Weekly report on US Gas and Oil production prepared by the US Energy Information Administration.

This Energy Revolution Could Shrink Your Electric Bill to Zero


When Europe’s central banks pushed rates below zero, large depositors found themselves paying interest instead of receiving it.

But at the same time, some lucky homeowners found their mortgage payments turn into credits. The weirdness continues. Last week, Bloomberg reported that German power producers would likely be paying customers to use electricity this weekend. How does this possibly make sense? The answer is in the wind.

Normally, utility companies calculate how much a kilowatt-hour of electricity will cost to produce and therefore, how much to charge the customers. That’s pretty easy to do with fossil fuels, but wind production—which Germany depends on heavily—can be volatile due to weather conditions. That means utilities must install extra renewable power capacity to meet demand in sub-optimal conditions. The more power is generated, the cheaper it becomes—so in the occasional great conditions, the ratio goes negative, i.e., there’s so much power generated that instead of making a profit, the utility basically has to pay the customers.

Two months ago, the US Department of Energy projected the un-subsidized cost of wind energy could drop 50% from current levels by 2030. That’s not dreamy environmentalist sentiment either. Remember who runs the DOE now: former Texas Governor Rick Perry. He’s one of the oil industry’s best friends—but he saw Texas harvesting wind energy and knows how much it helped our grid.


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