Though a record 130 GW of new renewable capacity was installed in 2014, all eyes stay on carbon cuts in the power sector. The US Clean Power Plan and China’s 2017 launch of carbon trading will help, however, investment of $13.5 trillion in low-carbon technologies would be needed until 2030 to put a lid on emissions growth rate at around 5% per year, the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) said when assessing policy pledges in the run-up to COP21.
Ireland’s ESB is helping to prop up UK power reserve margins this winter, having been awarded a strategic balancing reserve contract by National Grid for its 350 MW Corby gas-fired plant in Northamptonshire.
The reserve contract runs for one year until September 2016, whereby the operator gets remunerated for holding the plant on standby for emergency dispatch but it cannot sell into the regular GB wholesale electricity market. Corby had missed out in the first UK capacity auction.
Regulators in the European Union are making progress on a joint strategy to import LNG, while scrutinising more deliveries of Russian gas. A draft report critically refers to a shareholder’s agreement of Gazprom and five European companies to build the Nord Stream II pipeline under the Baltic Sea to Germany, bypassing Ukraine. The Commission said it would assess such plans "rigorously against the European regulatory framework.”
After months of negotiations with regulators, U.S. conglomerate GE has announced the completion of its €9.7 billion acquisition of French turbine manufacturer Alstom. As a result of the deal GE Power & Water and Alstom Power have combined to form GE Power, creating one of the largest firms in the power generation sector with 65,000 employees in over 150 countries.
The Philippine Department of Energy is planning to boost the role of gas power in the country’s energy mix, according to Loreta G. Ayson, undersecretary for the Department of Energy. "Right now, we're heavily dependent on coal for power generation. If we continue (at current rates of coal power expansion), we will be 70% dependent on coal by 2040-2050,” she said.
National Grid has disclosed the register on the T-4 Capacity Auction for 2019-20, showing that all the 13 GW of capacity that had initially failed to pre-qualify has now been granted access on appeal. Analysts at Cornwall Energy warn this excess of auction supply to demand would lead to an anticipated clearing price of £14/kW-£16/kW - far too low to support new-build gas power projects.