In addition to the dramatic drop in petroleum products demand due to the threat of coronavirus, Saudi Arabia and Russia have begun a production war with the USA, resulting in substantial price volatility. The EIA predicts a 2020 production average of 11.76 million b/d, a reduction from the previous prediction of 12.99 million b/d. American producers have begun to announce plans to cut production during the next few months and stock values of energy firms has fallen by 17%. Denver-based Whiting Petroleum, the “first sizable fracking company to succumb to the crash in oil prices,” has filed for bankruptcy protection.
The EIA has confirmed that wind and solar will make up over 75% of expected 2020 commercial operation capacity additions. This breaks annual capacity records for both wind and solar.
The New York Times reports that renewable energy sources are expected to make up over 20% of the USA’s electricity use in 2020. This amount has been increasing steadily over the past decade.
The EIA reports in 2019, the USA averaged exports of 2.9 million b/d, largely due to growth in the USA’s crude oil production, expanding domestic infrastructure, and increasing global demand.
Maine’s Clean Energy Connect project (runner-up to New Hampshire’s failed Northern Pass project) has won initial approval from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. However, a citizens’ attempt to reject the project has 69,714 signatures, enough to be considered by the Maine Legislature.
The administration of Massachusetts’ Governor Charlie Baker has filed regulations for a Clean Peak Energy Standard, beginning a formal review process with the legislature’s Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy and the Department of Energy Resources. The Clean Peak Energy Standard program was authorized by Massachusetts lawmakers in 2018 and would be the nation’s first.
In 2019, New England experienced the lowest wholesale electric market value since 2003 (when the current market structure was implemented). This was largely due to low demand for electricity combined with near-record-low wholesale electricity prices.
The EIA published a report estimating that pipeline capacity into New England is 5.2 Bcf/day (as of December 2019) but pending projects are expected to increase that capacity by 350 MMcf/day (by 2023).
The planned 1.7MW battery storage project in Westmoreland has been withdrawn by Eversource after failing to receive approval from the Public Utilities Commission. The project would have improved service reliability by serving as a backup during outages and potentially peak demand events.
The Public Utilities Commission has made a temporary update to the commercial & solar rebate program. Changes include an extension of the submission deadline (to April 24), a postponement of the lottery (to May 1, via video conference), and electronic applications. This program was recently re-opened and funding for FY 2020 is approximately $680,000.