By July 26, 2017 Read More →

US news brief July 26: Residential electricity sales have fallen since 2010

graph of U.S. annual residential electricity sales and sales per capita, as explained in the article text

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Electric Power Annual and U.S. Census Bureau Population estimates

Also in this brief: New York District court dismisses lawsuit challenging Zero Emissions Credit Program, TPG Growth closes acquisition of Discovery Midstream

Following sustained growth through 2010, U.S. residential electricity sales have declined in both absolute and per capita terms, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Although changes in the weather are a key driver of year-over-year fluctuations, energy efficiency improvements and economic factors have contributed to the decline in per capita residential electricity sales since 2010. Residential electricity sales per household declined even more than the absolute or per capita declines, decreasing 9% between 2010 and 2016.

At the state level, per capita residential electricity sales in 2016 ranged from a high of 6,619 kilowatthours (kWh) per person in Alabama to 1,828 kWh/person in Hawaii.

These two states were also the highest and lowest, respectively, in 2010. Although not every state reached its peak per capita residential sales in 2010, only nine states have exceeded their 2010 levels of per capita sales in any year since then.

Weather is a significant driver of variation in residential electricity sales in many states. Warm weather increases electricity demand as houses use air conditioners, fans, dehumidifiers, and other equipment to maintain comfortable temperatures.

The extent to which cold weather influences residential electricity demand depends on heating fuel choices, but many homes use some form of electric heating in winter months.

Several of the states with the highest residential electricity sales per capita, such as Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi, are in the South census region, where electricity is more likely to be the main space heating fuel.

About 60 per cent of Southern homes heat primarily with electricity compared with 22 per cent outside the South.

Some of the states with the largest percentage decline in per capita residential electricity sales were also those with the largest changes in winter weather between 2010 and 2016. Southern states such as South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama had 25% to 30% fewer heating degree days in 2016 compared with 2010, and each saw double-digit percentage declines in per capita residential electricity sales.

graph of changes in electricity sales per capita, and heating degree days, as explained in the article text

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Electric Power Annual and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Investments in energy efficiency have contributed to longer-term declines in residential electricity use.

On average, from 2013 through 2015, electric utilities, energy efficiency program managers, energy service providers, and other entities provided an annual average of $3.92 in energy efficiency incentives per person, according to EIA’s survey of electric power sales, revenue, and energy efficiency.

TPG growth closes acquisition of Discovery Midstream

TPG Growth, the middle market and growth equity platform of global alternative asset firm TPG, today closed its previously announced acquisition of Discovery Midstream, a Dallas-based, full-service midstream provider, according to a press release.

Discovery’s current management team will continue to run the company post-transaction and invested significantly alongside TPG Growth in this transaction.

On June 27, 2017, TPG Growth announced it had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Discovery for an undisclosed sum.

Founded in 2015 by a group of industry veterans, Discovery is a provider of oil and natural gas gathering and natural gas processing services in the southern portion of Colorado’s Denver-Julesburg (DJ) Basin.

The company’s assets, which are strategically located in Weld and Adams counties, are supported by long-term contracts with leading producers in the DJ Basin.

Discovery is currently constructing more than 120 miles of pipeline and a 60 Mmcf/d natural gas processing plant, which is expected to come online in the third quarter of 2017. The company is expanding the plant capacity to 260 Mmcf/d in 2018.

New York District court dismisses lawsuit challenging Zero Emissions Credit Program

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York today dismissed a lawsuit challenging the Zero Emissions Credit (ZEC) program contained in New York’s Clean Energy Standard. Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC) issued the following statement on the decision:

“The court’s decision to dismiss the lawsuit regarding the Zero Emission Credit segment of New York’s Clean Energy Standard (CES) is good news for New York’s climate efforts and citizens across the state because it preserves the most cost-effective source of carbon abatement available to consumers. The CES employs the same legal policy mechanisms that states have been using for years to support investment in other sources of clean energy, such as wind and solar.

“We are confident that the court’s ruling will be respected by state and federal regulators and other policymakers who support the continued operation of the nation’s nuclear plants and the clean, resilient and affordable energy they provide. As policymakers work toward reforms that will ensure that electricity markets properly value carbon, these programs serve as an important bridge to a fully market-based solution.”

The decision marks the second time this month that courts have upheld ZEC programs that support state efforts to advance clean energy and preserve affordable and reliable energy resources for customers. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on July 13 dismissed a lawsuit challenging the ZEC program contained in Illinois’ Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA), which was signed into law in December. Similar to the New York program, the Illinois ZEC program aims to preserve Illinois’ nuclear facilities, which are the state’s largest and most cost-effective source of emissions-free energy.

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