In the United States, 97% of all steam coal is used to generate electricity but this consumption fell 29% from its peak of 1,045 million short tons (MMst) in 2007 to an estimated 739 MMst in 2015. According to EIA figures, consumption fell in nearly every state, rising only in Nebraska and Alaska over that period.
Aiming to become “a leading company of the distributed, renewable and digital energy world”, Germany’s E.ON has announced dates for the spinoff and listing of about 53% of shares in its power generation, gas and oil spinoff company, Uniper. A final decision on the Uniper spinning off will be taken by an E.ON shareholders meeting on June 8.
The selecting of the United States as the ‘partner country’ for this years' Hannover Messe underlines the momentum that manufacturing and automation have gained in the US. For Siemens, the country is one of its biggest sales markets and the company is presenting its next-generation software, known as the "Digital Enterprise", at the trade show.
Coal demand has escalated in India’s power sector as over a third of the 65 GW of planned new coal-fired capacity has already been added to the grid. According to India’s Central Electricity Authority (CEA), the country has over 249 GW of utility-based centrally installed capacity – mostly from coal power plants. Renewables are also expanding fast but the government sees flexible gas plants mainly as a supply source for peakload power requirements.
Banpu, a Thai coal mine developer, ventures into upstream gas exploration by investing $112 million in a stake in US shale gas operation in the northeast section of the Marcellus formation in Pennsylvania.
"The timing is good, given low oil and gas prices, and we have invested at a very attractive valuation with substantial upside potential," CEO Somruedee Chaimongkol stated.
Prevailing low global gas prices and weak hydropower availability have stimulated LNG demand in India, where the market share of gas-fired power generation surged by 1.1 TWh, or 40% in February. Ship tracking data indicates a 22% rise in imports in March; hence Energy Aspects has revised its 2016 forecast of Indian LNG imports upwards.
Despite relatively low prices, production of US natural gas production reached a record high level of 79 Bcf/d in 2015, up 5% year-on-year, according to EIA figures. Five states – Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Oklahoma, and North Dakota – produced most of the growth, offsetting declining gas output in much of the rest of the United States.
Producing electricity from natural gas is profitable again in the Netherlands for the first time in four years, incentivising RWE to restart parts of its mothballed 426 MW Moerdijk II combined-cycle gas power plant in early October. Record low fuel prices make previously unprofitable units economically viable again.
Falling gas prices and UK coal power stations, such as Eggborough and Ferrybridge, exiting the market has sparked a sharp rise in electricity generated from CCGTs in the first quarter of 2016. According to Enappsys analysis, gas-fired plants generated 32% more power than in the previous quarter while the contribution of coal generation fell by 18%.