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The Power Grid’s Glide Path to Reckoning

By Energy Rant No Comments
“The U.S. electrical system is becoming less dependable. The problem is likely to get worse before it gets better.” – The Wall Street Journal, February 18, 2022. I can take down another one of my seven predictions for 2022. Some numbers from the WSJ: in 2000, there were fewer than two dozen major disruptions. In 2020 there were more than 180. Customers experienced over eight hours of disruption (on average) in 2020, more than double the number in 2013 when the government began tracking this metric. The Journal reports several reasons for the rickety grid. The Markets’ Disincentives for Reliability...
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Map of Ukraine

100 Years and 50,000 Feet Over Ukraine

By Energy Rant No Comments
I’m breaking my word from last week’s natural gas shakedown in which I noted I would write about customer intolerance for high energy prices this week. Since then, a kerfuffle has broken out in the Eurasian landmass. I was asked if I might be interested in writing about that, especially regarding energy. No! I don’t know much about it; it won’t impact our energy supply, and we should not get involved. After listening to some podcasts and news clips, my Gallup “strengths” got the best of me. My top four strengths are posted on the left, with a layperson’s definition...
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Natural Gas – Shakedown, 1979

By Energy Rant 2 Comments
My, how quickly some things can change, almost overnight, like natural gas markets. It seems only a year ago we had more natural gas than we could consume, as far as the eye could see. Barely three years ago, I wrote that Permian Basin oil production resulted in flaring off $1 million worth of natural gas per day, during rock bottom prices even. That was enough to fuel 2,500 MW of electricity generation. Customers are pissed off about soaring heating costs, which are 50% higher than a year ago. The chart below shows the NYMEX commodity price for natural gas...
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Reverse Diversification Coming to a Utility Near You

By Energy Rant One Comment
In my Personal Finance class as an undergraduate, our instructor used the term diworsification[1] for large stalwart companies. Diworsification occurs when a company buys another company it knows nothing about and isn’t complimentary to the core business. Utilities got into this in the wild west days of 1990s deregulation, buying telecommunication and even real estate companies. That didn’t end well, and they went back to their core business of the regulated monopoly. In recent years we have experienced a reverse diversification of our power supply – namely in the reliable, conventional, thermal power plant sector. We still get almost half...
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