Duke Energy Warns Of Higher Power Prices As Tight Coal/Gas Supplies Loom This Winter

Tyler Durden's Photo
by Tyler Durden
Friday, Nov 05, 2021 - 01:45 AM

Duke Energy Corporation warned Thursday that coal and natural gas supplies would be tight this winter, resulting in higher power prices for customers. Duke operates a diverse mix of power plants – including coal, hydro, natural gas, nuclear, solar, and wind – and battery storage facilities across several regions and states, including the Carolinas, Florida, and Midwest. 

Duke Energy CFO Steve Young said coal and natural gas prices are the highest since 2014, and these two essential commodities are in short supply. 

"It's been a while," since we've seen commodity prices like this.

"The winter of 2014, we had a very cold polar vortex winter, and we saw spiking of gas prices," Young said, who was quoted by Bloomberg on Thursday. 

He noted the Duke has adequate coal and gas reserves for this fall/winter but stressed a shortage of supplies in the overall commodity market has forced prices higher. 

Young said its fossil fuel power generation plants would pass on higher costs to customers. Higher power prices will be another blow to consumers who have already had their real wages crushed by soaring food, gasoline, and shelter costs. 

"Regions that rely more on gas or coal for heat and electricity will see rates increase more than regions where a greater proportion of power comes from nuclear, hydropower or renewable energy," he said.

The cause of the energy crunch is due to the rising global demand for fossil fuel as the global energy transition to alternative power sources, such as solar and wind, has been nothing short of a disaster. 

Ernie Thrasher, CEO of Xcoal Energy & Resources, the largest U.S. exporter of fuel, also warned about coal supply constraints. He said power companies are already "discussing possible grid blackouts this winter." 

Last month, NOAA's 2021 Winter Outlook was published. For the second consecutive winter, it outlined that La Nina conditions are emerging and will impact weather across the U.S.

"Consistent with typical La Nina conditions during winter months, we anticipate below-normal temperatures along portions of the northern tier of the U.S. while much of the South experience above-normal temperatures," the report said. 

Heating demand across the country is rising as temps drop. 

In short, the millions of Americans that rely on Duke for power could be slapped with higher power bills if cold weather is seen. More evidence that inflation is not as "transitory" as the Federal Reserve wants everyone to believe.