Markets

The share of electricity generated from gas-fired power plants sold on the Italian day-ahead regulated electricity market continued to see year on year increases in January, standing at 53.3% of total sales against 46.1% in January 2016, according to data from exchange manager Gestore Mercati Energetici (GME).

Natural gas in the form of LNG is expected to continue playing a key role in Japan's energy mix in the future, despite some forecasts suggesting a decrease in consumption is to be expected compared to current levels, according to a senior official at major utility Tokyo Gas.

Electricity demand in Italy was up by 0.4% year on year in December 2016, standing at 26.2 TWh according to data released by Italian power grid operator Terna.

Natural gas had the biggest share in the European generation mix in 2016, with 183 GW installed, accounting for 20.3% of total installed generation capacity.

Total volumes of electricity generated by Enel in 2016 fell 7.8% year on year, standing at 261.8 TWh, according to the company's 2016 preliminary consolidated results.

The situation of congestion in the South-East of France seen at the end of January had somewhat eased in the first week of February, amid temperatures rising to more milder levels that what seen earlier, according to grid operator GRTGaz.

The expected progressive phase-out of lignite-fired capacity and shift to gas-fired capacity in the South Eastern Europe region in the coming decade raises the issue of security of gas supplies and the need for a stable gas market structure to arise, according to a paper published by the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies.

Sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions produced in the generation of electricity at power plants in the United States declined by 73% from 2006 to 2015, a much larger reduction than the 32% decrease in coal-fired electricity generation over that period, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) found.

Brexit is likely to exacerbate the issue of “foreign dependency” on gas supplies for both the UK and Ireland, amid decreasing North Sea gas production, a paper by the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies argued.

“From being hardly foreign dependent at all, the UK and Ireland would become respectively 42 and 97 per cent dependent on foreign gas” OIES's Thierry Bros pointed out.

The UK electricity market has witnessed a sharp rise in gas-fired generation in 2016 at the expense of coal-fired electricity production, which fell “to an all-time annual low” according to a report issued by UK energy consultancy EnAppSys.

Gas-to-power demand from France's 13 CCGT plants reached 495 GWh on January 25 amid a spell of cold weather affecting the country, French gas grid operator GRTgaz said.

European electricity markets have seen the shift from coal generation to gas generation gaining momentum in 2016, with the transition representing one of the biggest trends seen over the year, according to a recent joint study published by UK and German consultancies.

A number of European electricity transmission system operators (TSO) have agreed on steps to further strengthen cooperation in order to optimise electricity exchange capacity between different grids.

Russia's gas exports to Europe hit a “record” level in 2016, rising by 12.5% year on year to around 180 billion cubic meters, according to Gazprom's CEO Alexei Miller.

Having a strong gas network in place is key in ensuring a full transition to a low-carbon energy, according to gas industry association Eurogas.

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