Prices for Australian thermal coal remain on a downward trajectory amid oversupplied global markets and tepid demand – not least due to Europe’s rapidly falling coal-fired power production. In Asian markets, lower coal imports from South Korea and Taiwan adds further to the supply overhang, Morgan Stanley Research finds.
Three days ahead of the UK General Election on December 12, the Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell has pledged the Labour Party would kick-start the process of re-nationalizing Britain’s power and water companies within the first 100 days upon assuming office. Several UK utilities have already moved part of their ownership offshore to protect their assets.
Temperatures fell below freezing in 75 percent of the United States during a record cold-snap in early November, propelling up prices for both natural gas and electricity. In northeast Pennsylvania, gas prices at the Tetco M3 hub in surged from less than $2.00/MMBtu to $5.11/MMBtu while prices at Chicago Citygate hub in the MISO market zone reached $3.00/MMBtu.
Canada’s natural gas production is forecast to surge 30% through 2040, allowing for gas and renewables to displace coal in the power sector in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia. In its long-term energy outlook, the Canadian Energy Regulator (CER) also sees the energy use per capita fall over 15% by 2040, limiting growth in fossil fuel use to less than 1%.
Analysts at the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) see an ongoing rush among utilities to retire coal power units, particularly those with high running costs and low operating flexibility. By the end of the next decade, the EIA projects almost 90 Gigawatt (GW) of coal-fired capacity will be shut down before the end of their lifetime.
French network operator GTRgaz says it sees “no supply problems” for the upcoming winter thanks to high storage levels and better ways to balance France’s new single market place, called Trading Region France (TRF). As of early November 2019, the volume of natural gas in storage stood at a record 129 terawatt hours (TWh).
Germany’s electricity production from wind and solar energy sources will overtake fossil power plants for the first time this year. From January to November 2019, renewables already generated 24 TWh more than coal- and gas-fired power units in the first eleven months of this year, said Fraunhofer ISE professor Bruno Burger.
State-owned Electricity Generation Authority of Thailand (EGAT) has awarded a tender to Petronas of Malaysia to supply 130,000 tonnes of LNG to Thailand, designated to fuel EGAT’s growing fleet of gas-fired power plants. The first cargo is due to arrive before December 31, followed by a second cargo in April 2020.
Npower, one of the UK’s Big Six energy companies and owned by E.ON, has announced it will shed up to 4,500 jobs in Britain and merge its domestic customer service operations with E.ON UK. A carve-out of Npower’s industrial and commercial customers is meant enhance profitability but the restructuring will cost the energy supplier an estimated £500 million.