Does coal have a future asked The Financial Post. With environmentalists and climate change scientists aligned against the coal industry and electric power companies, there have been increasing efforts in developed economies to limit its C02 emissions if not ban it outright. For example, the UK charity Christian Aid said this week: “If we are to avoid dangerous climate change we must leave most of the remaining coal reserves in the ground.” The carbon content of coal ranges from 65% in the case of brown coal to as much as much as 91% for anthracite. The Post observed that in the advanced economies, policymakers see little positive role for coal-fired power generation in future if the world is to meet a target of limiting global warming to no more than 2 degrees by 2050. New regulations from the US Environmental Protection Agency effectively ban new coal-fired plants unless they are fitted with expensive carbon capture and storage (CCS) systems. Earlier this month the Tennessee Valley Authority, one of the largest coal-fired generators in the US, announced it will retire eight coal-burning plants because it was too costly to upgrade them to meet the new environmental requirements. In 2007 the Canadian province of Ontario announced it would close all of its coal-fired plants by 2014 and the last plant has just closed.  This makes the province the first jurisdiction in North America to move entirely away from coal. Yet the situation is different in the less developed world. China alone will commission about 600 GW of new coal-fired generating units by 2030, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). Most of the growth in coal demand now comes from China, India and South-East Asia where electricity demand is surging and domestic coal production provides a measure of energy independence, lessening their reliance on imported natural gas and crude oil.

Leaving coal reserves unburned would severely disadvantage countries like China and India with fast-growing energy needs but relatively few oil and natural gas resources of their own. Besides, leaving coal in the ground and switching to gas would quickly strain global gas resources and result in a sharp rise in prices.

The pressure is to find more environmentally acceptable ways to continue using coal. Replacing the current fleet of coal-fired power plants with the most modern generation of ultra-supercritical generators could cut emissions by up to 30 percent. For deeper cuts, CCS, which is not currently economic, will be required.

The Korea Herald said shale gas will be the next big thing in China’s energy landscape. According to the US. Energy Information Administration, China has the world’s largest shale gas reserves, exceeding those of the US. Some now believe China can become the next US. in terms of shale gas output. The Standard Chartered Bank estimates China’s shale gas production could rise to about 61 billion cubic meters by 2020. By 2030, the bank expects shale gas to form the largest component of the country’s natural gas supply. The effect will be to reduce China’s natural gas imports from a projected peak of 40% of total gas supply between 2016 and 2018 to 25%. Currently shale natural gas in China accounts for 1% of its total natural gas production compared with 39% for the United States.

Hopefully, the biggest prize will be reserved for the country’s population, which would benefit directly from the availability of cleaner and cheaper fuel and indirectly from the economic stability resulting from improved energy self-sufficiency. 

UPI noted that Russia’s Gazprom has decided not to exploit the country’s shale gas reserves. The company said that it already has a considerable amount of conventional gas to develop and that its recovery cost is considerably lower than the estimated cost of shale gas production.

Reuters informed us that the US will surpass Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest crude oil producer in 2016. This is the forecast of the International Energy Agency. However, the agency says by 2020 the oilfields of Texas and North Dakota will be past their prime and the Middle East will regain its dominance – especially as a supplier to Asia. India is forecast to become the largest single source of global oil demand growth after 2020.

Methane hydrate was the focus of Energy Tribune. The world’s methane hydrate resource is immense—much larger than the conventional resource base for natural gas. However, the deposits occur primarily on and under the ocean floor,and to a lesser extent in the Arctic permafrost, and there is presently no way to economically extract them. Nonetheless, the US, Japan and China are looking at ways to commercialize this vast resource. The author notes methane is a much more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide and development of the hydrates would both increase the amount of methane in the atmosphere and increase the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration as the methane is burned for power.

I think economic viability is a long shot in any case, but my advice would be to tread very cautiously on the methane hydrates. I think there is a lot of lower hanging fruit that comes with much less environmental risk.

Methane is a much more powerful greenhouse gas than is carbon dioxide, and development of the hydrates would both increase the amount of methane in the atmosphere — because some would surely leak to the air during collecting and processing — and increase the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration as the methane is burned for power. – See more at: http://www.energytribune.com/79645/methane-hydrates-the-ice-that-burns#sthash.9RhlUo4w.L2iX27iH.dpuf
The methane hydrate resource is immense—much larger than the conventional resource base for natural gas. But the deposits occur primarily on and under the ocean floor, and to a lesser extent in the Arctic permafrost, and there is presently no way to economically extract them. – See more at: http://www.energytribune.com/79645/methane-hydrates-the-ice-that-burns#sthash.9RhlUo4w.L2iX27iH.dpuf
Methane Hydrates: The Ice That Burns

From reve we learned that China continues its dominance of the global hydropower market. 30 GW of new hydro capacity was installed during 2012 and half of this was in China.

With the largest installed capacity in the world, accounting for 240.7 GW of total global capacity, the country is continuing its expansion and currently has 61 GW under construction. (Total global capacity at the end of 2012 was 1127 GW)

The same source also examined the global geothermal market. The post examines this market in each region of the world. At the end of 2012 the US had the largest national market with around 3.4 GW of installed geothermal capacity.Total geothermal capacity globally in 2012 reached 11.6 GW. Currently the world geothermal industry is developing 175 geothermal projects with a total potential capacity of 2.5–2.6 GW, around 800 MW of which is at an advanced stage. (Note 1 GW is the size of a typical nuclear power plant.)

The Telegraph posted Nuclear power vs wind farms: the infographic the UK Government doesn’t want you to see (infographic).

Fox News told us about 11 bizarre sources for alternative energy.The list includes body heat, urine, exploding lakes, trains, sugar, jellyfish and the solar wind.

 

 

 

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