Archive for the ‘electric power’ Category

IHS CERAWeek 2015, Day 4: Power ballad ending

Thursday is not the final day of IHS CERAWeek, but it is the final day focused on a particular commodity. It’s also Platts’ final day at CERAWeek this year. Thursday’s focus on electric power allows for a wide variety of topics, though, from coal to actual power generation to natural gas and everything in between.

We had two editors roaming the sessions Thursday, one to focus on coal and one to focus on electric power. Some of what we heard was shared from @PlattsPower, although @PlattsCoal, @PlattsGas and @PlattsOil also got some fodder from various officials sharing their plans. Just as a good power ballad has to come to an end, our coverage of this year’s CERAWeek is ending, and here are some thoughts from our editors about Thursday’s events.

Read the rest of this entry »

Oil and biofuels vehicles, check your mirror; the car behind you might be electric…

Time was when humanity seemed to take endless leaps forward in terms of technology. There was a sense that everyone was pushing forward at the same time and in the same direction. In today’s world, when investing in the next big tech, the great diaspora of ideas can be a challenge that divides investment funds, and has the ability to muddle that sense of direction, that notion of collective tech-progress.

Which brings us to cars. Combustion engines surely can’t go on for ever, that much is clear, but in that maelstrom of ideas, could the electric car now be attaining a critical mass? And could the two great energy and transport rivals — oil and biofuels — be developing a blind spot around their rise?

Read the rest of this entry »

How falling commodity prices have flattered Chinese GDP in 2015

What’s in a number? Quite a lot when it comes to Chinese GDP.

Especially when it’s 7%, which was the real growth rate of the Chinese economy in the first quarter of 2015, compared to the first quarter of last year, according to the Chinese National Bureau of Statistics, who released this much-awaited data point on April 15.

Read the rest of this entry »

Guest post: Out of sight, out of mind? Vermont considers its renewables

John Kingston is president of The McGraw Hill Financial Global Institute and director of global market insights. He continues to observe energy markets after his many years with Platts.

There’s another growing kerfuffle in Vermont, which we’ve written about before as it tries to balance a seemingly impossible array of choices as it moves forward with its energy future. It’s a small state, but some of the conflicts there are sure to be duplicated in other parts of the US…and the world.

Read the rest of this entry »

New aluminum batteries illuminate the bigger issues of storing electric power

Picture a familiar scenario. Your work day has over run, and you find yourself on a platform waiting for a train that isn’t coming. You attempt to call your spouse to say you’ll be late home for whatever’s left of your cold, sorry dinner. Then it happens. The last little magical bar of power on your smartphone disappears, the screen goes blank and the device switches off. Fellow train-spotters nod in sympathy as you shake your phone, and wonder aloud, “But I only just charged the darn thing!”

Read the rest of this entry »

Revenge of the renewables: How wind and solar play in Germany and Texas

Are big baseload power providers in Texas destined to suffer the same fate as their counterparts in Germany?

The question arises because Texas is once again undergoing a surge of wind generation installations at a time when wholesale power prices are already on the floor, and zero pricing due to existing wind generation is prevalent.

Read the rest of this entry »

A stark moment of truth for Europe’s power plants

A mirthless laugh from Enel CEO Francesco Starace greeted Platts’ question on European power markets March 18.

The Italian utility likes to do things in style, flying in dozens of immaculate assistants and glamorous foreign correspondents for its annual investor day, laying on breakfast and lunch for the assembled hacks and analysts.

Read the rest of this entry »

UK election kicks off an uncertain period for energy investors

The UK’s general election kicked off Monday with the official closure of parliament, heralding 38 days of campaigning ahead of the May 7 vote. With clear policy differences between the parties and the polls too-close-to-call, energy investors could be set for an uncertain year ahead.

Read the rest of this entry »

Location, location, location: How much a 10 GW power gen retirement matters

Tucked in the recently released PJM Market Monitor annual report are a couple of tables showing that there will more than 10 GW of generation retired this year in the PJM footprint.

The conventional wisdom goes that 1 MW of power provides electricity to roughly 1,000 homes. So, if 10 GW are retired, then supposedly an estimated 10 million homes in the PJM footprint are going to be without power.

Read the rest of this entry »

Crunch time for EU carbon market reform: time for compromise?

What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object? One answer to this paradox is “nothing” since irresistible forces and immovable objects can’t co-exist. At least not in the real world.

But what happens when the irresistible force is the political will of the European Union to reform its carbon market ahead of global climate talks later this year, and the immovable object is a group of EU member states who are resolutely opposed to higher carbon prices?

Read the rest of this entry »