Natural Gas as Bridge Fuel

Posted by Michelle Howard
Monday, June 09, 2014

Following a recent UN report on climate change mitigation, which laid out a raft of potential changes to the global energy system, headline writers concentrated on the massive shift to renewable energy outlined in the report. Douglas Westwood points out, however, there was also a notable shift in tone on natural gas. The UN report expressly talks about the potential for clean-burning natural gas to be used as a “bridge fuel”, buying the world precious time to make the difficult shift to even cleaner forms of energy.  
 
In the UN report, the sweetspot for natural gas is defined as running from the present day until 2050. In this timeframe the report proposes that natural gas-fired power plants take the place of non CCS-equipped coal-fired power plants in the electricity generation sector. Given that CCS is many years if not decades from full commercialisation the report can be seen as another challenge to the coal industry.  
 
While the UN report might sound rather theoretical, the US has been moving in the proposed direction for several years. In President Obama’s 2014 State of the Union Address, natural gas – when “extracted safely” – was hailed as the “bridge fuel that can power our economy with less of the carbon pollution that causes climate change.” Development of the abundant shale gas resource has driven a wave of investment in gas-fired power plants with 6,861 MW of gas power capacity added in 2013, accounting for more than 50% of all new capacity.  
 
In contrast, the U.S. coal industry faced another tough year accounting for only 11% of new capacity installation in 2013. The long-term prospects for coal appear little better given that recently proposed regulations by the Environmental Protection Agency targets massive reductions in CO2 emissions from US power plants.
 
While the U.S. example appears to back up the bridge fuel scenario, it also highlights serious issues. In order for the strategy to work, renewables must continue to expand massively. In contrast to gas, wind energy, the cheapest form of renewable energy, had a challenging year in 2013, with new capacity in the U.S. falling by more than 90% compared to 2012. The reason for the volatility is primarily attributed to a minor tweak to the US tax incentive scheme, clearly demonstrating how policy and market forces need to be fully aligned to fulfil ambitious climate change mitigation strategies.
 

 

Maritime Reporter June 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Legal

Maritime NZ Oil Spill Response Review: Submissions

Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) says it invites submissions on its draft updated New Zealand Marine Oil Spill Response Strategy 2014 (the draft Strategy). The draft Strategy, (available at http://bit.

Thai Resort Owners Sue State Owned Company for Oil Spill

Business owners on Koh Samet island are suing a state-owned petroleum enterprise for the oil spill that polluted the resort island's beaches last year. More than 50,

Nigerian Piracy Threatens UK Interests: New Report

The UK economy is heavily exposed to lawlessness off the coast of Nigeria, a new report published today by the UK Chamber of Shipping says. The report found that almost all of the UK’s annual £6.

Environmental

ABS, MPA to Collaborate on Maritime R&D

ABS and the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) today to promote maritime research and development (R&D) and innovation.

Concordia Tow Update: Smooth Sailing

The Costa Concordia wreck removal team reported this morning at 10:30 a.m. that after 22 hours of navigation, the convoy was over 50 miles off Giglio Island with about 140 miles from Genoa Prà-Voltri.

Thome Is the First to Sign up to IMPA Act

Leading integrated ship management service provider Thome Ship Management has become the first ship management company to join IMPA ACT, the responsible supply chain management initiative,

Energy

New Crewboat Design for Offshore O&G Market

Upgraded crewboat design employs carbon-reinforced composite materials and is lighter, faster and more fuel-efficient than alternatives. Marine Oil Transportation

Legislation Grants Funding for EU's EMSA

EU Council Adopts Regulation on EMSA Funding The European Union Council adopted a regulation yesterday to finance the actions of the European Maritime Safety

Semco and PV Join Forces for Rig Upgrade

Semco Maritime and PetroVietnam Marine Shipyard join forces to establish high class rig upgrade player in South East Asia - Vung Tau Rig Services. The initiative

Fuels & Lubes

ABS, MPA to Collaborate on Maritime R&D

ABS and the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) today to promote maritime research and development (R&D) and innovation.

Wilhelmsen Secures Inert Gas System Orders

Breakthrough order in Japanese shipbuilding market sees largest ever capacity Maritime Protection IG units delivered for leading domestic owners. Wilhelmsen

New Crewboat Design for Offshore O&G Market

Upgraded crewboat design employs carbon-reinforced composite materials and is lighter, faster and more fuel-efficient than alternatives. Marine Oil Transportation

Government Update

Maritime NZ Oil Spill Response Review: Submissions

Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) says it invites submissions on its draft updated New Zealand Marine Oil Spill Response Strategy 2014 (the draft Strategy). The draft Strategy, (available at http://bit.

Alaska Welcomes USCG Admiral Papp Arctic Assignment

Alaska Senate Majority informs that it welcomes news that Admiral Robert J. Papp Jr., the 24th Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard since May 25, 2010, has been appointed by the U.

Trading Dutch Well Placed to Pursue Russia Sanctions

The seafaring Netherlands prides itself on being a trading nation, reluctant to let politics get in the way of a good deal. But since the downing, allegedly

Wind Power

Harnessing the Wind for Auxiliary Propulsion

Finnish marine engineering company Norsepower Oy Ltd. announced that it will bring to the commercial maritime market an auxiliary wind propulsion solution aimed

NJ Congressmen Supports Offshore Wind Proposal

Congressman Frank Pallone has issued the following statement in response to the Department of the Interior’s announcement of the proposed lease sale for nearly 344,

Imtech Equips HelWin bèta with HVAC System

On June 14, the HelWin bèta platform left on a barge from the Heerema Fabrication Group's (HFG) yard in Zwijndrecht for Schiedam to complete outstanding work. Last week,

 
 
Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Maritime Standards Port Authority Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.0899 sec (11 req/sec)