Markets

Drinking water in the Middle East needs to be generated in a highly energy-intensive process. According to IEA projections, the production of desalinated seawater in the Middle East will rise almost fourteen-fold to 2040, and there is a shift towards membrane-based desalination and away from fossil fuel-based thermal desalination.

Sunny south-western parts of the United States is where solar PV plus energy storage can now outcompete flexible gas-fired peaking plants. Several tenders in the region for solar plus storage came in at less than $30/MWh last year – and technology costs keep falling.

Market observers have questioned the commercial viability of a new 300 MW ‘emergency reserve’ power plant at Irsching, Bavaria. Uniper has won a tender to build the open-cycle unit even though it is seeking to mothball two combined-cycle power units at the same site.

Electricity produced from wind farm will be the fastest growing U.S. power source for at least the next two years. About 11 gigawatts (GW) of wind capacity is due to come online in 2019, pushing up the share of wind in the energy mix from 7% in 2018 to 9% in 2020, according to EIA figures, while the share of gas is set to rise from 25% to 27% over the same period.

Suspension of Hitachi’s 2.9 GW Wylfa nuclear power project and the phase-out of coal power by 2025 will greatly enhance the role of gas in the UK energy mix. To replace the lost capacity at Wylfa with combined-cycle gas power plants, operators would require close to 3.5 bcm of gas per year.

Falling technology cost and supportive policies are seen pushing up the American grow from currently $400 million to top $4 billion by 2024. According to Global Market Insights, power storage could become a “market disruptor”, having nearly doubled in 2018 by adding yet another 1,000 MWh of capacity.

Though trade tensions with the U.S. affected China’s GDP figures in the fourth quarter, demand growth in China’s electricity sector is still “phenomenal,” Wood Mackenzie says. Total power demand in 2018 is estimated to have fallen by just 0.5%, or 32 TWh, based on tariffs on US$34 billion of goods with effect from July.

U.S. natural gas prices at Henry Hub have surged nearly 25% to top $3.60 per million British thermal units as a cold spell gripped the nation, pushing up domestic gas demand for power generation along with shale gas production. As a consequence, U.S. LNG exports were slightly lower this week.

VAKT, creator of a commodity post-trade processing system, has just won three new three new strategic investors: Chevron, Total and Reliance Industries. The oil majors will also become early users of VAKT’s blockchain-enabled platform.

Japan’s Hitachi Group today decided to suspend construction works at its Horizon division’s Wylfa nuclear power plant in northern Wales. With the £20 billion Wylfa project shelved, Hinkely Point is now the only nuclear project left in Britain, so flexible gas power and renewables will have to fill the looming capacity gap.

2019 could be a “year of incongruity,” Energy Aspects says, pointing to a rush of supply FID for gas liquefaction and export terminals happening against a backdrop of a market in oversupply. Analysts expect four new LNG Trains to start up or ramp up in Q1-2019, and considering the mild Asian winter, this leaves some 5.7 Bcm y/y of incremental supply available for the European market that quarter.

South Australia’s large-scale Hornsdale battery (100 MW) has helped save nearly $40 million in grid stabilization costs in its first year running, but the success of energy storage undermines the role of gas peaking plants. Flexible combined-cycle plants get dispatched less, also due to higher gas prices, leaving some at risk of mothballing.

As the global sentiment turns against coal, the Institute of Energy Economics Japan (IEE Japan) has modelled a case in which all new coal-fired power plant projects would be banned from 2020. If natural gas was to replace coal in the energy sector, global primary gas consumption would surge by 1.3 trillion cubic metres (Tcm) to reach 7.3 Tcm in 2050.

Britain is strong market for sellers looking to home excess gas supply this winter, National Grid said when announcing a record send-out of its Grain LNG import terminal. A robust NBP price and anticipated lower variable costs for gas processing are likely to keep attracting spot cargoes to the UK.

Demand for LNG in Japan is anticipated to fall for the third year in a row as the renewable energy build-out accelerates and nuclear reactors restart gradually. According to the Institute of Energy Economics Japan (IEE Japan) LNG supplies will ease from 82.3 mt in fiscal 2018, down 0.3% to 82 million ton in fiscal 2019, which starts on April 1.

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