Germany has emerged as a leader in the European Cogeneration market due to the country's strong commitment to energy efficiency, comprehensive policy promotion through the combined heat and power (CHP) support scheme and the government's decision to phase-out nuclear power is revealed in the recently released COGEN Europe report European Cogeneration Review – Germany.
Natural gas is set to remain important in transitioning the UK to a low-carbon electricity producer in the short term future, but can only play a more significant role beyond the 2020s if carbon capture and storage technology (CCS) is deployed on a commercial scale, according to a report from the London School of Economic’s (LSE) Grantham Institute on Climate Change.
Gas consumption in India has grown at an annual rate of 10 percent from 2001 to 2011 despite insufficient pipeline infrastructure. Natural gas mainly serves as a substitute for coal in electricity generation and with 45 percent of total use, the power sector is currently the largest user of natural gas in India, according to a country specific energy analysis from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Natural gas fired power plants will continue to face severe difficulties to stay in the merit order in competitive OECD Europe power markets in such as Spain, Germany and the UK, as dispatch of coal plants stays more economic at current fuel and carbon emission prices, Dennis Volk, gas and power market analyst at the International Energy Agency (IEA) told Gas to Power Journal in an interview.
"Under current market conditions, gas-fired plants have no longer a big role to play in much of OECD Europe ..."
The Cockenzie Power Station in East Lothian, Scotland has shut down all four of its turbines after using up all of its permitted running hours under EU regulation. Owner and operator ScottishPower already has planning permission, obtained in 2011, to build a new 1000MW gas-fired combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power station on the site of the now shut down Cockenzie plant.
Wärtsilä has launched a new product called the GasReformer for turning gas associated with the production of oil into energy. Traditionally such gases would be flared and wasted but the GasReformer uses steam reforming technology to convert gases rich in hydrocarbons into a methane rich product which can be used as fuel in gas fuelled engines.
The use of natural gas to generate electricity in Japan was up by 15 percent in 2012 when compared to 2011, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). Japan's use of all fossil-fuelled power generation was also up 21 percent in 2012 when compared to 2011, and now represents 90 percent of the country's energy mix.
Temporary energy provider Aggreko has signed Tri-Party Power Purchase Agreements (TPPA) with Mozambique utility Electricidade de Moçambique (EDM) and Namibian utility NamPower to provide them with up to 32MW and up to 90MW of gas fuelled power, respectively from its interm power plant at Gigawatt Park in Ressano Garcia, Mozambique.
As dispatch patterns shift, gas-fired power plants can now increasingly be described as intermittent energy sources, much in the same way as renewables, Richard Sarsﬁeld-Hall, principal consultant at Pöyry Energy Consulting, said at this year's FLAME Conference in Amsterdam. Weather conditions impact the output of wind and solar installations and subsequently determine what levels of backup power is required from combined-cycle gas and coal plants on an intermittent basis.
Most European power markets face an oversupply of fossil power plant capacity, Guido Custers, Managing Director at Delta Energy said at this year's FLAME conference in Amsterdam. In both the Netherlands and Germany, adverse market conditions and negative profit margins is prompting operators to consider either mothballing or even decommissioning existing gas-fired plants.
Norwegian utility Statkraft has decided to put a second gas-fired power plant in Germany into cold reserve by announcing the planned closure of its 510 MW 'Robert Frank' installation in Landesbergen, Germany this summer due to unprofitable market conditions. The transmission system operator TenneT had recently classified the power plant as non-system relevant.
Vattenfall, Europe's fifth largest utility, is pessimistic about the prospects of gas as a fuel source in the future energy mix; so in the next few years it is unlikely that new investments (apart from already planned investments) in gas power plants will be forthcoming, said Gabrielle Seeling-Hochmuth, head of gas strategy at Vattenfall's gas competence centre at this year's FLAME gas conference in Amsterdam.