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Brazil To Boost Coal & Gas Power

November 27, 2014
tags: ,

By Paul Homewood




A round up of some of the power generation news from around the world this week.


Brazil seeks energy stability as coal and gas power auction commences


27th Nov

The Brazilian government launches a key auction in ensuring the country’s energy security on Friday.
Dilma Rousseff’s administration wishes to award contracts for natural gas– and coal-fired power plants, reversing a drive that previously favoured renewable-energy projects.
The government has re-oriented its energy strategy in response to a situation whereby it almost had to re-introduce energy rationing in recent months, thanks to overdependence on hydroelectric power.

Dilma Rousseff

It would lead to the first new thermal plants in three years, after the government scaled back such projects and awarded wind contracts starting in 2009 and solar energy earlier this year.
The worst drought in eight decades dried up reservoirs at hydro-dams that produce 70 per cent of Brazil’s power.
“It’s important for the security of the system that we have more thermal energy — it was because of thermal that we avoided rationing last year,” Jose Carlos de Miranda Farias, EPE director of electric energy research told Bloomberg. “We need to guarantee supplies to Brazilian consumers who refuse to deal with energy shortages of even half an hour.”




Coal power is Thailand’s only choice, official says



An official with Thailand’s Electricity Generating Authority (Egat) has said building new coal-fired power stations is the only viable way to secure the country’s energy supply, the Bangkok Post has reported. 

Egat‘s assistant governor for power plant construction, Wiwat Chancherngpanich, cited uncertainty over gas supplies given that Thailand’s domestic reserves are set to run out around 2020 and Myanmar, Thailand’s principal supplier, reserves most of its gas for its own use.

In addition, Chancherngpanich said renewables are “not commercially viable” on an industrial scale, involve high investment costs, and produce power intermittently.

"Although we have attempted to increase renewable energy due to environmental concerns,” he said, “we do need to accept the fact that the power output is not stable. We want to increase use of more stable sources of energy to prevent an energy crisis. There is nothing better than coal as the current choice.”

Under the plan, 4.4 GW of coal-fired power capacity would be added by 2030, with an 800 MW plant scheduled to come online in 2019 and a 2 GW plant in 2025. These plants will use high-grade bituminous coal imported from Indonesia and South Africa and will feature the latest emissions reduction technologies, Chancherngpanich said. 



UK smart meter rollout delayed



Rollout of the UK’s £11bn ($17bn) smart meter programme has been delayed until late 2016, according to statements last week by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

Installation on a national scale was scheduled to begin in late 2015 (after a previous delay in 2013) with the inauguration of a central communications system designed to transfer data between the meters and utilities. However, the company developing the system now says it will not be ready in time.

The Data Communications Company (DCC) said in a statement that there is “no feasible way” to stick to the current timetable. According to the firm, some parts of the system will need to be redesigned after DECC revised the specifications.

DCC has said the redesign could result in up to £90m in additional project costs. In addition, the programme is now unlikely to meet its targeted completion deadline of 2020, industry analysts say, while a survey taken in June showed that under half of British households actually want smart meters.



German energy minister denies plan to shut down coal power plants



German Energy and Economic Affairs Minister Sigmar Gabriel has responded to speculation regarding Germany’s coal industry, saying that there are no plans to specifically target the sector for plant closures.
A leaked paper from the ministry last week indicated that the government plans to impose carbon dioxide (CO2) reductions on energy providers.
“I will not make a proposal to shut down coal-fired power plants”, Gabriel said in Berlin on Monday, dismissing claims that coal plants would be forcefully shut down, suffering a fate similar to that of the country’s nuclear power fleet.

Sigmar Gabriel and Angela Merkel

Because Germany’s CO2 emissions are currently at 341 million tonnes per year, cutting 22 million tonnes would not require any forced closings of coal-fired power plants, Gabriel explained.
The leaked document said the amount of carbon to be cut would be equally distributed among all power plants, but in practical terms this means around eight lignite- and hard coal-burning plants would have to be shut down completely.
The Merkel government is emphasizing that coal plants would bear about a third of the planned emission cuts.
Gabriel plans to present a bill setting out CO2 reduction targets in cabinet on 3 December. He and representatives of Germany’s six biggest utilities met in Berlin on Monday.
“Closing power generation parks directly damages the competitiveness of German industry, without climate drawing a benefit,” BDI, the Berlin-based industry group that represents Germany’s 100,000 biggest companies, said in a statement today.
BDI said it had commissioned a study showing that the closed plants’ output would simply be compensated with imports from mostly coal-fired power stations in neighbouring countries.

"Foreign, often less efficient coal-to-power plants would take on 95 per cent of the production lost from the switched-off German plants," BDI Managing Director Markus Kerber said.
The study, carried out by Hamburg’s economic institute, said that switching off 10 GW of installed coal power generation capacity could cost 24,000 jobs by 2020 in brown coal mining and power production alone. A further 50,000 jobs could be lost because energy-reliant manufacturers would be hit by rising electricity prices due to the closures.




Gas-fired power plant failure threatens UK capacity margin




Peterhead power plant’s unexpected failure to fire last week has placed Britain’s ability to avoid power blackouts under fresh scrutiny.
The 780 MW Scottish gas-fired power plant failed to function during testing despite receiving a contract from National Grid to provide backup power for the UK this winter.
The plant, owned by energy giant SSE, was one of three power stations handed a contract last month by National Grid to be paid to guarantee they could fire up if needed.


The emergency plants were selected after a series of power plant closures reduced Britain’s generation capacity to uncomfortably low levels.
The three backup power plants are supposed to guarantee they would be available if required between 6 am and 8 pm on weekdays.
“We are in the process of discussing what did go wrong,” a spokesman for National Grid said.
Utility Week reported that power unexpectedly dropped from 780 MW to zero, citing National Grid data.

National Grid has responded, saying: “The reason to do tests is to ensure this kind of thing doesn’t happen when you actually need them.” It added that SSE could face penalty charges if Peterhead “doesn’t function as it should”.
As well as the backup power plants, National Grid has also brought in emergency measures to pay industrial businesses to power down or switch to diesel generators from 4 pm to 8 pm on winter weekdays.

  1. Bloke down the pub permalink
    November 27, 2014 11:18 am

    Developing nations cannot afford to have idiotic energy policies such as those favoured by ‘advanced’ nations.

  2. Green Sand permalink
    November 27, 2014 11:39 am

    “emergency measures”?

    Might get chance to test them again in a week or two:-

    “Arctic Oscillation Analysis and Forecasts” – November 25, 2014


    • The AO has transitioned from negative to positive. Together with more active tropical convection this is resulting in a general warming trend across the Eastern US. However cold air has expanded across Northern Eurasia and temperatures have cooled closer to normal.

    • There is great uncertainty in the model forecast of the AO beyond this week. However, renewed warming of the polar cap favors a negative trend in the AO. With cold air expanding in Western Siberia we see increasing risks of an Arctic outbreak into Europe in week 2 and beyond…….

  3. November 27, 2014 12:50 pm

    Perhaps everyone is waiting with baited breath for ITER:

    “We firmly believe that to harness fusion energy is the only way to reconcile huge conflicting demands which will confront humanity sooner or later.

    The issue at stake is how to reconcile the imperative, constantly growing demand of the majority of the world’s population to raise their standard of living … with the enormous environmental hazards resulting from the present energy supply …

    … In our opinion, the use of fusion energy is a “must” if we want to be serious about embarking on sustainable development for future generations.”

    For sure,an awful lot of money is being spent on this project and perhaps all the present policies are just to hold the fort until ITER comes online.

  4. Sceptical Me permalink
    November 27, 2014 1:55 pm

    It would appear that we in the UK are living in the age of stupid. Billions of pounds spend on good intentions, while our core energy providers that brought us to this position of cumfort and security (copied by all developing nations) are used with complacency and even distain.

  5. John permalink
    November 29, 2014 5:53 pm

    Send that that idiot Ed Miliband, the EU & the CCA. That will stop them in their tracks

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