Some 42% of the world’s coal generators run at a loss – pv magazine International

https://www.pv-magazine.com/2018/11/30/some-42-of-the-worlds-coal-generators-run-at-a-loss/

Some 42% of the world’s coal generators run at a loss

Carbon Tracker has released a report claiming it is cheaper, in many markets, to construct new renewable generation assets instead of running legacy coal-fired power plants. Billions could be saved for customers, while profits in the two-digit billion-dollar range look set to be lost by the coal industry.

With COP24 set to open its doors on Monday, the Carbon Tracker thinktank has published a report which demolishes one of the arguments the fossil fuel brigade cling to – the economic advantage of burning coal.

According to the report, rising fuel costs and the falling cost of renewable generation mean solar power is not just cheaper than coal, but that a considerable proportion of coal generation capacity is running at a loss.

The thinktank claims its report is the world’s first analysis of the profitability of 6,685 coal plants worldwide. The sample size represents around 95% of a globally operating coal generation capacity of 1,900 GW. The analysis also examines 90% – 220 GW – of the coal-fired power stations under construction.

In reviewing the data, the report’s authors found around 42% of global coal capacity is operating on unprofitable margins. By 2040, says Carbon Tracker, that figure could rise to 72%. The authors highlight high fuel costs, as well as carbon pricing and air pollution regulations, that are driving up the costs of coal generation.

New PV cheaper than business as usual

Moreover, 35% of the coal capacity currently online is more expensive to run than the cost of new renewable generation capacity. That means PV is not only cheaper on a new-for-new basis, it is also less expensive to build a new pv plant than continuing to fire existing coal-fired power stations, with that metric applying to the most expensive 35% of power stations today. The report’s authors say, as early as 2030, it will be cheaper to build renewable generation capacity than continue to fire 96% of coal generation capacity.

Carbon Tracker has calculated the potential savings for key markets. It says China could save $389 billion by closing coal plants up to 2030, while the EU could save $89 billion. The potential savings in the U.S. could reach $78 billion, and in Russia, $20 billion.

Matt Gray, head of power and utilities at Carbon Tracker, and co-author of the report, said: “The narrative is quickly changing from ‘how much do we invest in new coal capacity?’ to ‘how do we shut down existing capacity in a way that minimizes losses?’ This analysis provides a blueprint for policymakers, investors and civil society.”

According to the report’s authors, governments will have to choose between subsidizing coal or raising prices for customers. In many markets, governments are determining electricity prices through energy regulatory bodies. These are faced with either raising electricity prices – to the detriment of end consumers – to make coal profitable, or paying coal generators the difference to balance the books.

Phasing-out coal would save customers billions of dollars, says Carbon Tracker. If coal plants were phased out in line with the Paris Climate Change Agreement, coal companies in South Korea could lose $92 billion. In India the losses would amount to $76 billion and in South Africa, $51 billion.

Satellite imagery used to estimate coal power utilization

Sebastian Ljungwaldh, Carbon Tracker energy analyst and report co-author, said: “Our analysis shows a least-cost power system without coal should be seen as an economic inevitability, rather than a clean and green nicety.”

Globally, there are just over 2 TW of coal capacity operative or under construction. On average, coal generation in the EU is running at a loss of $10/MWh, with that loss set to grow to $32/MWh, according to the report.

In conducting the study, Carbon Tracker used what it described as a revolutionary method to assess profitability. The thinktank sourced satellite imagery to track plant activity, and deployed machine learning software to estimate each plant’s utilization rate. The group says the technique was checked against known data from the U.S. and EU, and found to be 90% accurate.

Meanwhile, Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables has released a report stating coal “will bear the brunt of an accelerated energy transition”. Its analysts foresee coal’s generation capacity halving by 2040, even without an international carbon pricing scheme.

David Brown, senior analyst at Wood Mackenzie, said: “The global energy transition will continue to progress, led in large part [by] technologies and decarbonization trends we’re already seeing in the marketplace – the rise of renewables, growth in electric vehicles, electrification of end-use demand, increasing efficiency.”

The market analysis group stressed the current trajectory, as well as a slightly accelerated scenario, are insufficient to support the less-than-2°C global temperature target set by the Paris Agreement.

Regards,

Rob Such

rob
07900 488 936
01344 988 775
www.rsrenewables.com

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‘A total myth’: Green policy costs not to blame for energy price hikes, says new report | Curren t News

https://www.current-news.co.uk/news/a-total-myth-green-policy-costs-not-to-blame-for-energy-price-hikes-says-new-report

‘A total myth’: Green policy costs not to blame for energy price hikes, says new report

Image: Getty.

Policy costs are not to blame for electricity price hikes in the UK, a study by the UK Energy Research Council has concluded.

Despite being routinely cited as a contributing factor for price rises by the ‘Big Six’ energy suppliers and others, the new report – dubbed ‘What’s in a bill? How UK household electricity prices compare to other countries’ – found that policy costs in the UK were the lowest of European countries analyses and, in actual fact, represented “good value for money”.

The report has set out to perform an in-depth assessment of domestic energy prices, comparing them to those in Germany, France, Sweden and Australia.

And its findings paint a different picture to those often portrayed by energy suppliers.

The UKERC found that while wholesale prices are relatively high in the UK, there is no evidence that policy costs, including those driven by environmental programmes like renewable subsidies, are the primary driver for price hikes.

Amongst the study’s key findings are that domestic energy bills have simply not increased at the same rate as policy costs due to improved energy efficiency, and that support for low carbon generation in the UK provides better value for money than its counterparts, something which the UKERC said runs contrary to claims the country is over-paying for climate action.

However the report also concluded that the complex nature of energy billing, wherein short-term price variations caused by market conditions and fossil fuel costs can sway pricing significantly, opened a window for stakeholders to represent some data differently.

This has led Rob Gross, co-director at the UKERC and one of the report’s authors, to suggest that caution be exercised when comparing energy prices.

Nevertheless, he is adamant that it is a “total myth” that UK consumers pay more for low carbon generation through levies than those in other countries.

“It is hard to understand why, given the high quality of the data, there is continuing disagreement over how policies influence consumer bills. Perhaps the complex data can be manipulated to suit the interests of different stakeholders,” Phil Heptonstall, researcher at UKERC, said.

Regards,

Rob Such

rob
07900 488 936
01344 988 775
www.rsrenewables.com

RS Renewables Ltd stores and uses personal data to be able work with you in relation to a contract we have/are working to put in place with you or the company you represent, or to investigate whether you would be interested in working with RS Renewables Ltd. Please see our i<a href="mailto:nfo

UK confirms intent to cull export tariff alongside FiT in future solar proposals | PV Tech

https://www.pv-tech.org/news/uk-confirms-intent-to-cull-export-tariff-alongside-fit-in-future-solar-prop

UK confirms intent to cull export tariff alongside FiT in future solar proposals

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Credit: BEIS

The UK government has confirmed it will close the small-scale feed-in tariff (FiT) on 31 March 2019 as planned and, crucially, close the export tariff to new installations at the same time.

This afternoon the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy released two separate documents; a consultation on the closure of the FiT and a separate consultation on the ‘Future of small-scale low carbon generation’.

Effectively seven months overdue, the two documents outline how the government intends to handle the closure of the feed-in tariff while requesting proposals on how the government may aid the market in a post-subsidy environment

Among the details included across the two consultations are;

  • A proposal to close the export tariff for newly-installed small-scale renewable generators alongside the feed-in tariff in March 2019;
  • No special provision for installations waiting for capacity in oversubscribed caps, impacting standalone solar installs;
  • A conclusion that there is no justification for reallocating un-used capacity between technologies and/or deployment bands;
  • A request for details as to how small-scale renewables can contribute towards the future electricity system and, in turn, ambitions detailed within the Clean Growth Strategy;
  • Requests for insight as to whether there is a need for the government to enable a competitive market-based route to market for small-scale renewables, including estimations on how much small-scale low carbon generation could be brought forward without support;
  • The prospect of a new export tariff in conjunction with further adoption of renewables in demand-side response.

This is a developing story and will be updated on PV Tech’s UK sister site Solar Power Portal.

Tags: uk, beis, fit

Regards,

Rob Such

rob
07900 488 936
01344 988 775
www.rsrenewables.com

RS Renewables Ltd stores and uses personal data to be able work with you in relation to a contract we have/are working to put in place with you or the company you represent, or to investigate whether you would be interested in working with RS Renewables Ltd. Please see our i<a href="mailto:nfo