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

Environmental

BMT WBM to Showcase TUFLOW at World Bank Seminar

BMT WBM ( (BMT), a subsidiary of BMT Group Ltd, a leading international engineering and risk management consultancy, is delighted to announce that it will be presenting

Long Beach Cargo Operations Resume

Repair work begins after storm surges subsides The Port of Long Beach resumed full cargo-handling operations Thursday, Aug. 28, after a lessening of storm surges

Restoring the NY-NJ Harbor Estuary

Significant challenges often require a team effort. Restoring the New York-New Jersey Harbor Estuary is one of them. A group of professionals from the Army Corps of Engineers,

Energy

East and South China Sea Disputes Need Creative Diplomacy

China and the United States appear headed for a damaging confrontation over the extent of China's territorial claims in the South and East China Seas. Now that

Iraqi Kurdistan Oil Shipments Reach 8.8m Barrels

Iraqi Kurdistan has shipped 8.8 million barrels of oil from the Turkish port of Ceyhan since May, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said, as the autonomous region

BMT WBM to Showcase TUFLOW at World Bank Seminar

BMT WBM ( (BMT), a subsidiary of BMT Group Ltd, a leading international engineering and risk management consultancy, is delighted to announce that it will be presenting

Fuels & Lubes

Iraqi Kurdistan Oil Shipments Reach 8.8m Barrels

Iraqi Kurdistan has shipped 8.8 million barrels of oil from the Turkish port of Ceyhan since May, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said, as the autonomous region

Rosneft and AVTOVAZ Strengthen Strategic Cooperation

Rosneft President, Chairman of the Management Board Igor Sechin and AVTOVAZ President Bo Inge Andersson signed an Agreement of development of strategic cooperation,

Ecospeed Fuel and Cost Saving Solutions at SMM

Ecospeed announced it will exhibit its line of fuel and cost saving solutions at SMM in Hamburg. Ecospeed and fuel savings Routine in-water cleaning results

Government Update

East and South China Sea Disputes Need Creative Diplomacy

China and the United States appear headed for a damaging confrontation over the extent of China's territorial claims in the South and East China Seas. Now that

Iraqi Kurdistan Oil Shipments Reach 8.8m Barrels

Iraqi Kurdistan has shipped 8.8 million barrels of oil from the Turkish port of Ceyhan since May, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said, as the autonomous region

British WWl Warship Refurbishment Project

Northern Ireland Office Minister, Dr Andrew Murrison MP, visited the historic HMS Caroline in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter as restoration grants are received, informs the UK Government.

Wind Power

CWind Launches New Vessel

CWind, a provider of integrated services to the offshore wind industry, has launched its new vessel CWind Fulmar in a naming ceremony in Brightlingsea. The CWind Fulmar, built by CTruk Ltd.

Policy Uncertainty Threatens to Slow Renewable Energy Momentum

IEA forecast sees renewable power as a cost-competitive option in an increasing number of cases, but facing growing risks to deployment over the medium term. The

CWind Wins 3-year O&M Services Contract

CWind, a provider of services to the offshore wind industry, have signed a three-year contract to provide crew and equipment transfer for DONG Energy and Scottish

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Maritime Standards Pod Propulsion Port Authority Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Repair 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: 0.1341 sec (7 req/sec)