Month: December 2020

U.S. Wind Exec Sees Industry Booming With or Without Tax Credits

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享GreenTech Media:U.S. wind installations could top 10 gigawatts a year, even after the federal Production Tax Credit runs out in 2020, a top asset holder said. “I think that 2020 is probably going to be a gargantuan year for the industry, with folks trying to get their projects done before the end of the 100 percent PTC,” said Mark Goodwin, president and CEO of Apex Clean Energy. “But I think it will continue to be strong, [with] 10+ gigawatts hopefully installed per year.”The estimate was “seat-of-the-pants,” Goodwin noted, and could go higher or lower depending on government policy. “I think it’s a good mid-range, maybe even low,” he said. Apex has some experience with large amounts of wind development. It was America’s biggest wind installer in 2015, beating NextEra Energy Resources to the top slot by bringing more than a gigawatt of capacity on-line.The installation estimate is significantly higher than that in MAKE Consulting’s Q3 2017  Global Wind Power Market Outlook Update. This predicts 59 gigawatts of new capacity between 2017 and 2026, or less than 6.6 gigawatts a year.  Like Goodwin, MAKE sees a strong outlook for wind towards the end of the PTC. “2019 and 2020 increasingly appear to be ‘boom years’ that will strain the wind industry’s capacities ahead of policy expiration,” said the update.Post-PTC, though, “expectations remain grim and unchanged amid weakness in demand for power, large-scale pre-2022 subsidized renewables build and other market factors,” MAKE said. Apex, which is probably among the top two U.S. wind installers in terms of project pipeline, doesn’t share that view. “We think that with the improvements in the technology, the economics will remain strong in 2021 and during the phase-out of the PTC,” Goodwin said.More: US Will Soon Surpass 10 Gigawatts of Wind a Year, Apex Chief Predicts U.S. Wind Exec Sees Industry Booming With or Without Tax Creditslast_img read more

S&P: No end in sight for coal plant closings

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):Despite presidential efforts to repeal regulations or otherwise boost coal consumption, power generators in the U.S. are set to retire a total of 14.3 GW of coal-fired power plant capacity in 2018, up from 7.0 GW of capacity retired in 2017, according to an S&P Global Market Intelligence analysis. This year will mark the highest level of coal retirements since 2015, when the U.S. power companies included in the analysis retired 14.7 GW of coal-fired capacity.Another 23.1 GW of coal plant retirements have already been announced or received regulatory approval for 2019 to 2024, marking 71.9 GW of coal retired or scheduled to be retired between 2014 and 2024. The analysis shows about 245.6 GW of current operating coal plant capacity in the U.S. and does not include more recent retirement announcements from Entergy Corp. and a city-owned coal plant in Michigan.Utilities have cited a range of reasons for closing coal plants including higher costs, aging plants, future regulatory uncertainty and public sentiment around the fuel and its contributions to climate change. The trend is expected to continue as aging power plants become increasingly uneconomic, Seth Feaster, an Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis energy analyst, wrote in an October report on coal retirements.NextEra Energy Inc. Chairman, President and CEO James Robo said on an October call that with government incentives, the new build cost of wind and solar is below the operating cost of existing coal and nuclear power plants in the U.S. and projected it will be lower even without incentives within a decade. “I think this industry has not really internalized yet how disruptive that will be when you see the ability to put to work those kinds of widespread renewables, particularly combined with storage,” Robo said.More ($): Coal plant closings double in Trump’s 2nd year despite ‘end of war on coal’ S&P: No end in sight for coal plant closingslast_img read more

U.S. coal consumption to fall to 1979 levels by year’s end, government agency says

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Associated Press:Americans are consuming less coal in 2018 than at any time since Jimmy Carter’s presidency, a federal report said Tuesday, as cheap natural gas and other rival sources of energy frustrate the Trump administration’s pledges to revive the U.S. coal industry.A report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration projected Tuesday that 2018 would see the lowest U.S. coal consumption since 1979, as well as the second-greatest number on record of coal-fired power plants shutting down.The country’s electrical grid accounts for most of U.S. coal consumption. U.S. coal demand has been falling since 2007 in the face of competition from increasingly abundant and affordable natural gas and renewable energy, such as solar and wind power. Tougher pollution rules also have compelled some older, dirtier-burning coal plants to close rather than upgrade their equipment to trap more harmful coal emissions.President Donald Trump has made bringing back the coal industry and abundant coal jobs a tenet of his administration. He and other Republicans frequently attacked former President Barack Obama for waging what they called a “war on coal” through increased regulations that Republicans said killed jobs and harmed the industry. “The coal industry is back,” Trump declared at one rally in West Virginia last summer.Federal government figures continue to show otherwise, however, as market forces inexorably tamp down coal demand. The Energy Information Administration says coal consumption by the country’s power grid will end the year down 4 percent, and fall another 8 percent in 2019.More: U.S. coal consumption drops to lowest level since 1979 U.S. coal consumption to fall to 1979 levels by year’s end, government agency sayslast_img read more

U.S. coal companies continue to lose market value

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):The 12 largest publicly traded U.S. coal producers lost 16.6% of their total market value since September 2018, with just one seeing an increase during the period. The companies’ total market capitalization was $12.68 billion on Sept. 27, 2018, and $10.58 billion as of Jan. 8, 2019, according to data compiled by S&P Global Market Intelligence. Natural Resource Partners LP, the only gainer, grew 31.1% during the period, from $364.3 million to $477.6 million.The companies’ value ranking remained consistent from a few months ago, with Peabody Energy Corp., Alliance Resource Partners LP and Arch Coal Inc. taking the top three top spots. Market capitalization in the sector is still down significantly from 2011, when Peabody led the publicly traded producers with $19.68 billion in value.Westmoreland Coal Co., which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October 2018, experienced the largest decline in market value, falling 88% to $300,000. The company is seeking to sell some of its noncore assets and plans to have its lenders act as a stalking horse bidder and take the core assets in exchange for the company’s debt if there are no better offers.Cloud Peak Energy Inc.’s value dropped by $151.3 million over the period to $29.1 million, an 83.9% decrease. Cloud Peak, one of the largest publicly traded companies to avoid bankruptcy in recent years, was removed from the S&P SmallCap 600 on Jan. 3 and warned by the NYSE on Dec. 26, 2018, that its stock was below the minimum threshold to continue listing on the exchange.Peabody was valued about $1.07 billion higher than Alliance as of Jan. 8 but saw a much larger drop, falling 24.2% compared to a 6.4% decline for Alliance. More ($): Market value of top 12 US coal producers down $2.11B since Q3’18 U.S. coal companies continue to lose market valuelast_img read more

Critics take aim at China’s coal plant financing in Belt and Road Initiative

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Guardian:China will host a trillion-dollar investment summit this weekend amid rising concerns that its funding of overseas coal projects could swamp efforts to keep global warming to less than 1.5C. The Belt and Road forum, which opens on Friday in Beijing, has been billed by climate campaigners as a pivotal moment that will determine whether China uses its vast financial weight to nudge the world towards renewable energy or continues to promote expansion by its fossil fuel companies.In recent years Chinese banks have become the lenders of last resort for coal projects in south Asia, Africa and the Balkans that the World Bank and other international institutes have refused to fund because this dirtiest of fuels is the primary source of carbon emissions from electricity generation.Although China has won kudos for trying to clean up its environment by cutting dependence on coal, its companies are making up for lost business at home by expanding overseas. Most of their funding comes from the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). China says the BRI, which was launched by the president, Xi Jinping, in 2013, accelerates development in many of the world’s poorest countries and builds trade routes that benefit the global economy.Critics say it is a tool to project geopolitical power, suck up overseas resources and vent the excess capacity of a slowing domestic economy, particularly in the steel, construction and power industries. From an environmental perspective, the primary concern is that Beijing is exporting a highly polluting model of growth.Coal is likely to be at the centre of the debate. China’s banks have earmarked $36bn for 102 gigawatts of coal-fired capacity in 23 countries, according to the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. Last year two-fifths of the country’s overseas investment was reportedly spent on this dirty energy.The biggest recipient, with $7bn, is Bangladesh, where China is vying for influence with Japan, South Korea and India. All four countries are building thermal plants in Bangladesh. Last year China Huadian Hongkong Company Limited signed a deal with a local partner to build a 1,320-megawatt plant at Moheshkhali island.More: Belt and Road summit puts spotlight on Chinese coal funding Critics take aim at China’s coal plant financing in Belt and Road Initiativelast_img read more

U.S. coal mining jobs fall to near-record low levels

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Wyoming Public Media:Coal mine employment in the U.S. has fallen to nearly its lowest level since the industry began reporting it. The industry has lost 2,206 jobs since the start of this year, according to updated data from the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).The current average number of coal mine employees sits at 52,310. That’s down nearly half from 2012.Taylor Kuykendall, coal reporter for S&P Global Market Intelligence, said there was no big drop in domestic coal production, but it has been steadily declining. “Since late 2016, a lot of that’s been covered up by a boom in export coal markets. That’s starting to go away here in the third quarter,” Kuykendall explained.He added the drop is also connected to the bankruptcy of Blackjewel LLC this summer, which left well over a thousand people jobless nationwide.But Kuykendall explains the problem for coal jobs may continue as the challenge of oversupply with weakened demand remains. A report from Moody’s Investors Service in October showed the Powder River Basin is expected to see a significant drop in production in 2020 with potential mine closures too.“That it might be time to shut down some of those mines. It’s going to be complicated to see which of those mines might see that. Obviously, there’s a good bit of uncertainty in the region right now,” he said, adding there are several new operators along with a merger coming from Arch and Peabody. “It’s hard to tell if they’re thinking about maybe rationalizing some production or if they have no other plans for that part of the basin. I think Arch and Peabody have demonstrated that, if they’re not getting the prices that they want, they will pull back production,” he said.More: U.S. coal job numbers fall close to 2016 levels U.S. coal mining jobs fall to near-record low levelslast_img read more

Japan completes construction of world’s largest green hydrogen project

first_imgJapan completes construction of world’s largest green hydrogen project FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Recharge:What’s claimed to be the world’s largest facility yet for green hydrogen production from renewables has been completed in Fukushima, Japan, not far from the site of the 2011 nuclear disaster.The Fukushima Hydrogen Energy Research Field (FH2R) uses a 20MW solar array, backed up by renewable power from the grid, to run a 10MW electrolyser at the site in Namie Town, Fukushima Prefecture.A consortium including Toshiba, Tohoku Electric Power and Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) said the project is the largest electrolyser yet to produce hydrogen from clean power sources. The FH2R system can produce up to 100kg of hydrogen an hour, said the partners.The project will be used as a test bed for mass production of green H2, with initial output directed to fuel hydrogen cars and buses in Japan – including some to be used at the Tokyo Olympics later this year.FH2R is the latest in an ever-growing and ever-larger number of facilities around the world linking renewables to production of green hydrogen, which is increasingly seen as a vital part of the energy transition thanks to its ability to reach hard-to-decarbonise sectors such as heating and transport.A project in Austria began operating in November last year that claimed at that stage to be the world’s largest green hydrogen plant using a 6MW electrolyser. Offshore wind has also emerged as a leading contender for renewable hydrogen production with big projects announced by Orsted and Shell this year.[Andrew Lee]More: Japan opens world’s largest green-hydrogen plant near Fukushima disaster sitelast_img read more

Uzbekistan plans major investments in wind, solar generation over next 10 years

first_imgUzbekistan plans major investments in wind, solar generation over next 10 years FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Recharge:The Central Asian state of Uzbekistan plans to build 5GW of solar and 3GW of wind over the next 10 years, its government said.Uzbekistan wants to get 25% of its power from renewables by 2030, with Saudi group ACWA Power, Abu Dhabi’s Masdar and oil giant Total among a first wave of foreign developers already selected to help it meet its goal.ACWA Power will build up to 1GW of wind under a deal revealed last week, while Uzbekistan also has a deal in place with the French oil and gas group’s Total Eren subsidiary for a 100MW solar project.A statement from the energy ministry indicated a tender for 1GW more wind power in Karakalpakstan will be held soon, assisted by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is backing separate efforts to build 1GW of solar, with Masdar already on board.If realised, the plans would propel Uzbekistan into the renewables big league – the nation only got its first turbine in 2017, a 750kW machine from China’s Goldwind. A 1GW wind development of the scale envisaged with ACWA would be by far the biggest in the region and rival the largest onshore wind projects in Europe.[Andrew Lee]More: Oil supermajor Total on board as Uzbekistan sets big wind and solar targetslast_img read more

Oil price collapse likely to undercut EOR-based carbon capture projects, lobbyist says

first_imgOil price collapse likely to undercut EOR-based carbon capture projects, lobbyist says FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):Low oil prices during the coronavirus pandemic could prompt some interest in enhanced oil recovery carbon capture sequestration projects to wane and make pure geological storage of carbon dioxide a more attractive option, Fred Eames, an energy lobbyist and partner at Hunton Andrews Kurth, said during a May 6 webinar hosted by the United States Energy Association.Enhanced oil recovery projects are a type of carbon capture, utilization and storage, or CCUS, that involves injecting carbon dioxide into the ground at oil fields to extract more oil from those locations.But given the glut of oil available during the coronavirus crisis and the fact that enhanced oil recovery costs more than other extractive options, Eames questioned whether interest in such initiatives will lessen. Moreover, oil prices in April imploded due to oversupply caused by coronavirus-related business closures and stay-at-home restrictions.“In this current environment that we’re in, we may have people looking at other options rather than enhanced oil recovery,” Eames said. “If you’ve got the option for enhanced oil recovery or pure geological storage, pure geological storage right now might be looked at as a little more attractive than it was a couple of months ago.”Nigel Jenvey, global head of carbon management at oil and gas consultancy Gaffney Cline & Associates, noted that the majority of CCUS projects are by U.S. oil and gas companies such as Occidental Petroleum Corp., Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp. Of the 10 CCUS projects companies are investing in within the U.S., four of those need significant policy support to make them economically viable, according to a slide Jenvey presented at the webinar.The panelists noted that the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration recently disclosed that nearly $894 million worth of carbon capture and sequestration tax credits were claimed over the last decade by entities that failed to comply with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requirements. As for Congress’s 2018 extension of Section 45Q federal tax credit for CCUS projects, companies are still itching for the IRS to issue the rest of the related guidance, the panelists said.[Esther Whieldon]More ($): Low oil prices may make enhanced oil recovery less attractive, lobbyist suggestslast_img read more

Saudi Arabia considers delaying OPEC oil production boost

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Wall Street Journal ($):Saudi Arabia is considering canceling OPEC plans for an oil output hike early next year, senior Saudi oil advisers said, as Covid-19 cases in many parts of the world rise and the expected return of Libyan crude threatens to swell global supplies.In April, the 13-member, Saudi-led Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and 10 Russia-led producers agreed to carry out record production cuts of 9.7 million barrels a day, as the initial flare-up of the new coronavirus shuttered economies around the world, grounding flights and public transportation and closing offices and factories.The accord called for producers to return that production gradually, in stages of two million barrels of added crude a day, every six months, assuming the worst of the pandemic would fade before the end of this year. In the summer, the group moved ahead with the first hike in output. The next extra two million barrels a day were expected to start flowing in January.Oil advisers in Saudi Arabia now say Riyadh is considering postponing the move until the end of the first quarter.“The market can’t take another two million barrels a day,” said one adviser. Saudi Arabia is the cartel’s largest producer by far, and it has in the past acted unilaterally. That gives it tremendous power to influence OPEC decisions on production.In its latest monthly report in September, OPEC downgraded its estimates for an expected oil demand recovery next year, saying it wouldn’t come as fast and not be as sizable as expected amid resurgent infections from the Covid-19 virus.Crude prices have plateaued recently around $40 a barrel, down sharply from the start of the year. Saudi Arabia needs prices of about $76 a barrel to balance its spending this year and $66 a barrel in 2021, according to the International Monetary Fund.[Summer Said and Benoit Faucon]More: Saudis Consider Canceling OPEC Plans to Boost Output Saudi Arabia considers delaying OPEC oil production boostlast_img read more