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Facts of the Day are informational snippets gathered from industry leading sources around the web pertaining to the energy industry.

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Generation/Supply


US New England oil-fired generation averaging 16.2 GWh/day in 2014: ISO NE

3/31/14 | Platts

Oil-fired power plants in New England have accounted for about 5.3% of total generation in the region so far this year, more than eight times the level during the same period of 2013, according to data grid operator ISO New England published Wednesday.

The ISO, which handles electric markets for Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont, showed generation from oil-fired units averaged 16.201 GWh/day through March 24, compared with about 1.991 GWh/d, or 0.6% of total generation, during the comparable period last year.

Coal plants challenged by natural gas, tough regulations

3/25/14 | Boston Globe

Competition from natural gas combined with increasing environmental regulations has made casualties of many of the nation's aging coal-fired power plants, including Salem Harbor Power Station and Brayton Point in Somerset.

By 2020, about 60 gigawatts of coal-fired electric-generating capacity - enough to power an estimated 48.5 million homes - is expected to disappear, at least partly due to the expense of meeting federal rules to cut pollution from power plants, according to the Energy Department.

Generation at Risk Due to Gas Supply Issues

3/12/14 | Forbes

The ISO-NE projects that nearly 3.5 gigawatts of gas-fired power plants in New England will be at risk losing gas supply from one of the five interstate pipelines serving New England in January 2015.

During the afternoon of January 7, 2014, six natural-gas fired generators in New England, totaling roughly 1,500 megawatts (MW) of capacity, were unable to procure natural gas to generate electric power.

New England remains in triple-digits; Nymex gas hits $5.55/mmBtu

2/19/14 | Generation Hub

On Feb. 19, according to figures posted by the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

New England's spot power price was listed at $128.27/MWh, which was more than 29% lower than the spot power price listed for the previous business day. New England also had the nation's highest spot natural gas price at $13.75/mmBtu.

The big figure, however, in EIA's daily energy price might be that the New York Mercantile Exchange (Nymex) natural gas futures price for March delivery hit $5.55/mmBtu, or more than 6% higher than the previous day.

NE power plant closings pinch supply

2/10/14 | New Hampshire Gazette

The retirement of several power plants in New England is reducing power supply and driving up prices, the region's electric grid operator warned. A regional auction to buy power for 2017 and 2018 in so-called capacity markets - comparable to an insurance policy that ensures power is available in the future - ended with a shortfall in megawatts for electricity used by businesses and homes, ISO-New England said. In the auction that ended Monday, ISO secured a commitment of 33,700 megawatts, off from 33,855 megawatts of capacity required. One megawatt powers about 1,000 homes.

Winter electricity prices up 126%

2/3/14 | The Hartford Business Journal

The average wholesale price of electricity in New England rose 126 percent in December compared to December 2012, driven by demand for light and natural gas, according to grid administrator ISO New England.

The wholesale price of electricity in December was $98.52 per megawatt hour, up from $43.64 per megawatt hour in December 2012.

The cold spell in mid-December lead to heavy consumer demand for power, and the demand for natural gas rose for home heating, cutting off the supply for natural gas power plants. As a result, ISO had to call on the more expensive coal and oil power plants to meet demand.

Jet fuel turbines help to prop up NE energy grid

1/27/14 | Boston Globe

New Hampshire utility operators say tight natural gas supplies and a spike in prices tied to the harsh cold forced an unusual request to fire up costly, jet fuel-powered turbines to keep the regional power grid running.

At the Merrimack Station coal plant in Bow, operators were told by ISO-New England to be ready to run the turbines all day last Thursday. ISO, which operates the grid, anticipated only about 25 percent of the natural gas capacity would be available.

New England largest power price increase in 2013

1/8/14 | EIA

In New England, cold weather taxed the already strained natural gas pipeline infrastructure, leading to day-ahead power prices in excess of $200 per megawatthour in January and February 2013. Cold weather in late November and early December led to a second spike in both the natural gas and power markets in New England.

Elsewhere, a cooler-than-normal August kept power prices low in Texas in 2013, the area with the lowest increase in average wholesale, on-peak electric power prices compared to 2012. Most of the other wholesale power markets in the country had higher electricity prices in 2013 as natural gas prices generally increased from the sub-$3 per million British thermal unit levels of April 2012. For example, the power price at PJM West in the Mid-Atlantic region increased 14% while the natural gas price in that region (Transco Leidy Hub) increased 11%.

U.S. electricity sales have decreased in four of the past five years

12/23/13 | EIA

Sales of power to commercial buildings have increased about 1% annually since 2000 and accounted for 35% of electricity use in 2012. Demand has varied more than in the residential and industrial sectors. Weather patterns affecting energy needs for heating and cooling, as well as standards to improve efficiency for lighting and space heating, have helped keep commercial building energy demand flat in recent years.

Region's electrical grid feeling strain of cold-weather demand

12/18/13 | New Hampshire Union Leader

Cold weather is straining the New England power grid, as demand for electricity yesterday was expected to break the record for 2013 set in January. Peak demand was expected to reach 21,400 megawatts Tuesday night, compared to the previous peak for the year of 20,887 on a frigid Jan. 24, according to ISO-NE, the independent system operator.

ISO: Salem power plant needed

12/16/13 | The Salem News

The North Shore could face "controlled blackouts" if the natural-gas power plant that Footprint Power plans to open in 2016 on the Salem waterfront is not ready on time, the operator of the New England power grid warned this week. A legal filing Wednesday by ISO New England, the independent organization that manages the regional power supply, is the strongest statement yet of the need for electricity from the proposed Salem plant, now facing legal challenges.

ISO-New England: Grid has enough power for winter demand

12/9/13 | New Haven Register

Officials with the regional electric grid operator for New England say there are enough resources needed to meet demand for power this winter, but they also warn that certain factors related to how natural gas is used in producing that power could create reliability problems during the season's coldest days.

Coal-fired electric generators continue to dominate electric supply in the Central region

11/25/13 | EIA

More than 60% of electricity in the Central region of the United States comes from coal-fired electric generators, down from 80% in the early part of the 2000s. The Central region is made up of the two regional transmission organizations in the central portion of the United States: MISO, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, and the Southwest Power Pool (SPP). Coal-fired units generate most of the electricity in this region, primarily burning relatively inexpensive Powder River Basin (PRB) coal.

The mix of fuels used for electricity generation in the United States is changing

11/13/13 | EIA

The mix of fuels used to generate the electricity in homes, factories, and businesses across the United States has changed in the past few years as coal, still the largest single fuel used for electricity, has lost some of its share of the generation market to natural gas and non-hydroelectric renewables. The generation mix is not uniform across the country and varies significantly by region depending on available resources and regional market prices.

Installed generation lagging far behind 2012

10/28/13 | Power Engineering

The amount of new electric generating capacity installed during the first nine months of 2013 is lagging well behind the pace set in 2012, according to figures released recently by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Capacity installation for January through September of 2013 is 10,717 MW, compared to 14,217 MW installed through September 2012, according to the Energy Infrastructure Update for September issued by FERC's Office of Energy Projects. In other words there has been 3,500 MW less capacity installed through September 2013 compared to the same period in 2012.

PJM energy prices climbed in first half of 2013

8/14/13 | Platts

Energy prices in the PJM Interconnection climbed by 21.6% in the first half of 2013, compared with the same period of 2012, but this was partly offset by a decrease in the capacity cost per megawatt-hour, a new report states.

Natural gas prices were above coal prices in the first months of 2013, with prices above $10/MMBtu for some days. Coal prices increase during the first six months of 2013 but remained relatively flat in comparison to 2012.

The capacity cost per megawatt-hour fell by about 21.3% in the first half of 2013, compared with the same period of 2012.

Shutdown of two FirstEnergy power plants may be delayed

8/14/13 | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

FirstEnergy Corp. may not be able to shut down Hatfield's Ferry and Mitchell power plants in southwestern Pennsylvania by Oct. 9, as the company has previously announced.

The grid operator that schedules electricity for 13 states including Pennsylvania believes that reliability could be compromised if the two coal-fired power stations retire within the next three months.

EIA projects strong world energy consumption through 2040

7/30/13 | Oil & Gas Journal

World energy consumption will increase by 56% over the next 3 decades, driven by surging demand in developing countries, the US Energy Information Administration forecasts in its International Energy Outlook 2013 (IEO 2013), released July 25. In its outlook, EIA said it expects the world's real gross domestic product to rise by 3.6%/year through 2040.

EIA forecasts fossil fuels to continue supplying nearly 80% of the world's energy demand through 2040. The liquid share of world marketed energy consumption—although expected to remain the largest energy source—is expected to fall to 28% in 2040 from 34% in 2010. Renewable energy and nuclear power are expected to remain the fastest-growing energy sources, each rising by 2.5%/year over the forecast period.

New York City Reaches All-Time Electric Peak Usage On Heat Wave's Sixth Day

7/22/13 | NY1

Last Friday was the sixth day of a heat wave that has brought the year's hottest temperatures so far, and the city reached a new level of peak electric use Friday, according to Con Edison. Con Ed officials say the city was using 13,214 megawatts at 2 p.m. Friday, surpassing the previous record of 13,189 megawatts set in 2011.

Eastern energy prices dive 60%

7/22/13 | Generation Hub

The lower temperatures have translated to lower spot power prices.

With the heat wave passing, spot power prices for much of the eastern United States are down at least 60%, according to Energy Information Administration (EIA) figures. After seeing high temperatures in the high 90s the previous week, the forecasts for New York, Boston and Washington, D.C., were expected to stay in the 80s July 22. The lower temperatures have translated to lower spot power prices.

Seawater temps too high for Pilgrim cooling

7/19/13 | Cape Cod Times

The ongoing heat wave could force Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station to shut down, as soaring temperatures continue to warm the Cape Cod Bay waters that the plant relies on to cool key safety systems.

Pilgrim's license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission requires the water being drawn from the bay to be no warmer than 75 degrees. On Tuesday night, the temperature in the saltwater system reached 75.3 degrees and remained above the 75-degree limit for about 90 minutes.

New England May power prices down from April, up year over year

6/19/13 | Platts

The average real-time wholesale price of electricity in New England in May was $38.46/MWh, down about 10% from April but an increase of 37% over May 2012, according to data from ISO New England.

The trend in electricity prices largely mirrors changes in the average price of natural gas in the region. The average price of natural gas in New England in May was about $4.64/MMBtu, the ISO said in a late Thursday blogpost, down 35% from average prices in April but 81% higher than May 2012.

Poop power: A new generation of companies bet on a different renewable energy

6/19/13 | American Public Media

Machines called digesters use anaerobic digestion to extract the gas from manure and burn it to power generators. They basically work like a giant cow stomach.

If digesters were put in use in all of the California's dairy farms, the state's 1.8 million dairy cows could generate up to 1,971 gigawatt hours of electricity each year-enough to cover about .7% of California's electricity. By comparison 11.6% of California's electricity was generated by all renewable energy which includes solar, geothermal, small hydroelectric and biomass.

ISO New England competitive in 2012, but had inefficiencies

6/17/13 | Platts

ISO New England's power market performed competitively in 2012, but several factors contributed to inefficiencies, the ISO's independent market monitor, Potomac Economics, said in its annual state of the market report.

The inefficiencies stemmed from interface coordination issues with New York, the need to commit additional capacity due to natural gas system constraints and the allocation of Net Commitment Period Compensation charges to virtual transactions, according to the report.

New York ISO sees no need for new generation until 2019

6/4/13 | Platts

With sluggish demand growth projected for the coming decade, the New York Independent System Operator will not need new generation until 2019, the grid operator said in its 2013 Power Trends report.

NYISO said it saw a net decrease of more than 1,100 MW of generating capacity from 2012 to 2013, including retirement of the 500-MW Danskammer plant, which was damaged in Hurricane Sandy. But the state also has seen flagging demand in recent years. Electricity usage in New York rose about 3% in 2010 but fell 0.1% in 2011 and dipped another 0.3% in 2012, according to the report.

ISO New England report outlines power-gas concern from last winter

5/21/13 | Generation Hub

The lack of natural gas supply for power generation at certain points in the winter of 2012-2013 is a cause for concern in the ISO New England region, according to a May 20 report on first-quarter 2013 results from the ISO's Internal Market Monitor (IMM).

A combination of cold temperatures, severe weather, and high natural gas prices during two periods in the reporting period created unusual operating conditions. The IMM concluded that the system operated as expected and the markets were competitive during these extreme weather events.

PJM Interconnection expects to have enough power to meet summer demand

5/15/13 | Power Engineering

PJM Interconnection expects to have sufficient power this summer when power use can get as high as 155,553 MW, according to Electric Light & Power magazine. This compares to PJM's all-time peak demand of 163,848 MW. PJM serves 60 million people in 13 states and the District of Columbia.

To meet demand, PJM has available 186,884 MW of installed power generation capacity and 11,175 MW of demand response and energy efficiency. Demand response means there are customers who are paid to reduce their energy use at peak time periods on request and energy efficiency pays customers who modify their buildings to save electricity.

ISO-NE: Possible Summer Nat. Gas Constraints, but Supply Will Be Reliable

5/8/13 | Power Magazine

Natural gas pipeline maintenance this summer could affect natural gas supplies to some power plants in the New England region, but forecasts suggest that summer electricity supplies will adequately meet consumer demand under normal weather conditions.

ISO-NE said that under normal summer weather conditions of about 90F, demand for electricity could peak at 26,690 MW. Demand could rise to 28,985 MW if an extended heat wave of about 95F occurs.

April Electricity Demand at 3 Year Low

5/7/13 | Power Engineering

Power demand is typically low in April as it is not hot enough to need air conditioners but not cold or dark enough to need evening lights and space heating. But this past April's electricity demand was the lowest monthly demand the US has seen in three years as April temperatures trended warmer for the East and West Coast while a core of well-below-average temperatures lingered in the Upper Midwest.

Year over year, April 2013 was much cooler than 2012 when cooling load was already ramping up across the South and Central US on well above average temperatures. Demand was down 8% from March and 1% from the same month in 2012. Year to date demand is now up just 1% from last year.

ISO New England says region has enough power to meet summer peak demands

5/1/13 | Power Engineering

The six-state New England power grid is expected to carry enough electricity to meet consumer demand under normal weather conditions this summer, according to a release from ISO New England Inc., the operator of the region's bulk power system and wholesale electricity market.

According to the company, consumer demand is highest in New England during the summer, largely because of the use of air conditioners. Under normal conditions, the company expects the demand for electricity in the region this summer to peak at 26,690 MW, but that number could rise to 28,985 MW during an extended heat wave.

The total generating capacity of all power plants in New England is about 31,760 MW if all plants were running at maximum output.

More than 2,800 power outages reported in the U.S. in 2012

4/29/13 | Power Engineering

California tops the list of states with the most power outages in 2012 for the fourth year in a row, according to Eaton's 2012 Blackout Tracker Annual Report.

In total, 2,808 reported outages occurred in 2012, down from 3,071 reported outages in 2011. The amount of people affected decreased from 41.8 million in 2011 to 25 million last year. However, the data shows an upward trend of reported outages affecting 50,000 or more people, with 42 in 2009; 52 in 2010; 109 in 2011 and 65 in 2012.

US Smart Grid Cybersecurity Spending to Reach $7.25B by 2020

4/22/13 | Greentech Media

By 2020, U.S. utilities will spend $7.25 billion on cybersecurity technology to protect the smart grid, Zpryme reported.

The majority of funds will support industrial control systems and SCADA networks that control grid assets.

California Power Facing Biggest Test Since Enron

4/22/13 | Bloomberg

The California Independent System Operator Corp. said last month that managing the state grid, especially in parts of Southern California, will prove "difficult" because the system will be operating without Edison International (EIX)'s San Onofre nuclear power plant and two natural gas-fired units, while hydroelectric output will be at a three-year low. The nuclear plant, California's single largest source of baseload power, accounts for 3.7 percent of the state's capacity.

Drop in Nuclear generation in the Northeast

4/17/13 | Bloomberg

Nuclear generation in the Northeast, which includes plants from New Hampshire to Washington, fell by 23 megawatts from yesterday to 18,907 megawatts, the lowest level since Nov. 19, according to U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Plants across the region were operating at 76 percent of capacity.

Entergy shut its 685-megawatt Pilgrim 1 reactor, in Plymouth, MA, yesterday for refueling. The drop in nuclear production is spurring demand for natural gas in the region.

Coal-fired plants to remain largest source of U.S. power generation through 2040.

4/17/13 | Power Engineering

Despite a growing focus on building new natural gas-fired power plants in the U.S., coal-fired plants will remain the largest source of power generation in the country through 2040, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

According to an expanded section of the Annual Energy Outlook 2013 released Monday, coal-fired energy will provide 35 percent of power generation in 2040, which is a decrease from providing 42 percent of power generation in 2011. Over that time, the EIA states about 15 percent of coal-fired capacity active in 2011 to retire, while only 4 percent of new generation capacity added will be coal-fired.

Although natural gas will provide less generation than coal, the EIA states total natural gas-fired generation will increase by an average of 1.6 percent per year from 2011 to 2040. In 2040, natural gas will provide 30 percent of power generation, an increase from 24 percent in 2011.

Coal-fired power generation up 21% in March

4/10/13 | Power Engineering

Coal-fired power generation rose 21 percent in March 2013 compared to March 2012, according to a recent report released from Genscape's Generation Fuel Monitoring Service. The report links the rise of coal-fired generation to rising prices for natural gas.

The increase of coal-fired power generation made up for a loss in generation from natural gas and renewable energy, the report states. Natural gas-fired power generation dropped 11 percent from March 2012 levels, while renewable energy generation decreased 14 percent in March 2013 as compared to March 2012.

New Data Reveals U.S. Coal Use Rising Again

4/3/13 | Energy Tribune

Most recent data from EIA shows that natural gas prices for the power sector have increased by more than 50 percent since April 2012. Over the long-term, EIA expects that natural gas prices for the power sector will increase by about 3.4 percent each year from 2012 through 2040. On top of these price increases, electricity demand is expected to grow by 28 percent by 2040. EIA projects an increase in both natural-gas fired generation (30 percent), as well as coal-fired generation (18 percent) between now and 2040 to meet this demand. Without additional regulations, these trends are poised to increase U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

EIA: US economy and electricity demand linked, but relationship is changing

4/1/13 | Penn Energy

A country's economy and its energy use, particularly electricity use, are linked. Short-term changes in electricity use are often positively correlated with changes in economic output (measured by gross domestic product (GDP)). However, the underlying long-term trends in the two indicators may differ. All else equal, a growing economy leads to greater energy and electricity use. However, in developed countries like the United States, the relationship has been changing for some time, as economic growth now outpaces electricity growth.

The factors driving this trend include slowing population growth, market saturation of major electricity-using appliances, improving efficiency of several equipment and appliance types in response to standards and technological change, and a shift in the economy toward less energy intensive industry.

DOE launches Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative

3/27/13 | Power Engineering

The initiative will work to increase funding for clean energy manufacturing research and development that will accelerate the U.S.-based manufacturing of clean energy technologies from wind, solar, geothermal, batteries and biofuels. DOE on March 26 awarded more than $23 million in innovative R&D projects. DOE also released a $15 million funding opportunity to reduce manufacturing costs of solar energy technology, including photovoltaics and concentrated solar power, and also plans to issue a new funding opportunity that supports a new manufacturing innovation institute.

EEI expects transmission investments to top $15bn in 2013

3/6/13 | Power Engineering

The Edison Electric Institute (EEI) projects year-over-year total transmission investment from EEI members to continue rising until 2013, reaching a peak of around $15.1 billion, according to a report released this month. EEI highlighted more than 150 transmission projects in the report with a total investment of around $51.1 billion through 2023.

Of the projects highlighted in the report, 76 percent support the integration of renewable resource generation, comprising about $38.7 billion of the total investment through 2023. These projects will involve the addition of upgrade of 13,300 miles of transmission, according to the report.

Texas electric supply will be 'very tight,' grid operator says

3/4/13 | Fuel Fix

Balancing supply and demand for electricity in Texas will be a delicate balancing act again this summer.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which operates the power grid for 85 percent of the state, said Friday that it expects sufficient electricity to be available through the spring but predicts "very tight" conditions over the summer.

Power demands are highest in the summer, when home and business use soars because of air conditioning.

POLL: Americans' support for nuclear power remains strong

2/20/13 | Power Engineering

In the national telephone survey of 1,000 U.S. adults, 68 percent of respondents reported being in favor of nuclear energy, up three points from a poll taken in September 2012. More than 80 percent of those surveyed cited reliability, affordability, and clean air as the most important considerations in energy production, and three-fifths strongly associated nuclear energy with those considerations. Additionally, a full seventy-three percent of respondents reported believing that nuclear plants in the U.S. are safe and secure.

Suppliers Want Long-Term Fixed Price Default Service for New York

1/30/13 | Energy Choice Matters

A coalition of competitive suppliers has told the New York PSC that a long-term Price to Compare should be introduced into the retail market.

Specifically, the Independent Power Producers of New York told the PSC that the ommission's current Retail Market Review, "should create an effective forward-looking price-to-compare that captures at least a 6-12 month period to allow consumers to evaluate fully their purchasing options as compared to a backward-looking mechanism."

EIA reports increase in coal-fired generation in most recent data

1/30/13 | EIA

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released a report showing a 6.2 percent increase in coal-fired generation in November 2012 compared to November 2011 in the United States. According to the agency, the increase marks the first year-over-year increase incoal-fired generation since a 0.5 percent increase from December 2009 to December 2010.

Coal Generation to Rise

1/9/13 | EIA

EIA expects the coal share of total electricity generation to rise from 37.6 percent in 2012 to 39.0 percent in 2013 and 39.6 percent in 2014, as natural gas prices rise relative to coal prices. Lower-than-projected natural gas prices along with the industry's response to future environmental regulations could cause the coal share of total generation to fall below this forecast

Eastern U.S. May Warm Up Next Week, Cutting Energy Demand

1/2/13 | Bloomberg

Temperatures are expected to rise above normal across the eastern U.S. next week and may cut energy demand and melt snow in the region. Temperatures may increase 8 to 14 degrees Fahrenheit (4.4 to 7.8 Celsius) above normal Jan. 7 to Jan. 11 from the Midwest to the Middle Atlantic, according to a forecast from MDA Weather Services in Gaithersburg, Maryland. In New York and New England, temperatures may rise to 5 to 7 degrees above average. Energy traders look to long-range forecasts to gauge potential fuel use. Abovenormal temperatures in the large cities of the Midwest and Northeast may decrease demand for energy to warm homes and businesses, suppressing natural gas and heating oil prices.

Pa. at top for electricity suppliers

12/19/12 | Philly.com

Pennsylvania has more retail electricity suppliers than any other state, according to an industry organization that assesses competitive power markets. The Annual Baseline Assessment of Choice in Canada and the United States counted 47 retail suppliers in Pennsylvania, and ranked the state second overall behind Texas, the most active market in the country. The report commended the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission for constructing market rules that encourage competition.he Midwest and Northeast may decrease demand for energy to warm homes and businesses, suppressing natural gas and heating oil prices.

New England Winter Grid Outlook: ISO-NE Forecasts Sufficient Capacity to Meet Demand

12/5/12 | ISO-NE

New England should have sufficient resources to meet consumer demand for electricity during the 2012-2013 winter season, according to ISO New England Inc., the operator of the region's high-voltage power grid and wholesale electricity markets. However, the region's reliance on natural gas as a fuel to produce electricity could create operational challenges if natural gas supplies become tight this winter. If this occurs, ISO New England will rely on oil- and coal-fired generation to lessen any operational risks to the region's power system.

Coal transportation costs jump 50% in last decade

12/5/12 | EIA

The average cost of shipping coal by railroad to power plants increased almost 50% from 2001 to 2010, with rail transport accounting for more than 70% of U.S. coal destined to the electric power sector, said a new report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Renewables to Rival Coal for Power Generation in 2035

12/5/12 | Businessweek

Renewable energy is set to rival coal as the main generator of the world's electricity by 2035 as the costs of technology fall and subsidies rise, the International Energy Agency said. Wind farms, solar parks and hydroelectric dams are forecast to become the second biggest power generator in 2015 and rise to almost a third of all generation in 2035, a level approaching that of coal, the Paris-based agency that advises 28 nations on energy policy said today in its annual outlook.