The Japanese trading house Itochu has pulled the plug on investments in thermal coal mines and coal-fired power projects. Having just sold its stake in the Rollestone mine in Queensland, the Japanese firm said it seeks to increase the renewables ratio in its power plant portfolio to over 20% by the end of fiscal 2031.
Abundant supply of cost-competitive shale gas, combined with technological advances, has led to an ever-increasing average size of a combined-cycle gas power block in the United States. While the average CCGT had about 500 MW installed capacity before 2014, the power block capacity has since then increased to an average 820 MW, according to the EIA’s electric generator report.
Indonesia's upstream regulator SKK Migas has announced a significant gas discovery at the Repsol-operated Sakakemang PSC onshore Central Sumatra, Indonesia. If pre-drill estimates are realised, it would be the largest discovery in the country since ExxonMobil's Cepu find in 2001. The latest discovery has the potential to alter Indonesia’s gas supply balance and power generation mix.
New hybrid energy sources, consisting of a combination of renewabes and flexible gas generators, will cover up to 85% of the world’s energy demand growth through 2040, according to BP’s latest Energy Outlook. Fast-developing countries in Asia are expected to push up global energy demand by a third from today’s levels.
Production and use of refined coal – processed to reduce emission when burned – has reached record highs the United States, particularly in the power sector. According to EIA estimates, refined coal’s share of total coal tonnage consumed for U.S. electricity generation will have increased from 15% in 2016 to more than 18% through October 2018.
Sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and carbon dioxide (CO2) emission of the U.S. power sector will remain relatively flat, according to EIA projections, despite an anticipated 23% rise in electricity generation from 2018 to 2050, as most added generation will come from renewables of natural gas.
With electric cars gaining popularity, the global electric vehicle battery market is anticipated to grow at a record 18% rate to reach a size of $120 billion by 2027. Government initiatives and more wide-spread environmental concern in western countries are driving the electrification of the transport sector.
Mexico’s state-run electric utility Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE) is aiming to renegotiate take-or-pay clauses it had agreed with North American gas pipeline developers, including TransCanada and Sempra’s IEnova. CFE is the anchor customer for most new pipelines under construction, but the company's new CEO Manuel Bartlett wants to focus on hydropower, diesel and coal instead of gas-fired generation.
Beginning with the February billing cycle, customers of SCE&G, a wholly owned subsidiary of Dominion Energy, will start seeing the benefits of the Dominion Energy-SCANA merger reflected in their monthly energy bills. Typical customers will see their bills drop 15%, with further reductions in May for fuel and Demand-Side Management participants.
Price will largely determine the share of gas-fired generation in the future power mix of the United States. Scenario analysis in the EIA’s latest Annual Energy Outlook (AEO2019) shows that natural gas could provide between 21% and 54% of all U.S. electricity generation, dependent on fuel prices and relative technology costs.
Implementing the German coal exit will see 12.5 GW of coal-fired capacity being closed by 2022, pushing up the country’s gas demand. To fully replace these shuttered coal plants with gas-fired generation would create a need for additional 81 TWh in gas supply, equating to an 8% rise of German gas demand, says the lobby group Zukunft Erdgas.
The UK government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is inviting applications for funding under a new £320 million Heat Networks Investment Project (HNIP). Designated as ‘gap funding,’ the monies will be is offered through a combination of grants and loans over a period of up to three years.
If the asset swap of RWE and E.ON goes ahead, the resulting companies would have “unprecedented market power”, say Ines Zenke from energy law firm Becker Büttner Held. In 2018, E.ON agreed to buy RWE's subsidiary innogy and the two utilities agreed to exchange large parts of their assets. The swap will leave E.ON focused on regulated distribution grid with stable returns, while RWE takes on E.ON's and innogy's renewable business, on top of fossil power plants.
Natural gas is bound to gain importance in the German power mix starting from the mid-2020s when coal-fired capacity is gradually being phased-out. Energy Aspects says Germany’s coal exit will help more of the global LNG oversupply find a home in Northwest Europe. The 2022 start-up of the Wilhelmshaven FSRU will support this trend.