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Why Businesses should be Optimistic about Energy in 2020

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Climate change. Coal retirements. Power outages.  

Depending on the size and location of your business, energy can present some very real and serious environmental, economic or resiliency challenges. 

However, there are also several major reasons for optimism in 2020.   

We recently caught up with Direct Energy Business president John Schultz about the year's biggest developments and what‘s next for the energy industry.    

“There are a lot of reasons for optimism, specifically around energy, if you’re a U.S. business today,” Schultz says. Three different developments have him particularly excited: historically low natural gas prices, renewable energy advancements and opportunities to implement a comprehensive energy strategy. 

U.S. Natural Gas Prices Are Historically Low 

As Schultz notes in the video, if you examine the 60 forward trading months for natural gas contracts in 2019, every single one of them set a new low this year. In fact, the current natural gas outlook signals lower prices across the country in 2020, largely due to the increases in natural gas production.

The low natural gas prices give businesses the ability to hedge for a longer period of time and at attractive prices.   

Energy is No Longer a Choice Between Sustainability and Affordability 

“The historical conflict between affordable energy and sustainable energy really isn’t there anymore,” Schultz says. “We’ve seen technology and market forces drive those things closer.”

As we’ve previously noted, solar and wind project costs have fallen dramatically in the past decade. Utility-scale solar costs (generally one megawatt or higher) have plummeted 78 percent this decade while utility-scale wind costs have dropped by about 71 percent. That puts solar and wind projects directly on par with all forms of power generation, including natural gas and coal-fired generation. Additionally, incentives like the Business Investment Tax Credit further reduce the cost of installing renewable energy technologies like commercial solar.

“You can have fiscal discipline as a corporate buyer, but also be a good corporate citizen,” Schultz says of the falling costs for renewable energy.

Opportunities to Manage a Holistic Energy Strategy  

Now, more than ever, businesses have an opportunity to implement a truly holistic energy strategy – one that fully considers procurement, consumption, sustainability and resiliency.

When searching for an energy supplier, it is important to find one that puts your business first and delivers on the key components of a truly comprehensive energy strategy, from peak demand services to renewable energy. Energy consumers need future-facing solutions and expertise to execute a strategy that goes beyond supply and drives a sustainability agenda, turning energy from a cost into an asset. 

“There’s a lot of things for customers to be excited about,” Schultz says. “I’m really proud that at Direct Energy we have a robust suite of products and are one of the industry leaders in helping customers navigate that solution.”  

Posted: February 12, 2020