Energy Policy and Price Outlook for 2012
The U.S. has a long history of interceding in the energy markets. Whether it’s funding oil and gas exploration, regulating electric and gas utility monopolies, granting tax credits for renewable energy production, providing catastrophe insurance for nuclear plants, or regulating smokestack emissions, state and federal governments have been intimately involved in energy production and use for well over a century. Right now, we’re tracking some interesting ongoing energy policy issues that have affected and will continue to affect all of our customers, from electricity generators to corporate energy managers.
Perhaps most notably, in the past few months we’ve seen a surprising dip in natural gas prices—down to what previously was considered impossibly low dollar figures. This drop can be attributed to a variety of factors, but the impact of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 cannot be discounted as having a major influence on these downward pricing trends. A provision in this bill created an exemption to the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act for hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking”), a technique that has allowed massive new investments in drilling for natural gas. As a result, fracking operations have ramped up across the U.S. and the market is now awash in natural gas. The current result is cheap gas prices, but what effects will we see in the future?
Want to learn more? Last week, we hosted the E Source Regulatory and Energy Price Update for Spring 2012, a quarterly web conference that covers how current political events affect supply, demand, and pricing. We also talked about regulatory issues; natural gas supply, demand, and price behavior; macroeconomic indicators; current wholesale power prices and their drivers; and retail electricity rate cases. Check out the archive!
And if that’s not enough for you, on March 1, Kevin Vranes will present the first in a series of Energy Policy Update web conferences. Before joining E Source, Kevin was a staffer in the U.S. Senate as well as a fellow at two academic policy centers. He’ll provide his unique (and usually irreverent) take on federal, state, U.S. regional, and international energy policy moves. He’ll give us a preview of the policy fights of 2012 by blitzing through topics such as gas pipeline construction, grid stability and cybersecurity, fuel economy standards, greenhouse gas controls, coal retirements, emissions rules, and clean energy tax credits. Reserve your spot at the web conference!