China’s powerful National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) has decided to reduce city-gate natural gas prices and trans-provincial gas pipeline tariffs starting from April. Electricity tariffs for industrial and commercial users are also being slashed, said the state-planner who just cut VAT rates for several key industries.
Utilities in the United States implement more and more demand-side management programs to help customers save energy and reduce peak power demand. The Electricity Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) allows demand-response aggregators to participate in reserve markets, which reduces close to 4% of annual peak energy demand.
New-built gas power stations and weather-related factors have led to 3.8 Bcf/d increase in domestic natural gas demand in the United States, pushing up the country’s total gas use by 10% to total of 82.1 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2018, according to EIA’s recently released Natural Gas Monthly.
Florida Power & Light (FLP), a principal subsidiary of NextEra Energy, is advancing plans to build the world’s largest solar-powered battery energy storage system that will replace two fossil power units due for retirement. The future FPL Manatee Energy Storage Center will have 409 MW of capacity when it begins serving customers in late 2021.
Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex), the Mexican oil and gas company, says its 2% month-on-month rise in its natural gas production is aimed at reducing the country’s dependency on pipeline gas and LNG imports from the United States. It consequently strives to intensify fracking at its new Ixachi find in the state of Veracruz.
Growth in global energy demand picks up speed, up 2.3% last year, its fastest pace this decade. Demand for all fuel types grew but fossil fuels still cover about 70% of incremental growth. According to IEA data, natural gas “emerges as the fuel of choice” accounting for 45% of the rise in energy consumption amid strong demand in the U.S. and China.
IGas Energy, an independent UK shale oil and gas exploration company, expects “extremely positive prospects” for developing the country’s shale resources as a preferred alternative to importing pipeline gas or LNG. Demand for natural gas is bound to rise, IGas CEO Stephen Bowler said, suggesting “gas will be the transition fuel in Britain as we move to a cleaner energy future.”
Despite closures, electricity supply from U.S. nuclear power plants has hit a record high in 2018, surpassing its previous peak. By 2025, however, the EIA expects U.S. nuclear capacity to fall by 10.5 GW due to the closing of twelve reactors. Much of this lost capacity will be replaced with flexible gas power plants and renewable energy.
Security of European natural gas supply is coming under threat as around 100 billion cubic metres (bcm) of long-term contracts expire by 2025, domestic production declines and consumption increases as coal and nuclear power plants are being retired. IEA analysts say the EU needs to secure additional imports – either pipeline gas or LNG – to meet up to one-third of its consumption.
Seeking to streamline Siemens AG, chief executive Joe Kaeser is actively considering various options including the sale of the company’s large gas turbine business. Talks are being held with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) about a partial sale of the division or a joint venture, but no final decision has been taken.
Seeking to secure attractively-priced LNG for its power plant fleet, Thailand’s state-run Electricity Generating Authority (EGAT) has announced it will hold a bidding round in May and June. To qualify, interested bidders need to register by April 18. EGAT will then shortlist participants for the first auction in early May.
Renewable generation in the United States has nearly doubled over the past ten years, reaching a new record of 742 million MWh of electricity, or 17.9% of the total U.S. power supply. Amid a steep drop in construction costs, the contribution of wind and solar surged to nearly 90% installed renewable capacity, and the IEA anticipates more capacity additions in the near-term future.
U.S. gas pipeline operator Williams and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) have set up a US$3.8 billion joint venture that centers around Williams' Ohio Valley Midstream (OVM) and Utica East Ohio (UEO) Midstream systems. CPPIB agreed to invest about $1.34 billion for a 35% ownership stake in the joint venture, while William will retain the majority stake.