Luminant, a subsidiary of the U.S. power company Vistra Energy, has decided to shut down two coal power plants in Texas, which together with an earlier announced closure, will remove more than 4,200MW of coal generating capacity from the market. The operational end for these units comes irrespective of last week’s pledges EPA administrator Scott Pruitt to repeal the Obama-era Clean Power Plan (CPP), in a bid to ease pressure on the coal industry.
US manufacturers Koch Industries and Dow Chemical are lobbying against the plan of Energy Secretary Rick Perry to subsidize nuclear and coal as a fuel for power generation. In a letter to Congress, manufacturers dismissed the Department of Energy’s (DoE) plan as “anti-competitive” and said it could distort or “destroy competitive wholesale electricity markets and increase the price of electricity to all consumers.”
Voicing plans to shut down all coal-fired power stations by 2030, the incoming Dutch government has sent a dramatic signal to energy markets that investments in coal is no longer safe. The far-reaching approach of the new coalition is striking, given that RWE, Uniper and Engie in the past few years commissioned three of Europe’s most modern coal power units in the Netherlands.
Oct 9 – US President Donald Trump has nominated Andrew R. Wheeler, a lawyer whose clients include the coal mining firm Murry Energy, as the deputy administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Wheeler opposes Obama’s Clean Power Plan and supported the US coal industry’s opposition to the Paris Climate Agreement.
The conversion Sasol’s coal-to-liquids plant in Secunda, South Africa, to a gas-to-liquids facility is one of two large-scale projects that drive the global GTL market. Sasol, an integrated energy and chemicals company, is working on getting its GTL plant started up by 2024, while a delayed GTL project in Uzbekistan is hoped to come online by 2021.
Growth in renewable power generation is forecast to be twice as large as that of natural gas and coal combined. According to projections by the International Energy Agency (IEA), the share of renewables in power generation will rise from 24% last year to exceed 30% by 2022.
Integrating North America’s abundant shale gas resources into global markets keeps prices subdued: NBP averaged at $10/mmBtu in 2011-14 and by 2016 lost more than half of its value, hovering around $4.63/mmBtu. According to Societe Generale analysis, natural gas is now in a unique position to help regions transition away from coal- and oil-fuelled power generation.
Commentators have openly rebuked US Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s proposal for a bailout of coal and nuclear power plants. In a letter to FERC, Perry had directed the regulator to set up a rule, offering plants that can store 90 day’s worth of fuel onsite some extra compensation. Critics dismissed this plan as “nuts” as it would interfere in America’s unregulated wholesale power market, effectively reducing the price of electricity generated from burning coal.
Coal-fired electricity generation in China, the world’s largest coal consumer, is expected to remain flat through 2040, according to EIA’s International Energy Outlook 2017 (IEO2017). Other fuels, such as renewables, natural gas, and nuclear power, are expected to make up increasing shares of China’s electricity generation.
Vivid economic growth across the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is driving up demand for electricity. The regions’ installed power generation capacity of 209 MW cannot meet burgeoning demand, and WoodMackenzie estimates about US$500 billion will be needed to build an additional 270 GW by 2035.