IEA hails ‘golden age of gas’ but warns on ditching nuclear

China, India and Russia will drive global energy growth in the next 25 years, any significant withdrawal from nuclear will have “alarming implications”, and a major cut renewable energy subsidies because of economic austerity would make it “very difficult for the sector to come back to life”.

These are among the conclusions in the International Energy Agency’s annual forecast World Energy Outlook, which predicts trends in each energy sector between now and 2035.

IEA chief economist Fatih Birol said: “Decisions made in Beijing, New Delhi and Moscow will have an impact on all of us, even the OECD countries.”

He said India “will be the new China by 2020 in terms of coal imports”, while China will join the US as the foremost player in the unconventional gas market.

Indeed, he predicted “we are entering a golden age for gas which will make gas markets much less challenging”.

On nuclear, the IEA said a significant phase-out of nuclear power would have “alarming” worldwide implications. Birol warned that such a situation “would be bad for economics, bad for energy security and bad for climate change.”

PV manufacturing predicted to halve

The PV manufacturing equipment market for is predicted to more than halve next year according to a firm of solar industry analysts.

IMS Research says that this year’s record global revenues of $12.8bn will fall to just over $5.7bn in 2012.

Driving the dramatic drop will be decreases in the new manufacturing capacity required and limited demand for upgrades or replacements of existing capacity.

IMS Senior research analyst Tim Dawson said: “Massive over-capacity, coupled with a reduction in demand, has led manufacturers to postpone or cancel orders for new equipment, at least in the short term.”

Date set for Russian gas to South Korea

Russian pipeline supplies of gas to South Korea are set to start in 2017, two years later than originally planned.

Alexei Miller, chief executive of gas giant Gazprom, said that the date had been agreed in talks between the two countries’ presidents Dmitry Medvedev and Lee Myung-Bak.

“Gas co-operation issues have been discussed during the talks, we may expect supplies of Russian pipeline gas to South Korea to start in 2017,” he told Russian news agency Prime.

Cyber security of utility firms is ‘in a state of near chaos’

“Utility cyber security is in a state of near chaos” and many attacks on energy firms “simply cannot be defended”.

That is the conclusion of a white paper published by leading Smart Grid analysis company Pike Research.

Pike found that while the growth of smart projects continues apace, the associated security challenges are nowhere close to being resolved.

Pike’s senior analyst Bob Lockhart said: “After years of vendors selling point solutions, utilities investing in compliance minimums rather than full security, and attackers having nearly free rein, the attackers clearly have the upper hand. Many attacks simply cannot be defended.”

However, he added “there is hope”. He said Pike had detected “a dawning awareness by utilities of the importance of securing smart grids with architecturally sound solutions”.

Lockhart said that security vendors are increasingly focusing on industrial control system security, rather than only on advanced metering infrastructure security.

He predicted that the utility cyber security market will be characterised by a “frantic race to gain the upper hand against the attackers”.

Energy storage to multiply 100-fold

Global energy storage is predicted to increase 100-fold in the next decade from 121 MW this year to 12,353 MW in 2021.

A new report states this level of growth will equate to a 10-year investment of $122bn.

The study, by Pike Research, forecasts a breaking down of the traditional barriers to energy storage growth – inflexible electricity market structures, high capital costs, and instability in the grid.

Key in overcoming these obstacles will be the integration of solar and wind energy, peak shifting and load leveling, and the deferral of transmission and distribution upgrades.

Dutch firm opens Smart Grid testing laboratory in US

A Smart Grid technology testing laboratory has been opened in the US by Netherlands-headquartered technical consultants Kema.

Hugo van Nispen, managing director for Kema Americas, claimed the facility was “the only impartial interoperability lab in the world” and said it would test emerging Smart Grid technologies “from a functionality, compliance and interoperability perspective”.

The laboratory in Kentucky has been approved by the US National Institute of Standards and Technology.


Abu Dhabi: The boss of renewable energy city Masdar has agreed a research and investment alliance with the Scottish government – the first time Masdar has signed such a deal with another country. Masdar chief executive Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber has asked Scotland to fast-track a renewable energy action plan for the two countries. Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond said he expected the deal to be signed early next year.

Morocco: Desertec aims to start work on a 500 MW solar plant in Morocco next year that would be the first of a renewable energy network across North Africa and the Middle East. The company’s annual conference in Cairo was told that “all systems are go” in Morocco. The €2bn ($2.8bn) plant would use parabolic mirrors to generate heat for conventional steam turbines.

Nigeria: The Lagos government is planning five new independent power projects to serve industrial clusters in the state, said Babatunde Fashola, state governor. He said that the government plans to increase independent power capacity in Lagos from 10 MW to 114 MW, adding that the only constraint is gas supply.

Sharjah: Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority (SEWA), a government owned utility in the United Arab Emirates, is being sued for 2.7bn dirham ($735m) by an oil supplier, according to the Financial Times. Fal Oil is suing SEWA, owned by the government of the emirate of Sharjah, for unpaid bills. But the family owned oil company faces a counter suit from SEWA for billing incorrect quantities of fuel.

Singapore: Singapore’s government is to look into how it can import electricity, a minister told Singapore International Energy Week. The Energy Market Authority will conduct by year-end a public exercise to get feedback on the legal framework to govern electricity imports, said S. Iswaran, Second Minister for Home Affairs and Trade & Industry.

Trinidad and Tobago: Increased shale gas production in the US has impacted the liquefied natural gas exports of Trinidad and Tobago, traditionally the largest exporter of LNG to the US. Energy minister Kevin Ramnarine said that a year ago, the US accounted for 75 per cent of all LNG exports – now that figure is 25 per cent.

India: ABB has won a $42m contract for the installation of an integratedpower distribution system forIndia’s Karnataka Power Transmission Corp. The SCADAbased system will monitor 830 substations within the state.

Indonesia: Jakarta’s PLN has signed 10 contracts with independent power producing companies (IPPs) for power at up to $0.05/kWh. The contracts, worth $462 m, wil see 423 MW of coal-fired capacity developed by 2010.

Philippines: The government has failed for the fourth times to divest the national electricity transmission system after only one bidder submitted an offer. The government

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