This latest post is an accumulation of recent observations which have a collective theme; that of breaking records. I have been stockpiling these info-bites like Halloween candy all week, ready for your consumption – enjoy!
US COAL EXPORTS
This first point is yet to be achieved, but is mucho, mucho likely. For the EIA pointed out last week that US coal exports this year are growing at a record pace, and are set to post their highest annual level of exports ever. As lower US natural gas prices incentivize an unprecedented shift away from coal-fired generation, coal seeks demand elsewhere on a global scale, namely Europe.
US NATURAL GAS PRODUCTION / STORAGE / EXPORTS
Meanwhile, natural gas production is breaking above the record level it achieved earlier in the year. As increased supplies of gas come to market due to more economical / more efficient shale plays, the recent price rise for natural gas only serves to incentivize more production to restart. This increase has also attributed to a couple of other new records being achieved this week: that of a record storage level at 3,908 Bcf, and the biggest increase in exports to Canada and Mexico since the 1970s.
US PROPANE STOCKPILES
Again, another hat-tip to the EIA, as it showed recently that propane stockpiles finished Q3 at a record level. As liquid rich shale plays such as Eagle Ford ramp up across the US, this increases the supply of NGLs (natural gas liquids) such as propane. Given that both demand and the infrastructure to move these NGLs cannot keep up with supply, inventories are reaching unprecedented heights:
US SOLAR PV GROWTH
Solar photovoltaic capacity growth has reached a record this year. PV capacity nearly doubled in the US in 2011, with utility-scale PV projects showing the greatest expansion (compared to residential, commercial, and industrial sectors). Utility-scale PV capacity has grown from just 70 MW in 2008 to 1,052 MW in 2011. Rock on, utilities.
Finally, it is difficult to talk about records this week and not refer to Sandy. Here are 9 records that the superstorm has blown away.
Thanks for reading…stay safe!