Archive for the ‘electric power’ Category

Energy Economist: short cuts to energy fusion

In this month’s selection from Platts Energy Economist, Ross McCracken recaps some recent steps in the long, slow slog to capturing the power of the atom not by splitting it, but by their combination.

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UK power margins tighten further for winter, but gas stocks high

A fire broke out Sunday at the UK’s 1,400 MW Didcot B gas-fired power station, in the latest of a series of unexpected problems that have considerably tightened the margin of spare supply available to the country’s electricity market this winter.

Damage to the cooling towers has resulted in the shutdown of 50% of the station’s output, removing some 700 MW from the grid.

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Do problems loom for much ballyhooed US natural gas midstream?

The midstream segment of the US natural gas business — pipelines, processing and storage — is where investment is targeted based on the assumption that a lot of new shale gas will be produced and consumed over the next couple of decades.

What some are wondering and worrying about, though, is whether the future price of natural gas will hold up and not wreck the credit of those making the infrastructure investments.

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Keeping the electricity flowing in Europe and the UK…or at least trying

Among the many brilliant and baffling woodcuts by the Dutch artist MC Escher is a depiction of what appears to be a triangle made of three sections of wood, which is in fact an impossible construct owing to the way the joints appear to fit together.

If it existed at all, it would resemble the leg of an insect, which viewed from one position only would appear to enclose a triangle, but in reality it would form a three-part zigzag in space, two of its ends far apart.

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Bank commodity trading and the US Fed: An unfolding relationship

Last week something serendipitous happened. I went to what was ostensibly a briefing and news broke out.

The news was that the big French bank BNP Paribas, after some high-level recruitment from a decamping JP Morgan Chase, intends to try and rebuild North American physical electricity trading to go along with its existing natural gas trading operations done primarily through its offices in New York.

BNP’s decision bucks the trend set by a number of other big banks—most notably JP Morgan Chase, Deutsche Bank and Barclays Plc– who have pulled out of several areas of physical energy commodity trading due to a combination of changing market conditions and flagging revenues, but perhaps most importantly, due to mounting regulations.

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The “sharing” economy and its impact on raw materials

What would happen if the American consumer, the most voracious buyer the world has ever seen, becomes more efficient at purchasing?

That is the question that could shape our future economics as the sharing of goods and services continues to proliferate with the aid of smart phones and social media.

Will ride sharing services like Uber and Lyft put taxis out of business? Will Airbnb, which connects vacationers to people with rooms — or castles — to rent, put hotels out of business?

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Energy politics can be tough on Massachusetts politicians

Practicing politics in Massachusetts must be like steering a ship toward a safe harbor while running away from a hurricane. Certainly Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, who is being battered by environmentalists, must feel that way.

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The Latin American quandary: lots of shale gas, not a lot of production

Imports of liquefied natural gas to Latin American are up 18% so far this year, according to Bentek, a unit of Platts, buoyed by growing demand from Mexico and Brazil. But, with so much recoverable indigenous supply, why is Latin America paying top dollar for imported gas?

According to the US Energy Information Administration, technically recoverable shale gas resources in Argentina are the second largest globally at 802 trillion cubic feet, Mexico’s reserves are the sixth largest at 545 Tcf, while Brazil ranks tenth with reserves estimated at 245 Tcf.

Accessing these shale reserves requires political will and costly investments, factors that have combined in various ways across the region to impede domestic production and make LNG an easy, though short-sighted solution to growing demand for electricity in Latin America.

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US Supreme Court opens the “BACT” door for EPA on CO2, but it could swing two ways

The US Supreme Court last week rejected the methodology the Environmental Protection Agency used to implement its first-ever regulations on carbon dioxide emissions, but did lay out a path the agency can follow to achieve the same end by using the Clean Air Act’s the “Best Available Control Technology,” or BACT, provisions.

And although the ruling could be viewed as a win for EPA, it may end up being a victory that does not advance the agency toward its ultimate goal.

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UK utilities under scrutiny as wholesale gas and power falls

UK gas and electricity prices are back in the spotlight after the country’s energy regulator, Ofgem, wrote to the nation’s major energy suppliers asking them to explain why household bills weren’t reacting to falling wholesale markets.

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