Regulation & Policy

The introduction of a capacity payment market is needed to stop German utilities from closing gas-fired power plants due to low profitability, according to the head of the German energy agency Dena, Stephan Kohler.

The long-awaited UK draft energy is expected to favour new gas-fired and nuclear plants over renewables, as the Government is set to introduce new support schemes - including contract for difference -  as a price guarantee for power companies. The Government will propose a new draft law later today.

 Russia's energy minister Anatoly Yanovsky has backed efforts of Gazprom to go downstream by buying gas-fired power generation assets in Western Europe.

The British government is developing a gas generation strategy with the aim of encouraging investment in new gas plants, said Charles Hendry, minister of state for energy in the U.K.

"The role of gas has not been sufficiently clear," Hendry said at a Lloyd's Register press conference late yesterday, voicing support for a growing role of gas in Britain's energy mix. "The earliest we can have a new gas plant is 2019," he forecast.

Representatives of Germany's four biggest utilities have highlighted the need for new conventional power generation capacity to underping the transition of Germany's energy sector at an "energy summit" with Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Entso-E, the representative body of European TSOs, is criticizing the lack of investment in power grid expansions to support the massive increase of renewable capacity throughout Europe. Gas-fired power plants are widely used to backstop the intermittency of electricity produced by renewable energy sources.

China's State Electricity Regulatory Commission (SERC) has imposed measures compelling power plant operators to improve coordination of plant dispatchment to meet summer peak demand. To this end, SERC set out measures to enhance stability of the power grid by closer supervision of plant dispatchment and load scheduling.

Eurelectric sees the introduction of capacity remuneration mechanisms as an 'option of last resort'. "Policymakers should only consider introducing capacity remuneration mechanisms, or capacity markets, where the proper functioning of energy-only markets is still not enough to ensure system security," Anne-Malorie Géron, head of Eurelectric's Market Unit, told Gas-to-Power Journal.

The Danish government pledges the country can rely entirely on renewable energy by 2050, however gas-fired power generation and increased interconnection capacity are vital to balance electricity supply and demand. "Gas will be needed as a backup for renewable energies, but we are working on replacing natural gas with biogas and other renewable gases," Marlene Hein Nybroe, gas development and preparedness manager at Energinet DK told Gas-to-Power Journal.

The Spanish Congress of Deputies supports the timely introduction of a new cogeneration tariff, with Acogen, Spain's cogeneration association, calling the congress support a "very positive step". Investment into new CHP plants in Spain has come to standstill, following the decision of Spain's government to enact a temporary halt to new feed-in-tariff contracts for renewable energies starting January 2013.

The share of gas-fired power generation in the U.S. energy mix is set to rise as the first carbon pollution standard issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) entrenches the current cost advantage for natural gas over coal.

The rulemaking only concerns new generating units that will be built in the future, and does not apply to existing units already operating or units that will start construction over the next 12 months, EPA said today.

The majority of Europe's gas-fired power plants will be unready or unable to use carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology by 2030 without a U-turn in Britain's energy policy, Green Alliance said in a report published late Tuesday. The lobby group warns further delays in CCS will jeopardise the U.K.'s climate goals.

California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has approved a resolution on ordering California's three investor-owned utilities (IOUs) - Pacific Gas and Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric - to finalise the contract with Calpine Corporation's Sutter Energy Center within the next 30 days.

India's Central Electricity Agency (CEA) has spoken out against the construction of any new gas-fired power plant in the country until 2015-16, as restrained domestic production of natural gas is hampering reliable gas supply for power generation.

Operators of gas-fired plants should be allowed to resell natural gas hubs back to virtual trading hubs as a way of offering demand-side responses on balancing platforms, Eurelectric said in a gas strategy paper today.