Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Reality Bites: Natural Gas, Renewable Energy, Coal And The Philippines -- November 24, 2015

I consider myself somewhat well-read, and somewhat cognizant of what's going on around the rest of the world, and then I come across an article and realize how little I really know. Take this Reuters article in Rigzone for example about the Philippines:
  • 100 million people, one of the world's fastest growing economies
  • aims to double its power generation capacity by 2030
  • daily blackouts; in the 1990's these blackouts crippled its economy
  • electricity is currently generated by local gas supplies
  • local natural gas supplies are fast running out 
  • their gas field is expected to be depleted by 2024
The country is set to import LNG for the first time next year, but cheap coal is a strong competitor.

Reuters writes:
But despite government support for gas, a rash of approvals for coal-fired plants is already set to push coal's share of power generation up sharply to over 50 percent by that time, while gas' share may fade slightly to 15 percent.
A Philippines lawmaker conceded it is too early to say when legislators will call time on new coal plants.
"It presents a great challenge, especially for us in Congress," said Reynaldo Umali, who heads the committee on energy at the House of Representatives.
This type of dilemma is echoed throughout Asia, where more than 500 coal-fired plants are on the drawing board, spurred by coal's low cost and availability, while LNG needs billions of dollars for infrastructure to receive and store imported gas.
Despite increased emphasis on natural gas,
... the Philippines accepts that rejecting cheap coal is not an option as its economy develops, with more than 40 new power plants in the pipeline, including projects still seeking financing.
"The Philippine electricity market is very competitive, so to be able to make sure that we can sell the power capacity to be generated by our power plants, it has to be cheap," said Lito Lantin, senior vice president at Meralco Power Gen Corp, which plans to build three coal-fired plants over five years.
A related story on the Philippines was posted on November 7, 2015

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