Coal has been singled out as one of the key culprits for global warming at the Bonn climate talks and several European countries have come forward with plans to phase out coal-fired power plants. Italy aims to exit coal by 2025 and boost the role of renewables, the government in Rome said on Friday. In Berlin meanwhile, the issue is a subject to fierce debate as coalition talks drag on between the Conservatives, Liberals and the Green Party.
Falling costs for renewables and energy storage will squeeze out gas-fired generation in South Australia as early as 2025, Wood Mackenzie and GTM Research find. By then, wind, solar and battery costs are seen decline by 15%, 25% and 50% respectively – hence they offer a “lower cost alternative” to CCGTs, which cover the bulk of South Australia’s base load power today.
Responding to California’s Aliso Canyon gas supply constraints, the key power provider Southern California Edison (SCE) has decided to install a battery energy storage system from Current, powered by GE’s LM6000 Hybrid EGT package.
To balance Europe’s electricity grid at times when wind and solar power contribution fades, operators need backup capacity of around 90 GW of quickly dispatchable generating capacity, the International Energy Agency (IEA) finds. Most of this backup capacity is gas-fired, but the runtime hours of these plants are estimated to fall to just 1,000 hours a year as renewable penetrations keeps growing.
A drop in average wind speeds has led to below-normal wind generation capacity factors in California, Oregon, and Washington during early 2015, which required the use of more flexible backup capacity such as gas-fired peaking plants.
Britain's first ever capacity auction has come at a high price, critics say after the government confirms it will pay £960 million under capacity contracts awarded to 46 generators to ensure fossil plants will provide backup power in the winter of 2018/19. Gas power plants won the lion's share of the capacity contracts.
May 8 – German network regulator, Bundesnetzagentur (BNA), forecast the country's need for conventional back-up capacity over the next four winters will be rising from 3,090 MW this year to 7,000 MW by the winter of 2017/18.
Of winter 2014/15's requirement only 64 MW had not yet been secured with power plant operators, while for 2015/16 around 1,440 MW yet has to be contracted.
"Delays to grid expansion continue to create a need for considerable reserve power plant capacity, BNA-president Jochen Homann said, warning the scope and cost of new-builds is rising year-on-year.
Siemens Energy has dedicated and handed over California's second Flex-Plant to power the gas-fired El Segundo Energy Center, operated by NRG Energy in Lodi. Together with the first unit, the plant can ramp up to 300MW in less than ten minutes, allowing the operator to backup intermittent renewable power supply.
Underground gas storage has emerged as a "supporting tool to gas trading". It is vital to cover variability in gas demand when peaking gas-fired generation is used to balance intermittent renewable power supply, Cedigaz finds.
Rapid uptake in flexible renewable energy units in Germany will help reduce the risk of negative power prices and limits the need for fossil plants to provide backup capacity, a study published by the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI) found.