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

Legal

Denmark Arrests Former OW Bunker Manager

Denmark has arrested a former manager of collapsed ship fuel supplier OW Bunker and intends to hand him to Italy, where he is suspected of fraud, the Danish public prosecutor said on Thursday.

US Plans to Shut Royalty Loophole on Coal Exports

U.S. coal companies will no longer be able to settle royalties at low domestic prices when they make lucrative sales to Asia according to reforms proposed by the Interior Department on Friday.

Denmark Issues New Pilotage Regulations

In an effort to make the pilotage market more efficient, the Danish Maritime Authority (DMA) issued several new regulations following on amendments to the pilotage act.

Environmental

Sekimizu Welcomes Shipper’s Revised Stance on Ballast Water

IMO Secretary-General Koji Sekimizu has welcomed the reconsideration by the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) of its position towards the ratification by

Royal Caribbean to Install Scrubbers on 19 Ships

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCL) will retrofit 19 of its ships with advanced emissions purification (AEP) systems. These systems, also known as scrubbers, will

NZ Report: Human Error to Blame for Rena Grounding

New Zealand's Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) published its final report into the grounding of containership Rena in October 2011. The TAIC’s

Energy

Liquefaction Terminals to Draw Big Spending

Liquefaction terminals to dominate forecast LNG capital expenditure   Capital expenditure (Capex) on global liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities is expected

Oil is on the Rise

Oil prices rose in early trading on Monday as Asian markets opened strongly into a holiday-shortened week and as consensus spread that Brent crude prices would

Fighting for Ports Escalates in Libya

Military planes loyal to Libya's recognised government attacked on Sunday an opposing force that is seeking to seize the country's two biggest oil ports, officials said.

Fuels & Lubes

Denmark Arrests Former OW Bunker Manager

Denmark has arrested a former manager of collapsed ship fuel supplier OW Bunker and intends to hand him to Italy, where he is suspected of fraud, the Danish public prosecutor said on Thursday.

Liquefaction Terminals to Draw Big Spending

Liquefaction terminals to dominate forecast LNG capital expenditure   Capital expenditure (Capex) on global liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities is expected

Liquefaction Terminals to Dominate LNG Capital Expenditure

Capital expenditure (Capex) on global LNG facilities is expected to total $259 billion (bn) over the period 2015-2019, with investments expected to be 88% larger

Government Update

Nicaragua Building China-led Canal to Rival Panama

Nicaragua on Monday broke ground on its Chinese-led $50 billion shipping canal, a massive infrastructure project that aims to rival Panama's waterway and revitalize

Madsen to Chair Norway’s Research Council Executive Board

Henrik O. Madsen appointed chairman of the executive board of the Research Council of Norway   DNV GL president and CEO Henrik O. Madsen was appointed as chairman

MARAD Publishes US ATB, ITB Database

The U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) released what it is calling a first-of-its-kind public database that chronicles U.S.-flagged, privately owned domestic

Wind Power

Boskalis, VolkerWessels Win Offshore Wind Farm Work

Royal Boskalis Westminster N.V., in partnership with Volker Stevin International (VolkerWessels), has been awarded a contract by Iberdrola Renewables Offshore Deutschland

Nordic Yards Delivers 'Wind Server'

Nordic Yards officially handed over the offshore service vessel to the Danish company DBB Jack-Up Services A/S. During the handover ceremony, the ship was named ‘WIND SERVER’.

Dutch Container Terminal Signs on for Wind Power

APM Terminals Signs Contract for Wind-Power Generated Electricity for Maasvlakte II Terminal   APM Terminals has signed a two-year, €5 million ($6.23 million)

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Naval Architecture Navigation Offshore Oil Pipelines Port Authority Ship Electronics Ship Repair Ship Simulators 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: 0.1721 sec (6 req/sec)