The U. S. Energy Information Administration foresees continued dominance for coal, gas and oil
Based on its latest projections, EIA said global carbon dioxide emissions from energy activities will rise from 36 billion metric tons in 2012, the baseline year used for the 2016 outlook, to 43 billion metric tons in 2040.
Rapid economic growth in China, India, Indonesia, Brazil and other emerging countries will drive global energy consumption to nearly double by 2040, according to new projections released yesterday by the Department of Energy.
But the associated rise in carbon emissions will not keep pace with overall energy consumption, thanks to a shifting global energy portfolio that relies less on coal for power generation and more on natural gas and renewable energy resources, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its 2016 International Energy Outlook.
Based on its latest projections, EIA said global carbon dioxide emissions from energy activities will rise from 36 billion metric tons in 2012, the baseline year used for the 2016 outlook, to 43 billion metric tons in 2040.
That’s a 34 percent increase in energy-related CO2, compared to a 48 percent increase in overall energy consumption from 2010 to 2040, when EIA says the world will consume a record 815 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) of energy.
But some critics of EIA’s methodology say the projections on global energy use and CO2 emissions failed to adequately account for major international policy initiatives, including last year’s pledge by nearly 190 U.N.-member countries to make sharp reductions in energy-sector greenhouse gas emissions.
In a public rollout of the data at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski said that the agency used more sophisticated modeling tools for the 2016 report than previously available, especially in the transportation sector, and that the world’s demand for fossil fuels will continue to grow.
“Even in the aftermath of Paris, I think that our numbers suggest that growth and need for petroleum in transportation and industry is still going to be pretty strong,” he said. “Those numbers could come down over time, but it’s still really hard to compete with the energy density that’s in oil.”
Don’t count out fossil fuels
Among other things, the new report portends continued rising demand for natural gas, along with sustained growth in wind, solar and nuclear energy production. Renewables, led by wind and hydro power, are projected to be the fastest-growing energy resource over the next two decades, according to EIA, expanding by 2.6 percent annually through 2040.
Nuclear will also see solid growth, at 2.3 percent annually, underscored by China’s commitment to add 139 gigawatts of nuclear capacity to its grid by 2040. Natural gas, long the No. 3 source of global energy behind oil and coal, will by 2030 become the world’s No. 2 resource as coal consumption plateaus with the onset of new international carbon regulations.
Consumption of oil and other forms of liquid petroleum will fall modestly over the next 24 years, from 33 percent of total marketed energy consumption in 2012 to 30 percent in 2040. Oil will continue to be a primary fuel for the transport sector, as well as a key fuel for industrial uses in emerging countries.
But experts cautioned against the idea that fossil fuels will become 20th-century energy anachronisms by the middle of the 21st century. In fact, fossil fuels will still account for 78 percent of global energy use in 2040, even as the growth in non-fossil fuels exceeds that of oil, coal and gas.
“Abundant natural gas resources and robust production—including rising supplies of tight gas, shale gas, and coalbed methane—contribute to the strong competitive position of natural gas,” EIA said in the outlook.
While considerably diminished from a decade ago, coal-fired power generation is expected to grow by 0.6 percent annually over the coming years and will account for between 28 and 29 percent of global power generation by 2040, compared to 40 percent in 2012.
Natural gas and renewables, including hydropower, are also expected to claim between 28 and 29 percent of total global power generation by 2040, with the remainder coming from existing and new nuclear plants.
“This is going to happen in many places around the world, and it will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by a significant amount,” Sieminski told energy policy experts and journalists gathered at CSIS’s granite-and-glass headquarters on Rhode Island Avenue.
In one of the first high-level analyses of how U.S. carbon regulation will affect global energy markets, EIA projects that U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan would further shave coal consumption by roughly 1 percent after 2020 while driving a comparable increase in renewable energy deployment.
“It changes the global numbers a little bit, it changes the U.S. numbers more, and it particularly changes coal in the U.S. by more,” Sieminski said. “You can see coal plateauing.”
Critics slam projections
Among the world’s three largest coal users—the United States, China and India—only India is projected to see an overall increase in coal consumption by 2040. China is expected to begin reducing its use of coal after 2025, while the United States is already seeing a downward trajectory in coal use, one that could grow steeper if the Clean Power Plan is upheld in court.
While U.S. markets and policy will continue to be critical benchmarks for global energy, the United States will not be among the fastest-growing energy markets going forward, EIA found.
In fact, by 2040, nearly two-thirds of all of the world’s energy use will be in developing countries outside the 34-member Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. Among non-OECD members, Asian countries like China, India and Indonesia will account for 55 percent of all new energy use through 2040, the analysis found.
Increasing oil and liquid fuels consumption for industry and transportation will be particularly strong in countries like China and India, Sieminski said, where rising incomes and a proliferation of privately owned cars and trucks has led to significant increases in vehicles miles traveled (VMT).
But critics like David Turnbull of the climate-focused nonprofit group Oil Change International said EIA should have given stronger consideration to shifting national and international climate policies, especially over the last several years.
“We all know that we’re moving in a different direction now,” Turnbull said. “The Paris Agreement was a clear indication that the fossil fuel era was ending. To make a projection that ignores some of these major shifts in public opinion, in energy markets, in renewable energy policy, is leaving out a big piece of the picture.”
A spokesman for EIA stressed in an email that the agency did not ignore the Paris accord or other international agreements in its analysis.
In fact, the report makes clear that EIA “has tried to incorporate some of the specific details,” such as renewable energy goals put forward in the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, in its 2016 IEO reference case. “However, a great deal of uncertainty remains with regard to the implementation of policies to meet stated goals.”
In his comments at CSIS, Sieminski acknowledged that long-term projections like those in the IEO are imperfect and that policy and technology changes can lead to radically different outcomes than the best analysis can predict.
“There’s probably a lot of flex in these numbers,” Sieminski said. “Does that mean that we are wasting taxpayer dollars doing it? The answer is no. It’s hugely valuable to policymakers, it’s hugely valuable to the public.”
“We see an alarming development,” says senior researcher Cathrine Lund Myhre at the Norwegian Institute for Air Research (NILU).
Levels of methane increased sharply from 2013 to 2015 and are the highest ever measured.
Director of the Norwegian Environment Directorate, Ellen Hambro, said that the development gives reason for concern. “If the reason is release of methane from thawing permafrost and from the Arctic Ocean, then it is alarming. It will give climate change a self-reinforcing effect,” Hambro said.
The main sources of methane include boreal and tropical wetlands, rice paddies, emission from ruminant animals, biomass burning, and extraction and combustion of fossil fuels. Further, methane is the principal component of natural gas, and leaks from sources such as pipelines and offshore and onshore installations are a known source of atmospheric methane. The distribution between natural and anthropogenic sources is approximately 40/60 respectively. Of natural sources there is a large unknown potential methane source under the ocean floor, known as methane hydrates and seeps. Further, a large unknown amount of carbon is bound up in the permafrost layer in Siberia and North America, and this could be released as methane if the permafrost layer melts in response to climate change.
Reference: compiled from press release
CLP Power says project will open city up to additional source of gas supply and help meet post-2020 fuel mix requirements
CLP Power is eyeing the eastern waters of the Soko Islands, off southern Lantau, for a floating liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal that will enable it to tap more gas from international markets.
This will come nearly a decade after it shelved a land-based version of the project in the southern Sokos despite government approval. A 25-year gas deal with the mainland was signed instead.
The project will help it meet new requirements for half of the city’s electricity needs to come from natural gas after 2020.
CLP, which supplies Lantau, Kowloon and the New Territories, remains tight-lipped on details such as costs and tariff implications, but said the facility would provide the city with additional sources of gas at more competitive market prices and spread out price risks.
CLP’s gas is now piped from Central Asia via the Second West-East Gas Pipeline as part of the contract with the mainland and from the depleting Yacheng gas field near Hainan. As a result,it has little bargaining power over prices.
HK Electric, which supplies Hong Kong and Lamma, obtains Australian and Qatari gas via an LNG receiving terminal in Dapeng, Shenzhen.
“If we don’t have another source…we will have to continue to buy gas from the mainland and our bargaining power will remain weak,” said CLP senior director Edward Chiu On-tin.
The offshore facility, spanning less than a hectare in size, will likely handle about 30 to 50 carriers a year. LNG transferred to the terminal will be converted back into gas and piped to Black Point Power Station in Tuen Mun for use in power generation.
While 22 such terminals are already in operation worldwide, Chiu admitted such a project would be first for Hong Kong. “We will have to consult the Town Planning Board and the Marine Department” on planning and regulation matters, Chiu said.
The company will be submitting a project brief to the Environmental Protection Department in due course.
From there, an environmental impact assessment will be conducted, which will address issues such as impacts on the planned Soko Islands and Southwest Lantau marine parks. Chiu expected “temporary impacts” during the construction phase, but did not foresee any major ecological harm in the long-run as no land reclamation was required.
Dolphin Conservation Society chairman Dr Samuel Hung Ka-yiu said the project did indeed have a smaller footprint than the original land-based project, but posed the same environmental challenges.
“The main facility is located in key habitat used by the finless porpoise and undersea gas pipes are likely to pass through other marine parks around Lantau.”
WWF-Hong Kong’s Samantha Lee mei-wah said regasification – a process which involves pumping seawater to heat the LNG back into gas form – could disrupt fisheries. “This freezing water is discharged and the sudden reduction in seawater temperatures can harm marine life,” she said.
CLP says other locations are being considered, but the waters east of the Soko Islands will remain a “high priority” option.
Energy Advisory Committee member Dr William Yu Yuen-ping said the facility would provide Hong Kong with cheaper gas, but would likely be an expensive fixed asset with a long payback period.
The Environment Bureau said it would review the plan upon receiving CLP’s project proposal.
Source URL: http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/health-environment/article/1935188/hong-kong-electric-company-plans-floating-lng
November 24, 2014
Chemicals company Ineos said on Thursday that it is planning to invest $1 billion in shale gas exploration and appraisal in the United Kingdom.
On top of that, substantial further investment would be made by the company if it moved into development and production.
In recent months, Ineos has been awarded two shale gas exploration licenses in the U.K. and decisions are awaited on a number of others, most of which are in Scotland and the north of England. If the company wins all of the licenses it has applied for it expects to become the biggest player in the U.K. shale gas industry.
This announcement comes at a time when the government is assessing applications made by operators for new onshore licenses to explore for shale gas, the BBC pointed out. Other industry players could make similar statements over the coming weeks and months.
Ineos currently owns two shale licenses in Scotland comprising over 120,000 acres. It is also investing £400 million ($626 million) to build a new import terminal, storage tank and associated infrastructure at its Grangemouth refinery to import shale gas from the United States.
Commenting on Thursday’s announcement, Jim Ratcliffe, Ineos chairman, said: “I want Ineos to be the biggest player in the U.K. shale gas industry. I believe shale gas could revolutionize UK manufacturing and I know Ineos has the resources to make it happen, the skills to extract the gas safely and the vision to realize that everyone must share in the rewards.”
Sept. 10, 2014
Two academic studies exploring health and water issues in the gas drilling industry on Wednesday painted very different pictures of its potential impact and brought rebukes from advocates on both sides.
A Yale University survey supported by environmental groups including The Heinz Endowments found increased reporting of certain health issues by people who live within a kilometer of working wells in Washington County.
A Penn State University study funded by industry groups found that fracking water that remains deep underground after a well is finished will stay trapped in shale, far away from groundwater supplies.
Both studies added to research that has yet to conclusively link the blossoming shale gas industry to health dangers or rule out such fears. The Environmental Protection Agency and state Department of Environmental Protection are conducting larger studies on air and water quality.
“There is a real need to do more,” said University of Washington’s Dr. Peter Rabinowitz, lead author of the Yale survey published in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Health Perspectives.
The survey of 180 households in 2012 is “the largest study we’re aware of,” he said, conceding it did not conclude that gas wells caused health problems for anyone.
Researchers must complete testing on subjects and their environment before drawing conclusions, Rabinowitz said.
Penn State’s geosciences professor Terry Engelder, whose study was published in the Journal of Unconventional Oil and Gas Resources, said his research shows injecting frack water into deep shale is safe.
“The practical implication is that hydro fracture fluids will be locked into the same ‘permeability jail’ that sequestered over-pressured gas for over 200 million years,” he said.
Critics pounced on the funding sources for both studies.
Travis Windle, a spokesman for the Marcellus Shale Coalition in North Fayette, said the Yale survey was “done in partnership with a local activist group, and was designed to put selective and unproven data behind a pre-determined and biased narrative.”
It was supported by the Heinz Endowments, which has taken a strict anti-drilling stance in the past year, withdrawing support of a collaborative between the industry and environmental groups. Rabinowitz said the Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project, a Heinz-funded effort to find people with health issues in Washington County, helped researchers but did not participate in the survey.
Environmentalists said the Penn State study, funded by the drilling industry and including a researcher from Royal Dutch Shell plc, could not be trusted.
“That’s a big red flag for us,” said Sam Bernhardt, a senior organizer for Washington-based Food and Water Watch.
Myron Arnowitt, state director for Clean Water Action, said the Penn State study focuses on the narrow issue of water trapped in shale, instead of potential contamination by water that flows back to the surface during drilling and fracking.
Last month, reports released by state regulators on the drilling of about 20,000 gas wells in the past decade identified 243 wells with potential problems. Only two were in Washington County, the area Yale studied.
That Yale survey was based on questionnaires about health problems and found 39 percent of those living within a kilometer of a working well reported upper respiratory or skin problems, compared with 31 percent of those living between 1 and 2 kilometers, and 18 percent of those living farther away.
There was no increase in reporting of other health issues, the researchers said, and the surveys did not look at other potential sources of air or water pollution, such as coal mines and power plants.
Participants received $25 each.
from the Daily Telegraph:
Shell’s commitment to LNG came at a time when natural gas spot futures were trading above $17 per unit compared with around $4 today.
Just two weeks into his tenure, Royal Dutch Shell chief executive Ben van Beurden has had the tough job of delivering the oil major’s first profits warning in a decade. The last time Shell, a bellwether for British investors expecting reliable returns, provided such disturbing guidance it was Sir Philip Watts and the scandal over misstating the company’s oil reserves at fault.
Mr van Beurden has found himself in a similar position to his predecessor, Peter Voser, in having to deal with the consequences of strategic decisions made by previous hierarchies at the Anglo-Dutch company. Shell said that it expects earnings in the fourth quarter to be 70pc lower at $2.2bn (£1.34bn), but the scarier figure was the blowout in capital expenditure to $44.3bn.
Shell has pressed on with expensive high-risk projects, such as drilling in the Arctic, when some analysts would have preferred to see more capital restraint from management. The company is gaining an unwanted reputation for placing big strategic bets with investors’ money that don’t always pay off. Its significant investment into liquified natural gas (LNG) production and the more exotic gas-to-liquids (GTL) processing are perhaps good examples.
SCMP: CNOOC backs planned trial of LNG vehicles in Hong Kong; HK Gov: LNG ‘not the best transport fuel choice for Hong Kong’
from Cheung Chi-fai of the SCMP:
The mainland’s biggest LNG supplier is backing a move to introduce the fuel into Hong Kong’s transport market as an affordable solution to the city’s notorious roadside pollution problems.
China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) is working with a local company on plans to introduce liquefied natural gas as vehicle fuel, with a vision of building a network of LNG refuelling stations similar to those found in mainland cities.
The partnership between CNOOC and the Hong Kong LNG Company will see the companies work with a cross-border coach operator to trial an LNG bus. But no refuelling facilities will be built yet because LNG is not covered by local laws. The bus will be refuelled in Shenzhen, which has at least 13 LNG refuelling stations to support hundreds of vehicles.
Zhu Jianwen, president of CNOOC Gas and Power Trading & Marketing, said Hong Kong was surrounded by a massive, robust LNG supply network and could take advantage of this.
The world’s third-largest LNG buyer, CNOOC imported almost 22 million tonnes last year. The Dapeng LNG terminal in eastern Shenzhen also supplies Hongkong Electric and Towngas via an underwater pipe.
Hong Kong’s energy policymakers like CLP chief Richard Lancaster defends their continued reliance on unsustainable energy, going about different ‘mixes’ of such sources as coal, nuclear and natural gas to make it seem like they have done much thinking through ‘consultations’.
Chief of largest power firm says consumers will be told implications of each mix of sources
Hong Kong’s energy future will rely on an “open and transparent” public consultation that will tell people the implications of their choices in favouring a particular energy mix, says the chief of the city’s largest power firm.
Richard Lancaster, chief executive officer of CLP Holdings, said all relevant information, from energy security and environmental performance to costs, would be made available.
“All implications should be made as open and transparent as possible so that the community has all the information needed to make a judgment,” he said at the World Energy Congress in Daegu, South Korea, last week.
Environment Secretary Wong Kam-sing, also speaking last week, said the consultation aimed to find out the most acceptable energy mix in terms of the proportion of coal, gas, renewable and nuclear in electricity generation by the power firms.
Any decision on the future mix will have significant bearing not just on cost, but also the environment and reliability.
While the mix was a matter for policymakers, Lancaster said it should be “flexible” enough to meet challenges, including the volatility of international fuel prices. “It is important we don’t lose our flexibility and close all options,” he said.
In 2010, the Environment Bureau consulted on a climate-change strategy that proposed a plan for half of electricity demand to be met by nuclear fuel, 40 per cent by gas and 10 per cent by coal by 2020. But it decided to reconsider it last year after the 2011Fukushima nuclear disaster. The mix is now 54 per cent coal, 23 per cent from nuclear and 23 per cent from natural gas.
Lancaster said to ensure supply diversity, he opposed closing all coal-fired plants. “Coal is something we can reduce. But to go to the extreme of closing down coal-fired plants, it would be a bad thing for us,” he said.
Lancaster also wanted to diversify local gas supply by building a liquefied natural gas terminal in eastern Shenzhen which could bring in cheaper gas from around the world when international prices dropped.
On nuclear energy imports, Lancaster acknowledged there were “genuine concerns” that needed to be addressed. But he said one way of tackling these concerns was to have a Hong Kong firm involved in developing mainland nuclear stations.
“We have higher transparency, modern Hong Kong management style, Hong Kong standards of governance to apply for nuclear power stations,” he said.
Christine Loh Kung-wai, the environment undersecretary who also attended the congress, said that while “some people” in society hated nuclear, she had heard of no one who wanted to completely drop imports from the Daya Bay nuclear station.
“Instead of just telling us nuclear should not be allowed, there needs to be an objective discussion on how we look at coal and gas,” she said.
Loh, however, said it would be difficult for the government to tell the public exactly what future prices would be for different fuel mixes as even the most authoritative agency in the United Nations could only provide a loose range of prices.
21 Oct 2013
Beijing to switch from coal to natural gas for power; hopes to improve air quality and quiet civil unrest
In recent years, China’s major cities have been regularly hit with smog, severely impacting air quality and the health of its citizens. With Beijing the hardest hit of all cities, the city is now set to replace its coal-fired power plants with new ones that use natural gas. From SCMP/Reuters (Beijing):
China will replace four coal-burning heating plants in the capital Beijing with natural gas fired ones by the end of next year as it steps up efforts to clean up pollution, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday.
The report, citing the city’s Municipal Commission of Development and Reform, said the four plants and some 40 other related projects would cost around 48 billion yuan (HK$60.1 billion) and cut sulphur dioxide emissions by 10,000 tonnes. It did not detail the related projects.
The plan is the latest step by authorities to deal with a persistent smog crisis in China’s big cities that is fuelling public anger. The capital has been shrouded in thick hazardous smog for several days during the ongoing seven-day national holiday.
China has been under pressure to tackle air pollution to douse potential unrest as an increasingly affluent urban populace turns against a growth-at-all-costs economic model that has besmirched much of China’s air, water and soil.
Last month the government announced plans to slash coal consumption and close polluting mills, factories and smelters, though experts said implementing the targets would be a major challenge.
The new plants will replace four coal-fired ones that provide heating for homes in the city’s central urban area as well as generating electricity, Xinhua said.
The four burned 9.2 million tonnes of coal in 2012, or 40 percent of the 23 million tonnes the city consumed in the year, it added.
5 Oct 2013
The project was initially met with objections, since natural gas would be much more expensive to source in coal-rich China. The city is expecting huge financial losses if heat and electricity generated from natural gas plants are charged at current rates. But with pictures of smog-filled Beijing splashing international front pages, as well as increasing unrest over pollution in general, it seems that high-ranking government officials stepped in to ensure the project will go through as proposed. (A more in-depth story on this is available on chinadialogue.net)
No mention is made, though, of other sources of pollution, such as vehicle emissions. Once a city of bicycles, Beijing is now home to more than 5.2million motor vehicles and a road network endemic with chronic jams, making a major contribution to the city’s air pollutants. More work would be needed if the city is serious about improving its air quality.