The UK parliament rejected plans for tougher regulation on coal-fired power on Wednesday, giving older coal plants a longer lease of life and raising further uncertainty over the shape of proposed capacity markets. "The government is already worried about peak capacity issues given the loss of the LCPD plant and losing more would have meant that the UK would really have struggled to keep the lights on," Trevor Skiroski, analyst at Energy Aspects told Gas to Power Journal.
The Mexican Senate has approved far-ranging electoral reforms that open the path for energy sector reforms to follow, allowing state-controlled energy major Pemex to open up the sector to private investors. The bill has now been passed to the lower house of the Mexican parliament for review, with a vote expected by 15 December 2013.
Bundesnetzagentur (BNetzA), the German energy regulation authority, has received applications for the closure of 30 power plants, with a capacity of more than 6.5 GW, according to a list seen by Gas to Power Journal. Of the 30 plants involved, five ENBW power plants have been declared vital for the system, so a shutdown is not permitted.
The European Commission has published guidelines to limit regulatory interventions in electricity markets through capacity payments and renewable subsidies with a view of making support schemes more cost-effective. Researchers at the Oxford Institute of Energy Studies criticised, however, "the guidance ....shows little sense of the urgency needed to address the increasingly dire situation of conventional back-up capacity for intermittent renewables."
Policy makers in the U.S. have cast doubt over the technological readiness of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) to provide a future for coal fired-power as it faces tougher emissions control from Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) regulation. The Environment and Energy Subcommittee of the House of Representatives held a joint hearing this week to discuss the role of CCS but participants were largely doubtful that current technology could meet demand.
Debate raged over the future direction of UK energy policy as the revised Energy Bill reached the report stage at the House of Lords on Monday. The bill proposed tough targets for decarbonisation, limiting the economic viability of fossil fuel generation, and was narrowly rejected by the house. Some members of the Lords criticized the proposed capacity mechanisms saying they risk increasing energy costs and have not yet brought forward investment in new gas power plants.