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EIA Publishes Regional Electricity Supply and Pricing Forecasts Using UPLAN Model

LCG, August 13, 2019--The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) announced that it is revising the presentation and modeling of its forecasts for electricity supply and market hub pricing to better reflect current electricity markets and system operations in the U.S. Beginning with the August 2019 Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), the new forecasting approach models electricity markets using the UPLAN production cost optimization software developed by LCG Consulting. EIA uses the solution results provided by this proprietary model to develop the STEO forecasts of monthly electricity generation, fuel consumption, and wholesale prices.

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Dominion Energy Virginia Pursues 500 MW of Renewable Projects

LCG, August 8, 2019--Dominion Energy Virginia announced Monday that it is seeking bids for up to 500 MW of renewable capacity in both 2021 and 2022 to increase its clean energy resources. Dominion Energy stated that it is committed to having 3,000 MW of solar and wind in operation or under development in Virginia by 2022. This near-term step is part of an ultimate company commitment to reduce carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050 across the 18 states it serves.

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Industry News

EIA Reports U.S. Nuclear Fleet Set New Annual Generation Record in 2018

LCG, March 28, 2019--The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) recently issued a report that carbon-free, electric generation from U.S. nuclear power plants totaled 807.1 million MWh in 2018, topping the previous peak of 807.0 million MWh in 2010, based on preliminary annual data.

The new U.S. nuclear record electric generation with zero carbon emissions was achieved in spite of the closure of seven plants with a combined capacity of approximately 5,300 MW since 2013. Key drivers that led to the new nuclear generation record are: (i) added capacity through uprates, (ii) shorter refueling and maintenance cycles, and (iii) the addition of one new 1,200 MW nuclear power reactor, Tennessee Valley Authority's (TVA) Watts Bar Unit 2 in the fall of 2016.

The combination of uprates, shorter outage durations, and efficiency improvements led the nuclear power fleet in 2018 to see its highest capacity factor on record, at 92.6 percent. The EIA recorded 2,000 MW of thermal power uprates between 2010 and 2018. However, the EIA foresees current market conditions - the combination of relatively low wholesale electricity prices and flat demand growth - do not provide the financial incentives plant owners require to invest in future improvements that would increase output from the existing fleet.

The EIA expects that the 2018 peak level of U.S. nuclear generation is not likely to be surpassed. Based on project information reported to EIA, only two new nuclear reactors are scheduled to come online in the near future. Georgia's Vogtle Units 3 and 4, which are planning to come online in 2021 and 2022, respectively, would provide 2.2 GW of additional power. This new capacity will be more than offset by the capacity that is expected to retire in the next seven years, based on announced retirements. Two reactors (Pilgrim and Three Mile Island) will retire later this year, three more (Duane Arnold, Davis-Besse, and Indian Point 2) in 2020, four more (Indian Point 3, Perry, and Beaver Valley 1 and 2) in 2021, one (Palisades) in 2022, one (Diablo 1) in 2024, and one (Diablo Canyon 2) in 2025. By 2025, U.S. nuclear capacity will fall by 10.5 GW from the closings of twelve reactors.

As more nuclear plants close, EIA projects that net electricity generation from U.S. nuclear power reactors will fall by 17 percent by 2025 in the Annual Energy Outlook 2019 Reference case.
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