Energy 101: Power Markets Event Summary

The Wharton Undergraduate Energy Group hosted another edition of its popular Energy 101 series on February 22, this time focusing on Power Markets. The main attraction was in fact not the catered Wishbone, but rather Professor Andrew Huemmler from the School of Engineering, a WUEG staple known for courses like “Electricity Systems and Policy” and “Energy Systems and Policy.” In addition to his academic background, he brings over 20 years of experience in the utility industry with PECO. On this night, Professor Huemmler chose to talk about trends in oil, natural gas, and renewables, and how they will affect electricity prices, as well as how public policy factors in and what is to come. For those keeping tabs, these are the professor’s predictions: oil prices will be flat in the foreseeable future, as will natural gas, while residential solar is “virtually unstoppable” and “awesome” thanks to improving technology and corporate efficiency, as well as a bevy of subsidies and beneficial government policies. He demonstrated the potential conflict between solar and nuclear plants, as well as the reason why natural gas plants will be the greatest portion of new capacity. He also showed the audience several graphs specific to the power industry, the dispatch curve and the duck curve, which show electricity generation and consumption, respectively. In the end, Professor Huemmler’s talk was an engaging, informative, and successful event and in addition to the hard hat we gave him as a token of our gratitude, we would like to thank him here for taking the time to speak with us. We at WUEG would also like to thank everyone who came out for the event and encourage them to spread the word and stay on the lookout for more events to come.