High carbon and low fuel prices in June gave Germany’s gas power plants a competitive edge over lignite-fired generation. According to Fraunhofer ISE findings, gas units’ fuel and carbon costs at €24-28/MWh outcompeted costs of lignite plants at €30-40/MWh, at a time when power prices averaged just under €32/MWh.
America’s green energy transition is gaining pace as retired coal power stations are being replaced with flexible gas peaking plants and renewables. Energy-related CO2 emission in 2019 consequently fell 2.2%, reversing last year’s 2.7% rise, data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) shows.
Egypt has reduced fuel subsidies, raising domestic prices by up to 30% in compliance with requirements for a $12 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). While most fuel prices are now in line with their costs, the government is still subsidizing gas used in bakeries and for power generation.
Australia’s AGL Energy has decided to defer the mothballing of two old gas-fired units at its 1,280 MW Torrens Island Power Station near Adelaide in a bid to meet peakload demand this summer. In a regulatory filing, AGL said the two fast-ramp gas units are meant to compensate for one faulty coal block at Loy Yang-A Power Station in Victoria.
Shale gas is now dominating the overall gas production in the United States and is forecast to reach an average 91.3 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2019, up 8.0 Bcf/d from the previous year. The gas glut is expected to push down Henry Hub spot prices to $2.50/MMBtu in the second half of this year and further increase gas-burn in the power sector.
Generation costs for Germany’s fleet of combined-cycle power plants is getting cheaper than those for coal or lignite for the first time in over a decade, according to a report by BloombergNEF. Analysts find burning gas has become more profitable than lignite “for the first time ever” – a trend set to accelerate the country’s coal exit.
Fossil fuel consumption keeps rising in the United States, largely due to higher natural gas use in the power sector and petroleum consumption for transport. According to EIA figures, gas demand rose in 8 of the past 10 years, surging by 37% since 2005. Thermal coal, in contrast, keeps losing market share and fell by 4.3% in 2018, the fifth consecutive annual decline.
Economic recession and rising inflation has seen electricity demand in Argentina fall for nine consecutive months, down 2.1 % in June year-on-year, while gas demand for power generation stalls. Vaca Muerta, Argentina’s vast shale formation in the Nequina Basin, still attracts interest — but mostly for unconventional oil production.
Too little available electricity supply strained the German power grid at several moments in June. Severe shortages in Germany on June 25 caused a drop in grid frequency throughout the European integrated grid. According to four German transmission system operators (TSOs), “the situation was very tense and could only be managed with the support of European partners.“