Archive for the ‘electric power’ Category

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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Marrying the sun and upstream oil production to cash in on LCFS credits

All along, the backers of the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard have claimed that the standard, by not being top-down, is going to spur innovation in helping sellers of transportation fuels reach the state’s goals.

And sometimes, they’re proven right. For example, we blogged awhile ago about a plan to turn landfill gas produced somewhere other than in California into two things: natural gas vehicle fuel, and LCFS credits.

It’s hard to imagine how these little things are going to add up enough to help the state’s fuels industry reach its ambitious goal of a 10% cut in the carbon intensity of its transportation fuels. But it does support the suggestion that some companies or individuals will get creative and capitalize on LCFS processes in various ways.

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Energy Economist: South American hydropower fluctuates, and LNG markets feel the impact

A butterfly flapping its wings in the Andes may or may not have some unforeseen global consequence, but the falling of a raindrop will. South America has a natural gas deficit and a highly variable demand load, owing to its over-dependence on hydroelectricity and the variations in electricity generation that produces. Countries in the region have turned to LNG as a backstop, passing the volatility of hydro generation through to the spot market for LNG. Ross McCracken discusses the issue in this month’s excerpt from Platts Energy Economist.

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Can energy sources get bigger and slower in a world going the other way?

Robert Bryce is no easy-to-pigeonhole right-winger. “The Second Iraq War, costing more than $800 billion, will be remembered as one of the biggest strategic errors in modern US history,” he writes in his new book, Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper. That comes soon after he says “I’ve never believed in American ‘exceptionalism,’ whatever that dubious term might mean.”

The main premise of Bryce’s new book is that lots and lots of things are getting SmallerFasterLighterDenserCheaper, and he strings together those five words into one word frequently in his book.

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New England generators turn away from fuel oil as weather turns warmer

The amount of electricity generated by oil in New England has dropped significantly in recent months as natural gas-fired generation rose by 1,200 GWh month over month, the regional grid operator said.

Oil-fired power plants were relied up on more than usual this winter as the region was hit by frequent bouts of bitter cold. This explains at least in part the noticeable drop in oil’s share of the generation mix heading into the traditional shoulder season.

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What do electricity capacity markets and steroids have in common?

Usually there is not much irony in a Capacity Senior Task Force meeting. But when a regulator speaks up to tell the people responsible for running a competitive power market to ask more competitively, it gets your attention.

The name alone, CSTF, hints at the wonkish nature of group’s mission: to discuss and propose adjustments to the tariff, i.e., the rules that govern the PJM Interconnection’s capacity market.

Capacity markets themselves are a somewhat esoteric, though important, aspect of competitive wholesale markets. They are a component of four regional transmission organizations (RTOs, as the wholesale markets are generally known), but notably not in Texas, which has chosen the energy-only path. That is, they pay power generators only for the amount of electricity they generate.

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Report from Fukushima: lots of cleanup to do, not enough workers to do it

The sudden arrival of a battered Toyota and its three occupants at our place last week underscores the problems Japanese construction steel producers face.

I’m back from a quick trip home. It’s in a once pristine corner of rural Fukushima, just outside the 20km exclusion zone around the crippled Daiichi nuclear plant. The back roads were busier this time, and more lights peeked from distant farm houses.

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What is India’s BJP thinking about the country’s energy policy?

India’s oil and gas sector saw some unprecedented decisions taken last year under the Congress Party-led government.

These ranged from a partial deregulation of diesel prices to a new gas pricing mechanism that would have seen the wellhead price of gas double to over $8/MMBtu. However, the hike — which was ratified twice by the Cabinet — was never implemented as scheduled on April 1 due to India’s upcoming elections.

The Congress-led government last year also started revamping and streamlining upstream policy to incentivise exploration and production.

All in all, 2013 was a busy year for journalists as we struggled to keep pace with and understand all that was going on in India’s energy sector.

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