Unless coal prices doubled or carbon prices increased tenfold, there is no way that European power producers would switch from preferring to burn coal over natural gas, analysts said. Coal CIF ARA hovered around 84.90 $/t this week, while EUA were last seen trading at 5.36 €/t.
Nigeria's natural gas demand is expected to hit 16 million tons per year (mtpa) by 2015; forecast gas production for 2013 is 6.9mtpa, up from just 4.6mtpa in 2010, according to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the corporation expects steady supply growth will boost the gas to power sector as new projects come online.
Capacity markets look set to strengthen their role in assuring reliable power supply in the US, following a conference, hosted by John Norris of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), on Wednesday. Topics discussed ranged from the metrics used to measure success, design elements, key challenges and effective accommodation of federal and state policies in centralized capacity markets.
Higher natural gas prices relative to coal prices in the US have caused a 14% plunge in the use of gas for power generation over the first seven month of this year, according to EIA figures. Henry Hub spot prices currently hover around $3.50/MMBtu – a substantial rise from the $2.39/MMBtu average spot price for the first half of 2012.
A tax on the use of fossil fuel for power generation in France was announced by prime minister Jean-Marc Ayrault this week. Scheduled to be in place from 2014 onwards, the carbon tax will be levied on power producers in proportion to carbon emissions.
China's energy market reform, to be announced in November, and efforts to curb pollution is forecast to increase natural gas and uranium imports for power generation, while thermal coal will be "one of the most likely losers," Deutsche Bank analyst Michael Hsueh told Gas to Power Journal. Volumes of gas and uranium imports are forecast to rise substantially over the next 5 years, as China shifts its energy mix towards cleaner-burning fuels.
As renewable, intermittent wind and solar energy replaces traditional base load coal-fired and nuclear energy in Europe, the need for substantial sources of fast-start and cost-effective backup gas power increases, says Swift Tarbell, PW Power Systems Area Director for Europe. Following the sale of the first FT4000 SWIFTPAC to Exelon, PWPS is showcasing the technology in Europe.
Energi Danmark analyst today issued a 'buy' recommendation for the German front year Cal-14 that currently hovers around 38.85 EUR/MWh, suggesting players should buy the contract now before the new-elect government will implement "less business-friendly" policies.
Japan is to start publishing benchmark prices for short-term LNG imports, in a bid to reduce costs for gas power generators in the country. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) will initiate the index in a bid to reduce the spread between Japanese and US gas prices, and encourage greater use of gas in the country's energy mix.
Profit margins for gas-fired power in Russia are set to see a further squeeze as domestic gas prices rise over the mid-term, forecasts Alexander Grigoryev, analyst at Russia's Institute of Natural Monopolies Research (IPEM). Admitting that the government's recent decision to freeze Gazprom's domestic tariffs in 2014 makes gas forecasts "very speculative", he suggested reduced exports to Europe will lead to higher domestic prices.
Rebuking plans of Labour leader Ed Miliband to freeze gas and electricity prices for 20 months if he wins the 2015 election, the UK Big 6 energy companies have condemned this proposal – at a cost of £4.5 billion – as a roadblock to investment in new power plants which exacerbates the risk of blackouts.
Gas turbine lifetimes could double thanks to new sensor monitoring technology developed by researchers at Cambridge University. The tested sensors monitor turbine operation at higher temperatures more accurately and help reduce fuel consumption between 0.5% and 1.5% as "improved accuracy allows greater control over the amount of fuel ingress," project lead Dr Michele Scervini told Gas to Power Journal.