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BOMA Boston Webinar: Market Update

Usource was honored to participate in the October 2020 BOMA Boston Market Update Webinar. BOMA Boston provides members with the resources needed to thrive in the ever-changing commercial real estate industry through effective leadership, education, networking, and advocacy. Usource’s own Lisa Cochran provided insight into the energy market and energy management opportunities that are available today.

Click here to watch the webinar replay.

Usource Collaborates with BIA on New Resource for Manufacturers

In a partnership to benefit New Hampshire’s manufacturers, Usource and the Business & Industry Association (BIA) of New Hampshire are pleased to offer an online platform exclusively for manufacturers to become suppliers to other manufacturers around the country, or search for suppliers from around the country.

Manufacturers Marketplace is the marketplace for all your supply chain needs. It was developed by the National Association of Manufacturers to be the most comprehensive, unique, searchable buyer and seller network of manufacturers in the United States. Importantly, by becoming a BIA member you can access the marketplace at no cost if you sign up before November 1st. (A $2,500 annual savings.)

Click here to learn more >>

Adequate Power System Resources for 2023-2024

The auction clearing price was the lowest in New England’s capacity market history.

New England’s annual capacity auction for power system resources concluded with sufficient resources to meet peak demand for 2023 through 2024. ISO New England Inc. runs the auction to procure the resources needed to meet consumer demand for electricity in three years. The 14th Forward Capacity Market (FCM) primary auction closed at a preliminary clearing price of $2.00 per kilowatt-month across New England, compared to $3.80/kW-month in last year’s auction.

“New England’s competitive wholesale electricity markets are producing record low prices, delivering unmistakable economic benefits for consumers in the six-state region,”

– Robert Ethier, Vice President for System Planning, ISO New England

Forward Capacity Market Auction Basics
The annual FCM auction is held three years before each capacity commitment period to provide time for new resources to be developed. Capacity resources can include traditional power plants, renewable generation, imports, and demand resources such as load management and energy-efficiency measures. Resources that clear in the auction will receive a monthly capacity payment in that future year in exchange for their commitment to provide power or curtail demand when called upon by the ISO. Resources that fail to meet their capacity commitment during a shortage event must refund part of their capacity payment; this refunded money goes to resources that over-performed during the shortage event. The capacity market is separate from the energy market, where resources with and without a capacity commitment compete on a daily basis to provide power and are paid for the electricity they produce. Learn More from ISO New England.

Coal Industry Shrinks - Largest U.S. Coal Company Bankrupt

Despite federal and state-level initiatives to support coal, the industry continues to shrink as utilities embrace alternative generation sources. The largest private coal company in the U.S., Murray Energy, filed for bankruptcy earlier this year in 2019. The end of Murray Energy was on par with the aggressive pace of coal retirements that have occurred in recent years.

As seen above in Figure 1, the bubble sizes represent the total capacity of coal retirements in the respective years. Coal units that retired after 2015 were larger and newer than those that retired before 2015. Courtesy of: NextEra Energy Resources

The pipeline of coal retirements continues to grow and forecasters indicate that between 2020 and 2025, a total of 20.8 GW of retirements is expected. On average, nearly 3.5 GW of coal will be retired every year during this time period.

The replacement of coal plants is driven by low natural gas prices, clean energy policies and stagnating power demand. In many markets where gas sets the marginal cost of power, power prices have been below the operating costs of the coal-fired plants. In resource planning, utilities are embracing new gas-fired plants and renewables due to their lower operating costs.

In the past year, five states – California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New Mexico, and the District of Columbia raised their renewable portfolio standards (RPS) to 40 percent or more by 2030. Clean energy polices such as RPS programs could drive growth from new renewable resources and depress energy and capacity process for all types of generation technologies.

What Does This Mean for You?

These new standards will likely result in increased costs for compliance that will be passed through to consumers. How those costs will be charged may vary by individual supplier. Some may choose to include it in their fixed-price offer while others may elect to have it as a distinct pass-through charge. Because suppliers will handle this differently, it will be important to analyze each supplier price offer when getting bids to be sure you are comparing apples to apples. At Usource we do this analysis for our clients to help ensure no unexpected or hidden charges hit their energy bills after contract signing.

It's Your Choice - Make it a Good One

As a business, you have three options at the time of your energy contract renewal period:

  1. Re-contract with a supplier
  2. Return to your local utility for supply
  3. Do nothing.

Should you do nothing, your existing supplier will put your company on what is often called ‘rollover’ or ‘holdover’. Rollover rates and budget uncertainty can be avoided with proper planning and action. Instead of waiting until a month or two before your energy contract renewal date, take a strategic approach to your energy procurement by monitoring the market throughout the term of your energy contract. By doing so, you position your company to take advantage of market buying opportunities as they arise, rather than accepting a price just because you need to process your energy contract renewal. A number of our clients have decided to lock into renewal pricing now. Other proactive clients have engaged us to get contract renewal prices and decided to continue to monitor the markets for the time being. Some of the key market trends are as follows:

  • NY – Currently trading with the lowest power pricing for 2020 and beyond.
  • New England – Market has seen a 10% increase from all-time lows established back in July but still a great opportunity.
  • PJM – Market has seen a 5% increase from all-time lows established back in July, however this could begin to move up as the Governor of Pennsylvania is taking the necessary steps to join in the regional greenhouse gas initiative which would have upside pricing pressure.
  • Natural gas – storage has finally posted a surplus versus the five-year average for the first time since September 2017.
  • WeatherNOAA’s winter forecast is calling for above average temperatures in the East.

For our clients that are making a decision about when to enter into their next fixed-price contract, we think it’s a good idea to engage us in pricing your renewal now. Pricing may look attractive enough to jump on, and if not, at the very least you’ve established a benchmark that we can actively monitor so you can be well positioned to pull the trigger at the right time. The critical piece to buying at the right time is to avoid being complacent. Whether your renewal is in 6 months for 30 months, it pays to engage Usource to actively monitor and price your renewal contracts.

Usource Provides RECs for 2019 MABFM

MABFM RECs

HAMPTON – October 15, 2019 – Usource, a premier energy advisory firm to large commercial, industrial and institutional organizations, announced today that it will provide renewable energy credits to the 2019 Mid-Atlantic Buildings & Facilities Management Show & Conference (MABFM) held at the New Jersey Convention Center in Edison, New Jersey. Usource, together with Carbon Solutions Group, will donate Green-e™ certified renewable energy credits (RECs) for the event. This joint donation will match 100 per cent of the estimated electricity consumption at the event held November 6th. “We are pleased to work with MABFM to highlight the importance of renewable energy credits, and have the event be a positive example for sustainability.” said Scott MacDonald, Managing Director at Usource. “At Usource, we are increasingly working with businesses to integrate solutions such as renewable energy credits into their energy management strategies.” This year’s MABFM conference is expected to host over 200 exhibitors and hundreds of attendees from across the region. The donated RECs will be permanently retired at the conclusion of the event. “Usource has been a long-standing participant and supporter of Facilities Management conferences. We are excited to work with them as our Green Energy Sponsor.” said Tom Thomas, Director of Sales at ProExpos Group. “With this generous donation, its participants and attendees can feel good knowing that their electricity consumption at MABFM19 will be fully matched by Green-e™ certified renewable energy credits.”


About Usource Usource, a premier energy advisory firm, works with businesses to develop and execute customized procurement and management strategies to reduce energy costs. With its deep industry expertise and analytical approach, Usource helps its clients navigate the complexities of the deregulated electric and gas markets. Usource has been serving businesses across the country for more than 20 years. For more information visit www.UsourceEnergy.com. About ProExpos Professional Expos Group produces regional trade shows designed to provide a marketplace for buyers and sellers of commercial/industrial products and services for buildings & facilities management, property management and plant engineering. For more information visit https://www.proexpos.com/

Community Solar – It’s Hot.

community solar

You may be hearing more about community solar these days. Unlike the more common ‘behind the meter’ solar, where you put solar panels on your roof or on your own land, community solar allows you to effectively purchase solar energy from panels that are not on your property or owned by you. These fields of solar panels work to generate renewable electricity that feeds into the utility grid.

How Community Solar Works How Community Solar Works

Subscribers, or members, of a community solar project sign up to take a portion of the electricity generated from the solar panels. A combination of businesses and residents can buy energy to offset what they are using at their facility or home. The utility will then recognize each subscriber as providing renewable energy to the grid and will issue energy credits on the subscriber’s utility bill.

New York Incentives are Sizzling

Community solar is particularly attractive in New York state right now, with beneficial incentives getting passed through to customers. For example, some solar developers have been able to provide up to a 10% guaranteed credit on the utility bill. They have been able to do this based on the so-called VDER rate (the value of the distributed resource), which has been set by New York with certainty that is allowing projects to deliver attractive discounts to subscribers, while at the same time allowing developers to finance their projects. Developers are either setting up a structure where the subscribers are collecting the utility credits on their bills and passing 90% of the credits back to the developer, or the developer takes on the utility billing for the subscriber and provides the credits.

What to be Aware of

In order to participate in community solar, your state needs to have a program in place that allows “virtual net metering”. Virtual net metering provides you with credits on your utility bill for the grid connected solar you receive through a community solar project. If you are considering community solar, it’s important to make sure that your utility bill is large enough to offset the credits you may receive by participating.

The credits can only be applied to your utility bill, not a separate supplier bill.

Companies can consider consolidating the supplier charges on their utility bill, but it’s important to note that not all suppliers and utilities will provide consolidated billing. Check with your Usource advisor to help better understand any billing implications you may have. State rules may allow credits to be re-allocated among multiple sites in the same electric utility load zones. In cases where you are looking to claim the value of the environmental attributes of community solar, it is important to understand where the actual environmental value is going. For example, in New York, the official environmental value of community solar goes to the utility. The utility is using the environmental attributes to meet its renewable standards on its system. Because of this, you will not be able to claim the environmental attribute, but rather only receive the energy credit on the bill. If part of your goal is to be able to make the environmental claim, you may want to consider Renewable Energy Credits (RECs). We strongly encourage you to contact your Usource advisor if you are considering solar, either traditionally on your property, or through a community solar project.  Usource can help you evaluate the economics and advise you on the key factors to look for so you avoid potential pitfalls. We can also help you source the best solar solution for your facilities. Give us a call today.

Usource Celebrates Milestone: 20 Years in Business

HAMPTON, NH, January 31, 2019

Usource, a northeast-based energy advisory firm to large commercial, industrial and institutional organizations, announced its 20-year anniversary. For two decades Usource energy advisors have been helping large companies execute smart energy procurement strategies so they can deliver a stable budget, and remain focused on core business objectives. Usource began as an energy procurement broker in 1999 when northeast markets first deregulated, allowing commercial customers to choose who supplied their natural gas and later electricity. At that time, deregulation was in its infancy in many parts of the country. Since its inception, Usource has always focused on the client experience; advocating for clients on utility/supplier billing issues, enhancing its supplier network to deliver the best price offers, and refining the bidding process to ensure full supplier transparency to the client. “In what is arguably one of the most fragmented industries, Usource has remained a strong and stable energy procurement broker, delivering an exceptional client experience through integrity and expertise.” said Scott MacDonald, Managing Director, Usource. Over the past five years, Usource has enriched its procurement service by providing clients supplemental offerings that support a comprehensive, forward-looking energy management strategy. Usource advises on renewable and energy efficiency projects, peak load and demand management programs, and in 2016, launched its cloud-based reporting tool, InSight, which offers an array of analytic and reporting capabilities for clients. “Procuring energy effectively is becoming more complex. It requires an understanding of renewables, distributed energy resources, and demand management options and analytics to optimize the energy supply portfolio. We’re helping our clients translate the complexity and myriad of options into energy procurement plans and solutions that will result in successful energy cost management for their business.” said MacDonald.

About Usource  Usource, a premier energy advisory firm, works with businesses to develop and execute customized procurement and management strategies to reduce energy costs. With its deep industry expertise and analytical approach, Usource helps its clients navigate the complexities of the deregulated electric and gas markets. Usource has been serving businesses across the country for 20 years.

Contact:  Jillian Carter, Director, Marketing & Sales
carterj@usourceenergy.com
603.294.5028

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