Tag Archives: Solar

Cheap Energy Works its Magic

Cheap Energy Works its Magic, the October issue of TerraJoule.us, suggests that after a dismal year for global growth, Non-OECD economies are finally ready to pick up speed and that cheap energy, from all sources, stands ready to fund better global growth:

Largely due to aging populations, future growth in developed markets (DM) will be mostly constrained well into the future. Japan of course is the central factor in this constraint, and Europe is close behind. The main uncertainty in the future of any DM growth outlook centers exclusively, therefore, on the US. If the US undertakes a long overdue infrastructure buildout program, and innovation spreads to second tier US cities, then the US economy could effectively counter the structural weakness in Japan and the EU, and lift DM growth higher overall.

However, we don’t need to fret quite so much about the near term-direction of DM growth, because EM growth is already picking up. The IMF now expects EM growth in 2016 to average 4.2%, up from 4.1% in their prior forecast. The IMF also sees EM growth rising to 4.6% in 2017. Despite a concurrent downgrade of DM growth, the higher EM growth forecast bodes well for global growth. In fact, it bodes very well. The next unit of energy consumption, infrastructure expansion, and technology deployment is far likelier to take place in EM, regardless. Moreover, the 5 billion people in the developing economies contain tremendous, pent-up development potential. It is why, as one example, TerraJoule.us has paid particular attention to India as that country undertakes a revolutionary effort to bring 350 million citizens into the electricity system.

In the continuously updating TerraJoule.us Global Grid Decarb Monitor, the forecast for power generation growth from wind and solar is revised upward this month. We now expect that in 2017, a full 35% of the marginal growth in global power generation will come exclusively from these two sources..

Finally, The TerraJoule.us Transition Index, composed of 70% ETFs and 30% individual equities, rose to 103.51 to finish the month of August, having started the new year at a notional value of 100.

–Gregor Macdonald, Editor of TerraJoule.us – A Journal of Energy Transition.

The New Dependency – Natural Gas

The New Dependency – Natural Gas, the July issue of TerraJoule.us, takes a look at the success of natural gas to embed itself in the global energy system, at a time when LNG exports are rising, leading to a world pricing system. In particular, recent data shows that the United States is developing natural gas capabilities along two fronts: increasing exports not only by ship but by pipeline, while at the same time becoming more reliant itself on the resource. From this month’s issue:

US exports of natural gas in LNG form have only just begun. And yet, 2016 NG exports on annualized basis are taking off more strongly than expected, in part, from the next leg of NG pipeline exports to gas-hungry Mexico. This quieter, more incremental growth of NG exports has been building more slowly the past 2-3 years. But when we add pipeline exports to the unfolding wave of new LNG capacity, it now seems likely that total NG exports from the US will exceed all forecasts, including TerraJoule.us’, by the year 2020.

For example, the US last year was exporting, on a daily basis, 4.88 bcf/d (1718 bcf/365). This year, 2016, the US is on pace to export 5.80 bcf/d (2124/366). TerraJoule.us has been forecasting that the US will be exporting at minimum 12.82 bcf/d by the years 2020-2022. This is based on the simple calculation of approved LNG projects. But given the strong growth in natural gas by pipeline, it now seems likely the US will be exporting at least 15 bcf/d by 2020-2022 (Or, 5465 bcf annually).

The more intriguing question to ask, however, is  whether natural gas prices can really stay at current levels through that time. TerraJoule.us has been wrong, since late 2014, in asserting that the buildout of new US LNG capacity would take US NG prices higher.

What does seem clear, however, is that barring a new global recession, US NG prices have certainly seen the price lows. In the years 2016-2020 therefore, there will be a continual tug-of-war between the rollout of new global dependency on natural gas, operational expenses of the LNG infrastructure required to serve this demand growth, and the geological realities of NG supply. …

If you accept the proposition that natural gas prices have finally bottomed, then you might be more likely to agree with the following proposition: the production growth required between now and 2020 to serve both domestic demand and exports is large enough to finally move the price of NG higher… This risk in no way conflicts with the TerraJoule.us view that recoverable NG resources in North America are vast. Rather, it’s the pace of demand that poses such risk.

In the continuously updating TerraJoule.us Global Grid Decarb Monitor, the forecsast for power generation growth from solar is revised upward, due to better than expected deployment in the world’s solar leader: China..

Finally, The TerraJoule.us Transition Index, composed of 70% ETFs and 30% individual equities, fell to 98.30, having started the new year at a notional value of 100. The Index plays a favored super-theme of TerraJoule.us: that the global economy is transitioning away from liquid fossil fuels, to the powergrid. And, that the costs of fossil fuel extraction and combustion increasingly place the energy-capture technologies of wind and solar power in a favorable position. Industrial names in the index continue to perform well in 2016, while the basket of solar equities continues to underperform.

–Gregor Macdonald, Editor of TerraJoule.us – A Journal of Energy Transition.

Cheap Energy to the Rescue: March Issue of TerraJoule.us

Slide1Each issue of TerraJoule.us contains: a Main Essay, the Model Portfolio, the Data Brief, and a link to a Downloadable Podcast. Gregor Macdonald, Editor.

Readers may purchase each issue individually, through Ganxy.com: Purchase.

Or, readers may also take a 12 month subscription through Gumroad.com: TerraJoule.us Monthly eBook  Annual Subscription.

Podcast: This month’s podcast is open to the public. To listen, head over to SoundCloud.

Model Portfolio: The TerraJoule.us model portfolio is down -9.95% since inception and is up +4.80% in 2015. There are no changes to the model portfolio this month.

From this month’s issue:

The magnitude of China’s slowdown has become rather pronounced, and is best observed in the progress of its electricity generation. For much of the last decade, China’s annual growth in electricity generation ran in the double digits—sometimes as high as 12% per annum. For the period 2004-2014, however, that average growth rate has now fallen to 9.44%, as slower years following 2010 have pulled the average downward. TerraJoule.us has been able to source China’s data through October of 2014, and annualizing those figures indicates that China’s power generation growth has fallen to just 4.2% in 2014, compared to the prior year. There are a couple of ways to think about this trend. First, the more general weakness in global demand is reflected in China’s weaker manufacturing sector. Second, this is precisely the slow growth that makes it possible for renewables to gain market share, as coal lags. And finally, the world economy simply awaits China’s next advance in energy consumption. While many think this is a secular slowdown, the example of the US after its heavy industrial phase is instructive. The US consumer economy actually drove energy demand for many decades, after 1960, which saw demand nearly double over the following 40 years. There remains significant upside risk, therefore, in China’s energy demand over the next next several decades.  |  see: China Electricity Generation in TWh 2004-2014.

“TerraJoule.us eBook – Cheap Energy to the Rescue – March 2015” by Gregor Macdonald – Editor on Ganxy

Renewables at the Zero Bound: February Issue of TerraJoule.us

Slide1Each issue of TerraJoule.us contains: a Main Essay, the Model Portfolio, the Data Brief, and a link to a Downloadable Podcast. Gregor Macdonald, Editor.

Readers may purchase each issue individually, through Ganxy.com: Purchase.

Or, readers may also take a 12 month subscription through Gumroad.com: TerraJoule.us Monthly eBook  Annual Subscription.

Podcast: This month’s podcast is restricted to purchasers and subscribers.

From this month’s issue:

Depending on your position in the market, the recent and rapid growth of California wind+solar power generation is either joyous, or havoc-inducing. As you can see in the chart below, using the most recent data, combined wind+solar are increasing their share in California quite steadily, in a market that is mostly flat, and without growth. | see: Annual CA Power Generation in Thousand MWh: Ex-Wind+Solar (black) | Wind+Solar(checked) 2010-2014. 

As recently as 2010, combined wind+solar were providing just 6,848 thousand MWh (megawatt hours) in an annual market that generated  nearly 205,000 thousand MWh. But now in 2014, (annualized through the first three quarters), combined wind+solar generation has reached 25,650 thousand MWh in a market that really hasn’t grown—still slightly above 200,000 thousand MWh per year. The implications are clear. Combined wind+solar now provide 12.82% of California’s power generation from all sources. (Note: Although the 2014 data is annualized through the first 3 quarters the full year data will show additional growth and thus additional market share from combined+wind and solar generation). 

Moreover, as has begun to happen in Europe, combined wind+solar even from low penetration levels have started to eat the lunch of the utility sector. The two renewable energy sources are increasingly doing the heavy lifting powergrids require during peak loads: providing the electricity needed as the world turns to power for cooling, and as a greater portion of global GDP runs on the back not of oil, but MWh. Exciting, but also intimidating!

“TerraJoule.us eBook – Renewables at the Zero Bound – February 2015” by Gregor Macdonald – Editor on Ganxy

Investing for Energy Transition: November Issue of TerraJoule.us

Each issue of TerraJoule.us contains: a Main Essay, the Model Portfolio, the Data Brief, and a link to a Downloadable Podcast. Gregor Macdonald, Editor.

Readers may purchase each issue individually, through Ganxy.com: Purchase.

Or, readers may also take a 12 month subscription through Gumroad.com: TerraJoule.us Monthly eBook  Annual Subscription.

Podcast: Please enjoy this month’s podcast for free, at SoundCloud: TerraJoule.us November podcast.

From this month’s issue:

No country better illustrates the three phases of energy transition than the United States, which was damaged initially by the energy shock, then struggled and stagnated for five years, and is now starting recover. An excellent way to measure this story has been to follow energy expenditures, which rose sharply on oil’s initial repricing, crashed during the crisis, rose again during the early part of the recovery, and are now falling.  | see: US Annual Energy Expenditures as a Percent of GDP 2004-2014. The United States has been busily constructing new wind and solar capacity, and taking advantage of its very cheap and plentiful supply of natural gas. All the while, Americans have been dumping their demand for oil—which remains expensive despite the recent seasonal decline from $100 to $80. Accordingly, energy expenditures as a percent of GDP are in a four year downtrend, and at 8% are back to levels last seen in 2005. A reminder: upfront costs for the deployment of wind and solar can be high, but the ROI starts immediately and actually increases as time moves forward. The US is now vying with China to be the biggest world mover in the buildout of wind+solar. This pathway will pay increasing dividends as time progresses. We should expect the downtrend in energy expenditures to continue, with gains distributed to the US economy in the form of wealth and GDP.

US Annual Energy Expenditures as a Percent of GDP 2004-2014

Also in this month’s issue:

The model portfolio as of 31 October 2014 is down – 4.26% since the inception date,  April 1, 2013. The portfolio remains fully invested. There are no changes this month to the portfolio’s composition. 

“TerraJoule.us eBook – Investing for Energy Transition – November 2014” by Gregor Macdonald – Editor on Ganxy

Combined Global Wind+Solar

A copy of this post is sent directly to all readers and subscribers of TerraJoule.us

Dear Reader,


Thankyou for your interest in TerraJoule.us. If you’ve not had a chance to read the latest issue, Big Trends in Global Energyit’s available now.

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Model Portfolio: Up +9.48% Since Inception

The TerraJoule.us model portfolio, at mid month, is currently up +9.48% since inception (April 1, 2013). The portfolio’s cash level is currently at 14.37%. We will continue to deploy this cash in August, and September.

Annual Subscription

All annual subscribers to TerraJoule.us, using the Gumroad platform, receive their latest issue automatically on the first day of the calendar month. Subscribe today.

Free Issue

To understand better the TerraJoule.us call for the next repricing of oil, the May issue, Here Comes Oil, is available at no charge. Thankyou for your support and readership.

Mid-Month Data Update

As discussed in this month’s issue, Big Trends in Global Energy, combined Wind+Solar composed over 12% of the total growth of global energy consumption last year. This is unquestionably impressive.

However, we must remember that combined Wind+Solar still form a very small part of the ongoing global power mix. In 2013, total global electricity generation stood at 23,127 TWh (terawatt hours). Of this, total generation from combined Wind+Solar stood at 753 TWh, or just 3.25% of the total

That said, TerraJoule.us is forecasting that by 2025 combined Wind+Solar will provide at least 10% of total global power generation. To see which countries are in a leadership position already, see the below chart of Global Wind+Solar Consumption in TWh 2013. The US consumed 178.7 TWh of combined Wind+Solar in 2013, with China just following at 143.8 TWh. The US and China are unquestionably on the verge of supersizing their Wind+Solar resources further, with enormous project pipelines building quickly. As discussed in last month’s issue, India Unleashed, the third main country to watch now is India. (click on image for larger chart hosted at Tableau.)



Next Issue of TerraJoule.us

The next issue of TerraJoule.us will be published Friday August 1, 2014.

Thanks so much for reading TerraJoule.us, and we hope to see you again next month.

-Gregor Macdonald


____________________
Gregor Macdonald
Editor, of TerraJoule.us Monthly ebook
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India Unleashed: June Issue of TerraJoule.us

c3574680-946c-4c1b-860b-0e97942f421dEach issue of TerraJoule.us contains: a Main Essay, the Model Portfolio, the Data Brief, and a link to a Downloadable Podcast. Gregor Macdonald, Editor.

Readers may purchase each issue individually, through Ganxy.com: Purchase.

Or, readers may also take a 12 month subscription through Gumroad.com: TerraJoule.us Monthly eBook  Annual Subscription.

Free link to this month’s podcast: India Unleashed at SoundCloud.

For nearly twenty years the world has watched the command economy of China sprint through a massive industrial revolution while India, a fractious democracy, has largely stagnated. The landslide victory of the pro-growth BJP Party in last month’s elections, however, signals the most important new direction for India in over half a century. Consider that India has 90% of the population of China, but only 20% of the energy consumption, and the scope of the growth potential becomes more clear. This month, we consider two energy scenarios for a broadly growing India. One path leads to an All of the Above strategy, with India increasing energy inputs from all sources. The other emphasizes renewables, enough so to kick the trajectory of global wind and solar power to even higher levels of growth. Regardless of which path India takes, the potential new call on energy resources is roughly equal to the 400M Indians currently unserved by any energy at all: a veritable new country arriving on the world stage. The direction India takes will become, in effect, the energy path of the world.

A newly ascending India is going to have its greatest impact on coal, natural gas, wind and solar. The All of the Above scenario would rely heavily on coal; with natural gas, wind and solar filling in the gaps. Should India take this path the Second Age of Coal will last long after the year 2025. The other direction, the Strong Wind+Solar path, leads more forcefully towards natural gas, wind, and solar. Indeed, using natural gas as a growth anchor, (and yes, increased oil use as part of a broader economic expansion) India could restrain its own coal growth to just a 10% total increase to 2025. In such a scenario the new global call on coal is light, while the call on natural gas and renewables is enormous. Our task is to ultimately project how these two very different directions would impact the global energy mix.

Also in this month’s issue:

Model Portfolio Update: The TerraJoule.us Model Portfolio, which began April 1, 2013, is up +9.28% since inception. Cash levels remain elevated after selling down positions this Spring. We will continue to use the summer months to add back exposure.  Accordingly, we will make two changes to the model portfolio as of the New York close, on Monday June 2, 2014. 

Data Brief:

In 2008, the Non-OECD passed two historic milestones. As of that year, more than 50% of Non-OECD persons became city-dwellers. And in the same year, the five billion people in the Non-OECD for the first time consumed slightly more than 50% of total world energy. We have been anticipating therefore the next crossover point: when Non-OECD demand for oil would also outdistance OECD demand. While data on crude oil alone is hard to come by, according to the EIA, this crossover point occurred this April, when the Non-OECD consumed more oil, natural gas liquids, and other petroleum products, than the OECD. Alas, we cross another threshold.

“TerraJoule.us eBook – India Unleashed – June 2014” by Gregor Macdonald – Editor on Ganxy

Invasive Solar: December Issue of TerraJoule.us

TerraJoule Cover IMAGE - DecemberEach issue of TerraJoule.us contains: a Main Essay, a Model Portfolio, a Data Brief, and a link to a Downloadable Podcast. Gregor Macdonald, Editor.

Readers may purchase each issue individually, through Ganxy.com: Purchase.

Or, readers may also take a 12 month subscription through Gumroad.com: TerraJoule.us Monthly eBook – Annual Subscription.

Listen now to this month’s podcast for free, at SoundCloud: TerraJoule.us Podcast: December 2013.

The theme of this month’s publication, Invasive Solar, is that during the economy’s slow growth phase, when demand for fossil fuels remains well below trend, renewables and in particular solar are solutions that have come in to exploit a number of legacy shortcomings in the global energy system. In particular, along with natural gas, renewables and solar are becoming disruptive. How so? Well, in the case of solar, it’s growth rate is soaring at a time of broad economic stagnation in the OECD. Even at a time when demand for electricity is flat, to falling. That is quite unusual:

The TerraJoule.us database of solar growth indicates that global capacity this year will have moved from 100 GW to 142 GW. Next year, with China, Japan, and the US leading the way, the world will move to at least 175 GW of capacity. However, we think that the world could add as much as 52 GW of solar next year, with surprising contributions coming from the aggregated growth of smaller markets such as Malaysia, South Korea, and India. By the end of 2014 therefore, the world could see 190 GW of capacity. As a result of conversations this year with solar research analysts based in San Francisco, Boston, and London, we should see several years between 2015 and 2020 when the big three leaders of China, Japan, and the US, will be supported by new growth in many of these smaller markets. Finally, there will also be a return to higher growth rates in Europe.

The December issue also discusses the performance of the Model Portfolio, which is up +4.42% to date. There are also changes to the model portfolio, effective at the close of trading Monday December 2, 2013.

As of November 30, 2013 the TerraJoule.us Model Portfolio is little changed from last month, and is up +4.42% since inception. By comparison, in the same time period, the SP500 is up +15.6% and the ETF which follows Oil and Gas supermajors, IXC, is up 8.32%. As a reminder, the TerraJoule.us model portfolio is a lower-risk vehicle, which has its eye on playing the great transition from liquid fossil fuels to the powergrid. This is both a disruptive and a growth constrained landscape, in which the model portfolio intends to thrive—but importantly—must survive to take part in the global growth phase coming in the second half of this decade.

To purchase a single issue through Ganxy.com, please follow the link below:

“TerraJoule.us December 2013” by Gregor Macdonald – Editor on Ganxy