Up to 30 gigawatts of Japan’s mothballed nuclear power plants are expected to restart in 2014, displacing demand for natural gas power. “The power companies have actually already applied to restart 12 reactors with a total capacity of 11.2 GW, and others will come up over the next year or two no doubt,“ says Niall Trimble, managing director of the Energy Contract Company.
A staggering 96% of 22-gigawatt (GW) of planned combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) projects in the UK have been cancelled or postponed as owners wait to see whether the economic and policy environment become "more favourable", according to Ernst & Young's 'Powering the UK 2013' report. The majority of gas-fired power in the country is deemed "increasingly un-economic to build and operate."
Turkey's current-account deficit is forecast to exceed $60 billion by year-end, propelled up by rising cost for energy imports. Keen to curb oil-indexed gas imports and reacting to a lack of spare capacity in import pipelines, the Turkish government is backing new nuclear power and incentivises the use of domestic lignite, instead of gas, as the fuel of choice for new power projects.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced plans to integrate a concentrating solar power (CSP) plant at the existing 500-megawatt (MW) Cosumnes gas-fired power plant in California with the aim to expand output by 10 MW. The project will be led by the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) and is part of the DOE's strategy to build a diverse range of hybrid energy systems.
A greater reliance on gas instead of coal as a fuel for power generation has helped to slowdown the increase in global carbon emissions to just 1.1% in 2012, a new report from the Dutch Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) shows. The findings, published as part of the organisation's "2013 Trends In Global CO2 Emissions" report, call the slowdown "remarkable" and singled out the changing energy mix in China and the U.S. are key factors for declining emission levels.
US state support and investment for foreign coal-fired plants is set to be greatly reduced following new guidance issued by the treasury this week. Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) are now required to ensure that all coal power projects in developing nations to feature costly CCS technology, and can only support new high efficiency coal capacity if there is no economically feasible alternative.
Peak spending on new installations and renovations of gas-fired power plants may be reached as soon as 2016, analysts forecast. "We expect the natural gas power generation market to peak in 2016 and then subside afterwards, before stabilising by the beginning of the next decade, as demand in the US and Japan declines." Riccardo Patrian, energy analyst at VisionGain Global told Gas to Power Journal.
The Beijing municipal government is fast-tracking its Clean Air Action Plan by announcing the closure of all coal-fired power plants by 2017, three years prior to the original schedule. Four major coal-fired plants are due to be replaced with less carbon-intensive gas power facilities already by 2015, in an effort to tackle the city's crippling air pollution crisis, though analysts warn a gas shortage could delay the coal-to-gas switch.