The power sector has been vastly affected by this recent and unprecedented heat wave that has hit the United States. In fact, last month was historically significant as the hottest in recorded history.
So, it comes as no surprise that energy demand and electricity usage soared last month as a result, and demand is still high in August.
But as the EIA has stated in a recent report, the mixture of the high temperature and the low price of natural gas has proven to be a record-setting month for natural gas use in the country. And because Texas is already one of the leading energy consumers and producers, you can bet that this is affecting the Lone Star State heavily.
Quick Facts About Texas Natural Gas
In this overview, the EIA shows just how much oil and natural gas that Texas produces: in 2017 alone Texas accounted for 24% of the nation’s natural gas production. Additionally, the EIA has data that shows that “Texas is the largest energy-producing state and the largest energy-consuming state in the nation.”
And as the Department of the Interior recently announced regarding the oil reserves in the Permian Basin, there is about 281 trillion cubic feet of natural gas stored there. These are technically continuous resources as well.
Natural Gas Prices Are Extremely Low In Texas Right Now
According to Reuters, Texas uses the most natural gas for generating power than any other state. To drive this usage up even more, there is a record-setting abundance of natural has in the Permian basin. So as demands for electricity generation increase because of the summer, cheap gas is being used to generate electricity more frequently.
Reuters also states that “the Waha Hub in West Texas, which touched a record low of negative $9/mmBtu in April.” This is strongly correlated with the strong shift from coal to natural gas usage in recent years.
But how is this affecting electricity prices for consumers and wholesalers?
A Resultant Rise in Electricity Prices?
According to data curated by Bloomberg, “The unprecedented market rally highlights how volatile the Texas power market has become as coal-fired power plants, which have seen their profits squeezed by cheap natural gas and renewable energy resources, continue to close.”
So yes, because natural gas has been thriving, prices have been climbing. Because after all, in a July that has seen record after record, prices hit a record high this week with a 36,000% increase in wholesale electricity prices.
And this is all compounded by a smaller than usual amount of wind-generated electricity in the region.
Overall though, with natural gas production as high as it has been this month, as per the previous EIA report, will prices continue to rise or will they soon level out? And just like the temperature, what goes up must eventually come down. Let’s hope that it’s sooner than later!