433370 Strategic Planning and Market Analysis; How the Natural Gas Futures Market Will Need Solar Power to Compliment Texas State Power Grid Demands

Wednesday, November 11, 2015: 8:55 AM
Deer Valley I/II (Salt Lake Marriott Downtown at City Creek)
Zohreh Ravaghi, KeeterSutherland, Houston, TX and Massimiliano Kolbe, KeeterSutherland, Richmond, TX

Strategic Planning and Market Analysis; How the Natural Gas Futures Market will need Solar Power to Compliment Texas State Power Grid Demands

Zohreh Ravaghi Ardebili*1, Max Kolbe2, John Sutherland3, James Keeter4 *1 zohreh@keetersutherland.com, 2 maxkolbe74@gmail.com, 3 jms@keetersutherland.com, 4 jsk@keetersutherland.com


Given the lack of market stability in the oil and gas sector, the concept of applying solar energy as a secondary or tertiary and stable power supply to state and national grids is what should be driving investors towards this market.

According to the definition, a primary energy source is an energy source that can be consumed directly or converted into some other useful power, such as electricity. Roughly a third of the natural gas consumed in the United States goes into power plants for the production of electricity. Although in the current atmosphere of low gas prices due to high supply from shale and low demand the market may seem prime for electricity production, however the horizon for natural gas market will greatly shift to undersupply and high prices. Studies show that shale reserves are short lived and the recent construction of several ethylene cracker plants in the US alone and the multiple LNG export plants in construction will have an untold and very high demand for natural gas. Natural gas prices will rise significantly and given the latest reduction in drilling the demand will not be satisfied and therefore prices are expected to rise significantly.

The state of Texas is the highest power consuming state in the US, in 2013 had a total of 367, 546 Million kW-hrs over 40% greater than the state of California which has by far the most advanced solar powered grid in the US. As a matter of primary power, sources of electricity generation should be considered and optimized. Electrical power production via natural gas fired plants may in the near future not produce cheap electricity as the chemical and export demand of it may exceed the low price capacity point and shift demand significantly upwards. Natural gas is the building block of many industrial processes and chemicals for the manufacturing industry. Consuming it for power is not strategically making use of the resource and not providing a great return on investment, whereas using natural gas to sustain a cheap and abundant supply of basic industrial chemicals is in fact building a more competitive economic structure for the US.

The goal in power production and market stability should be to minimize the use of natural gas as power producing fuel and maximize it to produce the necessary chemicals used for the manufacturing sector which in turn creates far more employment. In its place, power should be produced from solar energy; Texas is one of the largest producers and consumers of power given that it has a large industrial sector that has a high demand for power. Texas is also one of the best regions in the US for high solar radiation levels, therefore it is a logical Texas be the state where solar power be given all the required financial and technical attention to strengthen the supply of abundant and cheap solar power production.

This paper will attempt to first carry out a market analysis in the consumption and production of energy and its future trends, then followed by an application study of solar power to these trends specifically assessing both photovoltaic and concentrated solar power production system solutions. Given that Texas is one of the greatest power producing and consuming states, we will present our study for the state of Texas as a case study on how solar power can be feasibly considered as a stable power producing source while allowing the oil and gas industry to prosper and maximize its potential and strengthen the US industrial sector.

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