Despite early signs of a recovery, Wärtsilä has faced a 13% plunge in net sales to €2,078 million in the first half of this year as many investments in new power plant capacity continue to be postponed. The build-out of energy storage was “at a good level,” especially when linked to thermal balancing power units.
Despite a rapid build-out, renewables cannot keep up with the pace of global electricity demand growth which requires more fossil generation. After falling by about 1% in 2020 due to the pandemic, demand is set to grow by nearly 5% in 2021 and 4% in 2022, the International Energy Agency (IEA) finds.
Utilities in the United States switch to burning thermal coal as gas deliveries to power stations get more expensive amid rising Henry Hub prices, currently around $3.22/MMBtu. Coal power consequently gained 4% in market share to 24% while the share of gas power fell 3% to around 36%, according to US government analysis.
Industries in Guangdong, southern China’s manufacturing hub, are forced to ration their electricity use as China Southern Power Grid, the regional TSO, is struggling to meet demand. Export-orientated manufacturers in the province staged 30% growth the first five month of 2021 alone, though supply of coal-fired and imported power from Yunnan is limited.
A rebound in gas demand through 2024, following the pandemic-related plunge lasts year risks to undermine the world’s goal of reaching net zero emissions by 2050, the International Energy Agency (IEA) warned. Gas demand in 2021 is forecast to rise 3.6% as global economies recover from the coronavirus crisis.