Tightening supply of thermal coal ahead of the Lunar New Year risks to cause power shortages in some of China’s northern metropolis, regional utilities warned. In a letter to the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), four electric utilities pleaded the government to ease regulations that incentives a switch from coal to gas and increase coal supplies temporarily in order to put a lid on spiraling prices.
The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has approved the PennEast pipeline in a 4-1 vote, acknowledging the clear need for more gas transport infrastructure along the East Coast. The $1 billion PennEast interstate pipeline will bring up to 1 billion cubic feet of daily low-cost Marcellus gas to customers in southeast Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Oklahoma Gas and Electric (OG&E) has filed to the state’s public utilities commission for permission to increase rates, seeking to recover its $390 million investment in the Mustang Energy Center. The 462-MW peaking power plant is the first gas-fired generator that OG&E has built in more than 30 years.
New York mayor Bill de Blasio on January 10, 2018, announced a lawsuit against ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron, BP and ConocoPhillips, claiming the companies intentionally misled the public about the effects of climate change in order to protect their profits. Together with comptroller Scott Stringer, de Blasio submitted a resolution instructing the city's five pension funds to explore ways to divest their fossil fuel holdings. Between them, the funds hold $5 billion worth of securities in over 190 fossil fuel-related companies.
Aspirations of the Trump administration to prop up America’s coal industry have been dealt a blow by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) which rejected U.S. Energy Rick Perry’s proposal to subsidize coal and nuclear power stations if they stockpiled 90-days worth of fuel. Republican and Democrat members of FERC earlier this week unanimously voted against the Department of Energy’s (DoE) proposed “Grid Resiliency Pricing Rule.”
Clarity on the UK coal phase-out will bring the Conservative party’s long-awaited implementation plan which Theresa May will introduce in a speech on her party’s green energy policies this week. One of the UK’s eight remaining coal power stations is expected to shut down this year, the Government said as it reaffirms rules that mandate the closure of all unabated coal-fired generators. Poor economics of coal power stations, combined with effects of the UK carbon floor price and existing EU emission regulations, are likely to lead to all but 1.5 gigawatts of Britain's coal power stations to shut before the 2025 deadline.
South Korea today announced an energy roadmap for 2017-2031 which sets out steps on how to shift the country’s reliance on coal and nuclear power towards renewable energy and natural gas. Paik Ungyu, Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy confirmed the government's plan to shut down seven ageing coal power stations and convert six coal power projects to run on LNG.
France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK have announced at the One Planet Summit in Paris that they would “examine or introduce” an effective CO2 price in "relevant sectors." The UK already in April 2013 unilaterally introduced a carbon tax in the power sector, and the five EU energy ministers underlined their new joint initiative could be “an effective tool to comprehensively decarbonise the world economy.”
Toning down its green energy ambitions, the Government of South Korea has backed away from plans to convert four out of nine planed coal-fired power plant projects to run on natural gas. Instead, only one coal-to-gas conversion is now likely to go ahead, the country’s energy minister said over the weekend.
South Africa’s national utility, Eskom, would benefit its ratepayers and investors by decommissioning its older coal-fired power units and scaling back construction of the controversial 4,800-MW Kusile coal power plant project, said Grové Steyn, lead economist at Meridian Economics in Cape Town. In his view, “South Africa does not for the foreseeable future need a new national nuclear-, coal- or gas-to-power construction program.”
US regulators have reached a settlement with Mississippi Power on the split of the remaining costs associated with the troubled $7.5 billion Kemper County power plant – once intended as a pilot coal gasfication plant before developers pulled the plug over technical issues. After months of quarrels at court, Southern Co. agreed to lower the price tag on the project by $85 million to $853 million, lowering the burden on ratepayers.
As persistent overhang in global gas supplies reduces state revenues, energy ministers from Qatar, Iran, Russia and Venezuela are gathering at this week’s Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. The question is how GECF countries – often referred to as the Gas OPEC – should react to the rampant US gas exports which has adopted a price-setting function on global spot LNG markets.
Differences on energy policy and migration have brought down lengthy and difficult coalition talks between Germany’s Conservatives, the Green Party and the Liberals (FDP). Shortly before midnight on Sunday, FDP head Christian Lindner abandoned negotiations, stating: “The four discussion partners have no common vision for the modernisation of the country, and lack a common basis of trust.”
Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Party (CDU) sees the much-debated option of a successive closure of coal power plants as a “last resort to meet Germany’s 2020 climate goals.” However, the timeline of such a coal exit is subject to fierce debate in the ongoing talks to form a coalition government, with the Conservatives stressing the importance of “reliable and reasonably priced power supply.”