Natural gas prices in the United States are trading high in front-month and forward-month contracts, a trend we can expect to continue.
This comes as an unfortunate surprise to many energy consumers, who have seen low natural gas prices for several years running.
As we face a potentially colder winter, be prepared and looking ahead.
The Rise and Fall of Gas
Natural gas in the United States is primarily used industrially, to heat homes, or (about 35% of the time) to generate electricity. Commercial use of natural gas is actually one of the lowest categories of use, less than 14%.
So, naturally, natural gas demand tends to follow temperatures, particularly in the northeastern part of the United States.
Natural gas pricing saw multi-year decreases but has recently turned a corner: trading over $4.00/mmBTU in forward months for several months ahead.
It’s a great time to have stock in natgas, not the best time to rely upon it for heating or other purposes.
Store and Use Natural Gas
For those commercial or industrial applications of natural gas, storage is crucial for pricing. With adequate volume and storage, a business or industry has the ability to buy at lowest points (such as warmer months) and use when costs are higher.
As a storage and backup power solution, natural gas allows for onsite energy generation, which means:
- Independence from the energy grid for vital operations, even in the event of a blackout.
- Backup power to supplement energy usage and reduce peak charges.
- Emergency fuel supply when temperatures drop.
- In some states, incentive from the local utility to generate electricity onsite.
If you currently utilize natural gas, are considering making it part of your overall energy plan, or wonder if natural gas is right for you, an Energy Professionals energy consultant can examine your industry and site-specific needs to determine the best course of action.
Switching the Gas Off
If you’ve grown weary of energy fluctuations in the natural gas market, it may be time to consider a switch to onsite solar panels.
While buying “energy credits” for off-site green energy generation is still usually more expensive than traditional energy purchasing, on-site solar panels come at much less cost.
Just as a convergence in market factors have created a surge in natural gas pricing, another market convergence has resulted in best-possible pricing in solar energy at this time:
- Solar panels and solar installation costs are down
- Incentives from local, state and federal programs have boosted the rebates available to solar projects
- Third-party funding options have enabled low or no-cost solar installations across the country
- Energy buy-back agreements, power purchase agreements, and other options continue to grow across the United States.
What’s more, even in northern states (outside of Alaska), you probably get enough sunlight to generate enough power–it only takes 4 hours of sunlight for today’s typical solar panels to fully charge. With onsite battery storage, one can even store additional solar energy for overcast or stormy days absent of sunlight.
Energy Professionals Knows
With so many market variables and options available, energy prices can be convoluted and virtually impossible to compare.
Fortunately, we have assembled a team of experts.
We work independently from the utility and other energy providers so that we have only one purpose: to save you money on your energy bill.
We can help you “market proof” your energy expenses, save on your current utility, plan for an “off the grid” energy future, or whatever your utility goals may be for the future.
Contact us today for a free energy soft audit and to find out how to get started saving money every month!Read More ›