A recent online survey of power industry professionals from across the globe found that more than 65 per cent of those polled believe that gas turbine lubrication maintenance has a significant effect on their company’s profitability.

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The vast majority polled also see that the perceived retreat from nuclear power presents a growth opportunity for gas fired power generation. Eighty-nine per cent believe that the current global uncertainty over nuclear following this year’s Fukushima incident will result in an increase in the number of gas fired power plants built, and in particular CCGT plants.

Some countries have made it very clear that they no longer wish to have a nuclear base, Germany being the most significant, with more recently Belgium turning its back on new nuclear and instigating a phase-out of its existing nuclear assets. This decision, although largely supported by the public, is seen as unwise by many in the industry, not least by the large European utilities. If we look at Germany prior to Fukushima, nuclear supplied almost a quarter of its electricity; so what will make up this significant shortfall – the last nuclear plant is due to shutdown in 2022?

The Merkel government is pinning its hopes on renewable energy, and in particular increasing wind power’s share. Whether this is achievable remains to be seen, but regardless, natural gas fuelled generation is likely to benefit. However, as in life, nothing is certain, least of all that we will be enjoying a new ‘dash for gas’ in the near future. When asked what were the main threats to the future development of the gas power generation sector over half (54.1 per cent) of respondents said gas price volatility.

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