Germany has emerged as a leader in the European Cogeneration market due to the country's strong commitment to energy efficiency, comprehensive policy promotion through the combined heat and power (CHP) support scheme and the government's decision to phase-out nuclear power is revealed in the recently released COGEN Europe report European Cogeneration Review – Germany.
Natural gas is set to remain important in transitioning the UK to a low-carbon electricity producer in the short term future, but can only play a more significant role beyond the 2020s if carbon capture and storage technology (CCS) is deployed on a commercial scale, according to a report from the London School of Economic’s (LSE) Grantham Institute on Climate Change.
Gas consumption in India has grown at an annual rate of 10 percent from 2001 to 2011 despite insufficient pipeline infrastructure. Natural gas mainly serves as a substitute for coal in electricity generation and with 45 percent of total use, the power sector is currently the largest user of natural gas in India, according to a country specific energy analysis from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Natural gas fired power plants will continue to face severe difficulties to stay in the merit order in competitive OECD Europe power markets in such as Spain, Germany and the UK, as dispatch of coal plants stays more economic at current fuel and carbon emission prices, Dennis Volk, gas and power market analyst at the International Energy Agency (IEA) told Gas to Power Journal in an interview.
"Under current market conditions, gas-fired plants have no longer a big role to play in much of OECD Europe ..."
The use of natural gas to generate electricity in Japan was up by 15 percent in 2012 when compared to 2011, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). Japan's use of all fossil-fuelled power generation was also up 21 percent in 2012 when compared to 2011, and now represents 90 percent of the country's energy mix.
As dispatch patterns shift, gas-fired power plants can now increasingly be described as intermittent energy sources, much in the same way as renewables, Richard Sarsﬁeld-Hall, principal consultant at Pöyry Energy Consulting, said at this year's FLAME Conference in Amsterdam. Weather conditions impact the output of wind and solar installations and subsequently determine what levels of backup power is required from combined-cycle gas and coal plants on an intermittent basis.
Most European power markets face an oversupply of fossil power plant capacity, Guido Custers, Managing Director at Delta Energy said at this year's FLAME conference in Amsterdam. In both the Netherlands and Germany, adverse market conditions and negative profit margins is prompting operators to consider either mothballing or even decommissioning existing gas-fired plants.
Vattenfall, Europe's fifth largest utility, is pessimistic about the prospects of gas as a fuel source in the future energy mix; so in the next few years it is unlikely that new investments (apart from already planned investments) in gas power plants will be forthcoming, said Gabrielle Seeling-Hochmuth, head of gas strategy at Vattenfall's gas competence centre at this year's FLAME gas conference in Amsterdam.
Natural gas consumption in Mexico is on the rise with the country's consumption increasing by 4 percent per year on average during the period between 2007 and 2011 due to growing demand in the industrial sector. Mexico also plans to add 28GW of gas-fired power generation capacity between 2012 and 2027 according to the Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE), Mexico's state-run electricity provider. CFE estimates that this could raise natural gas needs for power generation by 5.1 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d).
The hunger of Turkey's industry for natural gas is unabated, while new government incentives and tax breaks aim to put the use of domestic lignite resources at an advantage over natural gas as a fuel source for power generation.
"We are over reliant on gas imports and this dependency is set to rise in line with GDP growth," said Levent Özcan Caner, Strategy Department, Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, suggesting that government regulation in favour of coal would help reduce Turkey's gas import dependency.
Turkey's gas-fired power generation capacity will continue to expand until new nuclear capacity starts operation. "We believe 60 bcm is a viable figure for Turkey's total gas demand volume by 2020, as gas-fired capacity will defend its 45 percent levels of market share until new nuclear capacity starts operation, said Ali Güleç, Senior Consultant at Deloitte.
Falling energy demand, rising gas prices and the subsidised growth in the renewable electricity supply threaten the future of natural gas as a replacement for coal in Australia's national energy mix, Bret Harper, Associate Director of Research at RepuTex – an Australian specialist energy and carbon research firm – told Gas to Power Journal.