July 2018

Did You Know - How is the Recreational Marijuana Industry Affecting Energy Consumption? As the legal recreational marijuana industry expands, cannabis cultivation and manufacturing remains an energy-intense process. Suppliers in Massachusetts begin to face obstacles as they are met with new energy regulations by the Cannabis Control Commission (CCC), who are working to make sure that growers' concerns are heard and that they adhere to the new limits and restrictions. These regulations may have future impact on the industry nationwide.

Innovative solutions are emerging to help reduce energy costs without hurting production. Co-founders of STEM Cultivation, Chris Denaro and Kyle Moffit have created the STEM Box. "The STEM Box is a self-contained, vertical, hydroponic pot farm," describes Denaro.
Inventions like this open the door for future breakthroughs in agricultural sustainability. 

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Energy Investments Up and Down

There's bittersweet news for clean energy for the early half of 2018. Global investments in wind power have shot up, while solar energy has suffered a decline.

Wind energy investments total about $60 billion from January through June, a 33% jump from the same time last year. A large part of it is due to a couple of multi-million and billion dollar projects. One of note is the development of a wind farm in the North Sea totaling $1.5 billion.

Solar energy investments, however, have fallen 19% globally from 2017. While wind investments grew in China, solar dropped 29%, bringing the global market down with it, as Beijing announced the slowing of solar developments. China's not the sole reason for the slump; solar farms have become cheaper to build, leading to less investments.


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How will the New Supreme Court Nominee Affect Government Energy Agencies?

New Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh already has some worried about his previous judicial track record.  Specific concerns are arising as to how this will translate in regard to his role in the high court. 

In the past, he has called into question the constitutionality of independent regulatory agencies, such as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Kavanaugh claims  these agencies are a "threat to individual liberties" because leaders cannot be removed at will by the president the way cabinet members can. The FERC and other agencies worry that Kavanaugh's affinity for strong presidential powers will spell bad news for them if their constitutionality ever comes into question in the Supreme Court. 

There is also worry that Kavanaugh may curtail some of the EPA's more ambitious policies and programs, as he's shown skepticism in the past towards overreaching agency authority. Critics worry that he will undo set regulations and overturn important precedents protecting the FERC and EPA. Lawyers in the industry, however, caution not to read too much into Kavanaugh's past opinions and rulings as a D.C. Circuit judge as the weight of certain decisions becomes greater and requires more thought when decided by the highest law of the land.  

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"U.K. Energy Costs Headed Higher With Plan to Leave Single Market'

As Britain gears up to leave the EU in March 2019, uncertainty builds in the energy industry as the British plan to leave the EU's single market. The U.K. still wants to maintain neighboring nations as trading partners, as they are  the third largest user of energy  in Europe. The importance of partnerships with these countries is underscored by the fact that London is a main trading hub for gas.

There’s a risk “... there’s so much uncertainty about the rules that investment doesn’t happen because people are so unsure about what’s going to happen,” says Oliver Perry, a principal at a utilities company in London. The British government has estimated it will need 100 billion pounds to keep power on beyond 2020, making it an especially troublesome time for investor uncertainty.  With over a dozen fading power plants dropping out of commission in the next decade, investors will need more reassurance about the future of the European energy market. 

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Prospect Resources Inc. (PRI) is a firm that specializes in managing energy procurement (gas and electricity) for medium and large commercial and industrial clients.

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