LDC Gas Forum in Boston as a member of the Gas Buyer’s Panel. I go to the three day LDC Gas Forum for the Northeast region of the US every year. The conference is a who’s who of the natural gas industry, including top executives from utilities, pipelines, suppliers, traders, producers, consultants and end-users. It was fun to represent the interests of CES clients on this panel. For this week’s blog I have included the questions that were asked as well as the answers I gave (as best as I can remember them).
Offshore Wind Takes 1/8th Step Forward
The University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center, along with industry partners of the DeepCWind Consortium, launched VolturnUS, a 1/8th scale floating wind turbine last week. The prototype turbine is small, with only a 20 kW generator, but has the distinction of being the first floating wind turbine in the US. Partners in the DeepCwind consortium have very big goals for floating offshore wind, including driving the price of delivered electricity down to 10 cents per kWh by 2020 and deploying 5,000 MW of wind capacity off the coast of Maine by 2030.
Solar PV: Too Cheap, Too Fast?
The cost of installed Solar PV has plunged over the past few years. Solar is now being installed in the mid to high $2 per watt range, for even small commercial and large residential systems. The drop in prices has been driven by a massive buildup in manufacturing capacity, primarily in China. Signs are emerging that low pricing is causing distress among solar cell manufacturers. We have witnessed some high profile bankruptcies including Suntech, a Chinese company that was once the largest PV manufacturer in the world. The New York Times reported this week about another possible sign of stress - PV manufacturers cutting corners to reduce cost.
North America: Natural Gas Supplier to the World?
Near term natural gas prices jumped Friday afternoon. The reason? The US Department of Energy (DOE) approved natural gas exports by Freeport LNG, an LNG import facility that has proposed a $10 billion reversal to be able to export domestically produced natural gas by ship to Europe and Asia. In Atlantic Canada, there are at least two companies looking at liquefying locally produced natural gas for export by ship. With world prices for natural gas between $10 and $15 per MMBtu, the US market, at $4 per MMBtu, looks very attractive. Should domestic consumers be concerned about US prices for natural gas rising to match world levels? If so, when?