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Weekly Energy Brief: March 29, 2024
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U.S. and Canada Lithium Prospects in 2024 Despite Headwinds

The development of the lithium sector in the United States and Canada is viewed with optimism for 2024 despite existing challenges in pricing and demand that have impacted the global industry. Both countries are expected to commence new construction projects that could significantly bolster the domestic lithium supply, which is crucial for supporting the growing electric vehicle (E.V.) market. This comes when the industry has faced price volatility and reduced demand, particularly from key Asian markets.

However, experts like Rahul Sen Sharma of Indxx believe such challenges are typical in sectors undergoing rapid transformation. Quebec, for example, has been proactive in establishing a complete supply chain for lithium, from mining to E.V. production, underscoring a solid belief in sustained demand for electrification. The backdrop of these developments includes the pandemic and geopolitical tensions that have stressed global supply chains, driving many companies to revisit and expedite lithium projects. (SPGlobal)

PJM Forward Power and Gas Prices Below Previous Year Levels

In the PJM Interconnection, a key U.S. power market, forward power, and natural gas prices have remained significantly below the levels recorded a year ago. This reflects a market situation where supply has comfortably met demand despite initial tightening in the winter months. October saw PJM West Hub on-peak forward power prices and Transco Non-New York forward natural gas prices drop by 46% and 54% respectively, compared to the previous year. The price dip is attributed to a well-supplied gas market and decreased demand at major hubs, except PJM East. Notably, PJM's forward prices for November and December indicated increased power forwards, suggesting some market tightening. Nevertheless, prices for January 2024 remained well below those of the previous year, marking a shift towards greater market stability and efficiency. (SPGlobal)

Renewable Generation Surpasses Coal and Nuclear in the U.S.

The transition towards renewable energy in the United States achieved a significant milestone when generation from renewable sources outstripped coal and nuclear power in the electric sector. This shift underscores the growing importance of renewables in the U.S. energy mix, driven by policy support, technological advances, and decreasing costs. The rise of renewables, including wind, solar, hydropower, and others, reflects a broader trend toward decarbonization and sustainability in the energy sector. This development marks a significant shift in the country's energy landscape and highlights the progress towards achieving a more sustainable and renewable energy future. (EIA Energy Info)

Energy Secretary Granholm on the F.Y. 2024 Budget

The F.Y. 2024 budget proposed by the Biden-Harris Administration is ambitious in its support for American manufacturing, energy cost reductions for families, job creation, and boosting national energy security. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm emphasized the budget's role in transitioning to a clean energy future, highlighting significant investments across various sectors. The budget allocates funds for residential energy retrofits, expands the Weatherization Assistance Program, and increases funding for science and innovation, including a historic proposal for the Fusion Energy Science Program.

It also emphasizes inclusivity in clean energy solutions, with investments targeting HBCUs and Minority-Serving Institutions, and supports American manufacturing and energy supply chains to reduce dependency on foreign resources. This comprehensive budget reflects a commitment to advancing the clean energy economy and addressing the climate crisis. (The Department of Energy's

Renewable Energy Dominates U.S. Capacity Additions in 2024

In a significant stride towards a sustainable future, the U.S. plans to add 62.8 GW of new utility-scale electric-generating capacity in 2024, with solar and battery storage comprising 81% of this. A record 36.4 GW of solar is projected, highlighting the sector's rapid growth and the easing of supply chain constraints. Texas, California, and Florida are expected to lead these solar additions. Concurrently, battery storage is set to nearly double, emphasizing the crucial role of storage in supporting renewable energy deployment​. (EIA Energy Info)