Power Breakfast for March 26, 2014

A nearly daily round-up of stories for your consideration:

  • The nation’s power plant coal supplies dropped to a two-year low in December. Coal consumption grew in late 2013 as natural gas prices fell, and waves of artic cold this winter further increased demand, The Hill reports.
  • Even as temperatures warm this spring, consumers may continue to see rising utility bills, says Bloomberg, as stricter environmental rules shutter dozens of coal power plants and more nuclear plants shutdown. From the article:

    “While coal and nuclear plants close, gas-fired generating capacity will increase to about 410,000 megawatts by 2016, up 10 percent from 2012, accounting for 35 percent to 40 percent of total U.S. capacity, according to Roshan Bains, director of utilities power and gas at Fitch Ratings in New York. “As you rely more on natural gas, or one fuel, you will see more and more spikes in power prices. Rolling blackouts would be more of the norm because of the aggravated fuel supply.”

  • Small businesses are increasingly looking to manage energy costs, and several utilities companies are heightening focus on helping retail stores, restaurants, schools and hotels lower energy consumption. Forbes reports “reducing energy costs by 10 percent is the same as increasing sales per square foot by $25 for retailers or $17 per square foot for restaurants.”
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