(Bloomberg) Electricity Declines 50% as Shale Spurs Natural Gas Glut

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A shale-driven glut of natural gas has cut electricity prices for the U.S. power industry by 50 percent and reduced investment in costlier sources of energy.

With abundant new supplies of gas making it the cheapest option for new power generation, the largest U.S. wind-energy producer, NextEra Energy Inc. (NEE), has shelved plans for new U.S. wind projects next year and Exelon Corp. (EXC) called off plans to expand two nuclear plants. Michigan utility CMS Energy Corp. (CMS) canceled a $2 billion coal plant after deciding it wasn’t financially viable in a time of “low natural-gas prices linked to expanded shale-gas supplies,” according to a company statement.

Mirroring the gas market, wholesale electricity prices have dropped more than 50 percent on average since 2008, and about 10 percent during the fourth quarter of 2011, according to a Jan. 11 research report by Aneesh Prabhu, a New York-based credit analyst with Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeEnergy, Natural Resources

11 Comments
Posted January 18, 2012 at 5:15 am

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1. Capt. Father Warren wrote:

A shale-driven glut of natural gas has cut electricity prices for the U.S. power industry by 50 percent and reduced investment in costlier sources of energy

Gee, what will they think of next?  Who would have thought that expanding supplies of a domestic energy source could lead to lower prices AND wiser investments?  And unless I missed it in the story, there were no billion dollar Obama Dept of Energy investments involved.  Maybe we’re on to something here?

January 18, 8:54 am | [comment link]
2. Katherine wrote:

Now if they’d only approve that pipeline and some new refineries our gasoline and LPG prices could go down, too.

January 18, 9:47 am | [comment link]
3. Betsybrowneyes wrote:

That is good news! I totally agree with the previous two commenters.

January 18, 10:01 am | [comment link]
4. Cennydd13 wrote:

DITTO!

January 18, 1:09 pm | [comment link]
5. evan miller wrote:

Same here.  The Department of Energy should be abolished

January 18, 1:16 pm | [comment link]
6. Ian+ wrote:

But what about the water pollution and loss of water altogether in some areas that shale gas exploration (hydro-fracking) is causing? I’m not up on the latest info, so I’m just asking.

January 18, 2:23 pm | [comment link]
7. JustOneVoice wrote:

But this is exactly what the current administration does not want.  They want higher prices for energy from fossil fuels so we use less and so that so-called green energy gets more funding.

The fact that this will lower the standard of living is just the price we should all happily pay.

I hope some day we have a good renewable energy source.  Trying to force into full production the technology we have now is a waste of money.  We might make some technological gains, but they are not worth the cost.  I think the government has a role helping with basic core research into materials and processes, and maybe with some proof of concept projects so we can make the technological discoveries that would make renewable economical.  But to put what we have into production now is a waste of money. 

The ironic thing is the current technology is so inefficient that the environmental impact of producing and installing wind, solar, etc.  May be worse than what they prevent.  Especially, when you consider the other pollution reducing methods that the money could have been spent on improving energy production from fossil fuels.

January 18, 2:23 pm | [comment link]
8. BlueOntario wrote:

I like that last bit warning about a rush to build (or rely on) NG powerplants. Boom/bust; repeat cycle.

January 18, 5:24 pm | [comment link]
9. AnglicanFirst wrote:

I wonder how long it will take for those using the environmentalists as an ‘action arm’ to take political and court action to block the extraction of natural gas from shale.

January 19, 10:26 am | [comment link]
10. In Texas wrote:

It won’t take long.  The meme for fracking is that it pollutes groundwater, causes more CO2 compared to regular natural gas production, and also “the sky is falling, the sky is falling”.  It doesn’t matter what the technology is, that we need to get away from “blood oil”, and so on - our entire country must be a National Park.  No mining, no drilling, no more refineries, coal is evil.  There is no source of energy production that doesn’t have some negative consequences - wind turbines are big, ugly, kill birds, and generate subsonic noise pollution.  Solar panels take huge amounts of acerage to approach a reasonable electric production rate - and then you still have to build the transmission lines for which activists fight againts (look at the Xcel solar farm in the Rockies, they have to take over an entire high altitude valley, and they still don’t have the right of ways for transmission lines, ranchers and activists are blocking those).

January 19, 10:56 am | [comment link]
11. Capt. Father Warren wrote:

Just last week I was driving through north Ill. along I-39 between Bloomington and Rockford.  There must be over 100 huge wind turbines out there (someone who lives there can provide the real count).  On Saturday morning, Jan 14 the things sat there limp as could be.  No wind.  And it was cloudy so no solarvoltaic power either.  The outside temp was about 14F.  So without the grid how would you heat your house?  Burn wood?  Oh my, the enviro-wackos would not like that!  Better to freeze and die I guess to “save the planet.”

January 19, 1:43 pm | [comment link]


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