Commodity Insights Magazine showcases our pricing, news and analytics across global energy and commodities markets. Download the latest issue of the magazine
Chris Davy, deputy assistant secretary with the US Department of State’s Office of Energy Transformation, discusses the challenges to investing in the energy transition in the Caribbean and the resources developers are looking at to drive the transition away from fossil fuels.
Alex Klaessig, Senior Director, Hydrogen and Renewable Gas Forum at S&P Global Commodity Insights, explores the potential impact of clean hydrogen in different sectors, from transportation and electric power to chemical feedstocks and industrial heat. Finally, Alex addresses how hydrogen developers in the US view the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) as they await the final guidance.Conferences LIVE
Doreen Harris, president and CEO of the New York Energy Research and Development Authority discusses the US clean energy future with S&P Global Commodity InsightsLearn more at the Global Power Markets Conference | Las Vegas | April 15-17, 2024Conferences LIVE
Doreen Harris, president and CEO of the New York Energy Research and Development Authority discusses the US clean energy future with S&P Global Commodity Insights Learn more at the Global Power Markets Conference | Las Vegas | April 15-17, 2024 Conferences LIVE
As US power market participants grapple with recent offshore wind industry challenges, there is expectant optimism about the US Inflation Reduction Act shifting to a more actionable phase for investors as further guidance around tax credits emerges, which could help foster a long-term growth trend for distributed energy generation and associated infrastructure, experts said Oct. 30.With offshore wind projects across the US Northeast struggling due to higher costs than when power purchase agreements were signed, New York regulators in October dismissed a request by several developers to raise the contracted offtake price they accepted in their contracts following competitive solicitations."I work in a world where there is some dissonance going on at the moment," Doreen Harris, president and CEO of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, said during the S&P Global Financing US Power Conference that was held in New York City.New York’s landmark climate law, the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, mandates 100% zero-emissions power by 2040 and a big part of meeting that target is predicated on 9 GW of offshore wind power capacity by 2035.The development pipeline for those offshore wind projects was moving ahead fairly smoothly until armed conflict in Europe rippled through global energy markets, Harris said, with significant impacts in New York on things like supply chain costs and bottlenecks. "As policymakers we recognize that we have to create that durable market signal in order for the markets to invest and that’s really what New York’s climate law has done," she said. The scoping plan for how to enact the climate law considered "massive load growth – a doubling of our load in the state over the coming decades" and reliance on a 15 GW of zero-emissions dispatchable resources to balance out the renewable generation, Harris said.The state had built up a 14-GW portfolio of projects that signed power delivery contracts with NYSERDA that would have gotten the state very close to another of its goals which is to have 70% renewable power by 2030. The global energy crisis of the past few years impacted New York projects due to increases in inflation, supply chain constraints and interest rate volatility that caused problems for project developers, Harris said.This resulted in most of that 14 GW pipeline of projects seeking to renegotiate their contract terms. "We as a state are making quick work to assess the status of these pipeline projects to determine which could advance, which will not and ultimately backfill any gaps lost through attrition of that portfolio," she said. There is a proceeding underway at the New York Public Service Commission into what constitutes a zero-emissions dispatchable resource and what policies will be needed to build them.That proceeding will be "critical" and will "set the stage for the next decade of investments past 2030 … and the massive amount of electrification that will come with it," Harris said. Infrastructure investment For renewables to continue penetrating the market, broad support is needed in transmission, smart meters, behind-the-meter technology, and infrastructure for electrifying transport, David Giordano, global head of BlackRock Climate Infrastructure, a division within investment giant Blackrock, said. "We are looking as a firm at the transition to a low-carbon economy as the greatest movement of capital I would argue any of us will see in our careers from a macro-economic level," he said.By 2030, $4.5 trillion could be invested in the energy transition in the US. "We’re talking about a massive shift in capital deployed," Giordano said.Additionally, though often cited as a challenge, interest rate increases could actually create more resilience in projects and the transparency that higher rates will create will result in a more stable investment foundation, he said.Giordano also said individual and corporate interest in decarbonization appears to be making people more willing to pay to pay a bit more for lower-carbon goods and power. Globally, people are looking for something that is reliable and to account for the amount of carbon that goes into the goods and services they are consuming which will have an inflationary impact on pricing, but the urgency to decarbonize will counterbalance the pressure on pricing, he said.Himanshu Saxena, CEO, of Lotus Infrastructure Partners, formerly branded as Starwood Energy, said almost all energy sectors have been impacted by the US Inflation Reduction Act and investors are waiting for some additional information from the US Internal Revenue Service on tax credits for hydrogen and carbon capture.A lot more can happen next year depending on IRS guidance, it could be a "year of execution," he said.The last year has been about preparing for new opportunities, Rich Roloff, managing director at LS Power, said. "We see this as probably an eight- or ten-year secular growth cycle from here," Roloff said.
Just back from New York City, Steve Piper, Director, Energy Research, S&P Global Commodity Insights shares key takeaways from the S&P Global Financing US Power Conference.Higher interest rates and increasing costs pose challenges to the expansion of carbon-free electricity. How are capital markets responding?Want to know more? Start here.
In a highly unusual move, Arizona utility regulators ordered their staff to draft new rules that would repeal the state's existing mandates for renewable energy and energy efficiency.The Feb. 6 order by the Arizona Corporation Commission, approved by a 4-1 vote at an open meeting, sets the Republican-led state apart from most other jurisdictions across the country, which are pushing utilities to source electricity from emissions-free sources.According to the Energy Information Administration, as of November 2022, 36 states and the District of Columbia had established renewable portfolio standards. In Arizona's case, the ACC first established the state's renewable energy standard and tariff in 2006. That standard requires regulated utilities to obtain 15% of their power from renewables no later than 2025.But the mandates have become unpopular with some Republicans, who claim the rules are raising prices for utility ratepayers since the costs utilities incur to comply with the rules are passed on to customers.In a joint press release Feb. 8, ACC Chairman Jim O'Connor and Commissioner Kevin Thompson claimed that the REST mandate has cost ratepayers about $2.3 billion since it was implemented in 2006.O'Connor said that at the time the REST rules were approved, then-Chairman Jeff Hatch-Miller promised that the commission would review the rules every year to ensure they remained in ratepayers' best interest. "Those reviews never occurred, and costs were never considered," O'Connor claimed.O'Connor also said that utilities often ended up acquiring power above market prices to comply with the renewables mandate. "Mandates distort market signals and are not protective of ratepayers," he claimed.The repeal of the REST rule has concerned some renewable developers, who say the action is part of a broader campaign in Arizona against renewable development by industry opponents.Speaking remotely to the Feb. 6 ACC meeting, Autumn Johnson, executive director of the Arizona Solar Energy Industries Association, claimed that "a half-dozen" bills have been proposed in the state legislature, "all intended to make it harder or more expensive to build utility-scale renewables." She also said that three local jurisdictions in the state have imposed moratoria or limits on new renewable projects."I worry that, on top of all of this, the only state in the country to repeal what is already an extremely modest RPS sends the wrong signal to the industry," Johnson said. "It says, 'Take your business and your jobs and your dollars elsewhere.'"In addition to the REST mandate, the ACC's order also calls for revoking efficiency rules for both electric and gas utilities. Those rules, which went into effect in 2010, have cost ratepayers just under $1.1 billion to date, according to O'Connor and Thompson."Living in Arizona, we all should be mindful to practice energy efficiency," Thompson said. "But too much focus has been placed on societal metrics and costly feel-good programs that don't prioritize ratepayer affordability and grid reliability."He added: "Once the mandates are removed, it will be incumbent upon Arizona's utilities to propose programs that actually work to benefit ratepayers and protect the integrity of our grid."In their statement, the two commissioners said the process of revoking the rules could take over a year due to a requirement for public comment and the need to submit the action for review by other state agencies.
Global LNG trade witnessed a stellar growth in 2022, driven particularly by European demand as Russia's invasion of Ukraine meant sanctions resulting in, among other things, the sudden loss of pipeline gas. Emerging nations were also actively seeking cargoes for their soaring energy needs. The tight supply led to an unprecedented price volatility, causing significant demand destruction. What does the future hold for LNG markets and will the price volatility persist? How will Petronas LNG steer through? Petronas LNG CEO Ezran Mahadzir shares his views with S&P Global Commodity Insights Senior Editor Surabhi Sahu to answer these and other questions critical to global LNG trade.How would you describe the dynamics in the LNG market over the past two years, particularly after Russia's invasion of Ukraine? Do you expect the price volatility to persist?Before the Russia-Ukraine war, we went through COVID-19 lockdowns. That was also a shift. When the Ukraine crisis emerged, there wasn't enough supply to meet demand because prior to that, the price signals did not incentivize investments.Being a long-term player in the LNG industry, we would like to see more stable LNG prices, which allow investments, and [prices that] are not too high to cause demand destruction. However, the market is expected to stay volatile in the medium term -- until new projects come toward 2026-27, with the Qatari expansion and new US Gulf projects.The volatility makes it very difficult to predict prices but certainly I do not think they will be at the pre-COVID levels of $7-$8/MMBtu.We also don't know to what extent the Israel-Gaza conflict would escalate. If new actors came in, you might see prices shoot up from present levels.Given present storage inventory levels, it appears Europe is well prepared for the winter season. Inventory levels in North Asia are also healthy. We must commend the European market, both policy makers and players, for the speed at which they have increased capacity.But a prolonged harsh weather could potentially trigger more spot market price volatility. To cope with demand and supply shocks, participants should focus on assessing that risk and strategize to mitigate disruptions.It is also important for end-buyers to look at the situation from a long-term perspective. At the end of the day, energy security is still key.Are shipping restrictions at the Panama Canal posing risks for Asian supply? How are players mitigating risks?On the Pacific side, enough supply sources exist to meet current demand, particularly the historical long-term requirement of Japan and South Korea. However, with demand growth, supply to the market has become and is still slightly scarce.That's where we, via our position in Bintulu, provide a competitive advantage because we are directly facing those markets. We don't have the risk of the Panama Canal and the region we're in is stable in terms of geopolitics.Meanwhile, the challenges posed by the waterway have caused an uptick in LNG cargo swapping among industry players to trim risks in a volatile market as lack of investments amid growing LNG demand, uncertainty over severity of Northern Hemisphere winter and geopolitical risks lurk.Related contentNews: LNG freight rates from US Gulf Coast to NWE, Asia weaken as demand lagsPodcast: The wait is (still) on at the Panama CanalAt the end of day, irrespective of Panama Canal challenges, players should optimize their portfolio by collaborating in different ways including by swapping cargoes. Any cost savings will not only be advantageous for suppliers but will also benefit the market.What kind of indexation would you favor when it comes to pricing LNG contracts?I think that really depends on the market. Historically, LNG was always a conversion fuel to all.In the company's traditional markets -- Japan, South Korea and even China -- the indexation formulas are still oil-linked, as opposed to TTF, Henry Hub, NBP in a much more liquid Atlantic market.We are flexible so long as the prices and formula would allow a fair risk and reward, and the risks can be managed by all related parties. The formula we bring in is very much a two-way formula to solve various issues along the way.Southeast Asia is certainly a region where we would not only like to participate in but also become a dominant supplier. The burgeoning population, economic size, need for energy and thrust on decarbonization policies in Southeast Asia means that it will be taking in more LNG and, given our geographical location, Petronas is able to supply LNG cargoes on a competitive basis.How does Petronas see LNG's growth potential and what are some of the projects that you are excited about in this space?In the medium and long term, we believe that the gas market will grow because it is the cleanest hydrocarbon source and a very good energy transition fuel. At the right price signals, the market will invest in future capacities.Petronas has taken a final investment decision on a new project in Sabah -- ZLNG -- to bring in 2 million mt/year of LNG capacity by the second half of 2027.We are quite excited about getting out our first cargo from LNG Canada. That should happen in the second half of 2024 as part of a commissioning program. There are also further opportunities to grow LNG Canada and we are in discussions to progress phase 2.Separately, Petronas is in discussions with Argentina's YPF for a proposed LNG plant. If done properly, that could be a game changer for the world market.Petronas also has an offtake contract with two parties in the US Gulf -- Cheniere and Venture Global.Having new supply nodes allows us to further strengthen our portfolio globally. We can draw upon our experiences from the Pacific and apply it to the Atlantic.How does Petronas view LNG bunkering prospects, given the push toward zero-carbon marine fuels?We believe that the LNG bunkering market will grow. Our Pengerang regasification terminal provides a platform for reload and LNG bunkering operations. We also have a regasification terminal in Sungai Udang, Melaka, that can do reloads for LNG bunkering. We have a dedicated LNG bunkering vessel that plies in the Strait of Malacca, among the busiest shipping lanes in the world.How is Petronas taking steps to harness cleaner LNG as it accelerates its energy transition journey?It's important to distinguish between carbon abatement and actual carbon reduction. Carbon neutral LNG by buying carbon credits is an abatement process and we do that, having traded about six carbon neutral LNG cargoes, while also focusing on carbon footprint reduction.At LNG Canada, the molecule itself has low carbon because it is shale gas. Along with partners, we are developing it to be among the lowest emissions LNG plant by using electrification and efficient gas turbines.Upon completion in 2024, the Petronas LNG Complex in Bintulu will also begin shifting from old gas turbines to electrification from hydro. In addition, the company's LNG vessels are modern, fitted with new technologies and more efficient.On the upstream side, Petronas has also taken an FID on the Kasawari carbon sequestration project offshore Sarawak. The project, which should come online in 2026, will result in about 3.3 million mt/year of CO2 capture, making it one of the largest carbon capture and storage projects worldwide.
Listen now as Manoj Sinha, Co-Founder and CEO, Husk Power Systems discusses nominations for the Global Energy Awards Energy Transition - Power Finalist award! For a quarter century, we have been honored to recognize the energy sector’s exponential growth and rapid progress. As the world comes together to tackle climate change issues at COP28, we are gathering the industry to acknowledge the companies and individuals working on the crucial, innovative, practicable solutions that will solve those problems. Shine a spotlight on your organization’s accomplishments and join us this December 7th in New York City, USA to celebrate the many achievements and successes of the global energy community. Learn more now
Japan will continue to rely on conventional energy sources like oil and gas well into the future as the development of new energy sources could take decades, with stability of supply for existing fuels critical for a smooth energy transition, Tatsuya Terazawa, Chairman and CEO of the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan (IEEJ), said in an interview with S&P Global Commodity Insights.This means continued investment in oil and gas in the near-term, along with maintaining relationships with Middle Eastern oil suppliers as well as LNG suppliers, including Russia, while working on diversification in the long-term, he said."We have to accelerate the energy transition. But we should not forget that this energy transition would take a pretty long time," Terazawa said. "That would require us to continue investing in oil and gas and also making sure that our supply of oil and gas should be resilient."Terazawa said that while the transition towards clean energies like solar PV and wind power would potentially lead to a tapering of dependence on Middle East oil and gas, it may result in "another dependence.""So, we have to make sure that the transition to clean energy would lead to the resilience of our supply chain for energy and also the technology related to the clean energy," he added.It is an issue that has been highlighted by the International Energy Agency, which last year issued a report warning that the race to net zero will focus attention on the security of supply for clean energy technologies and noted that there was a concentration of resources in a handful of countries, particularly China.Japan has so far adopted an energy transition strategy that instead focuses on the development of new fuels like hydrogen and technologies like carbon capture, which are yet to be fully scaled up and commercialized.Terazawa said Japan faces many constraints with renewable energy as available land is limited and conditions are not favorable for wind."So, we have to make sure that during that long transition we have energy security with conventional energy as well. And in that regard, we have to make sure that we have good relationship with the Middle East countries and secure supply, and also make sure that we have diversified sources," he said.Energy security When asked about the impact of the Israel-Hamas conflict on oil and gas, Terazawa said the IEEJ doesn’t see the current situation affecting the global oil market right away. But he said that even if there is no impact on markets from the crisis, it should be a wake-up call to think more seriously about energy security."We are very much concerned about energy security, especially for the crude oil coming from Middle East," he said.Terazawa said a limited conflict would not affect the global crude oil market too much but if it spilled over into other parts of the region, it may be more serious and affect exports of oil and gas."We have to be vigilant to see how this can [escalate]. We cannot be naive. We cannot be too optimistic, but it's too early to panic," Terazawa said.Importance of LNG Terazawa said LNG was of vital importance for Japan due to the Fukushima nuclear accident as a lot of nuclear power plants are still not back in operation, resulting in a very tight supply and demand situation for the power sector in the country.Gas-fired power plants account for around 40% of the Japanese power sector's energy mix, and the country cannot afford to lose any of this power generating capacity due to tight supply."To support the operation of gas-fired power plants in Japan, the imports of LNG from Russia will be vital to ensure stability of power supply. This has been the reason why, while we have been restricting the import of crude oil from Russia, we have been keeping the import of LNG," Terazawa said, adding that European countries faced a similar predicament."[The EU] are going ahead with their restrictions against Russian oil, but to the extent possible, they depend upon the continued supply of natural gas and LNG from Russia," he added.He said Japan intends to diversify its sources of LNG, and has been importing from the Middle East, Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia and the US. Russia was chosen as one of the areas to diversify but with recent developments, more sources are needed."But that's a long-term consideration, not the immediate consideration, because we have to face reality. Today, we need to ensure the stable supply of power. So for the time being we would have to depend on Russian LNG," he added. Learn more at the Excellence in Energy Conference | New York City, NY | December 6, 2023
Join S&P Global Commodity Insights' William FreebairnAssociate Editorial DirectorNuclear Power and Uranium at the S&P Global Commodity Insights Financing US Power conference in New York to learn about the latest in nuclear energy. Listen to understand how nuclear energy is being looked at for use in the chemical industry, how tiny reactors promise to compete with diesel generation, and whether nuclear energy can get the attention of investors! Want to learn more about our nuclear power and uranium pricing offerings? Click here
Lagging clean hydrogen policy support and rising cost pressures for project developers are putting investment plans at risk globally, the International Energy Agency warned Sept. 22. The IEA noted, in its latest Global Hydrogen Review, that momentum in the sector, however, continued to build despite the headwinds, with a significant increase in the number of project announcements since 2022. IEA Chief Energy Technology Officer Timur Gul said electrolyzer deployment for green hydrogen production could follow a similar trajectory to that of solar photovoltaic over the last 10-15 years, keeping low-carbon hydrogen's role in reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 within reach, subject to regulatory and policy support. "We would need to achieve something similar to what achieved with solar PV in order to achieve net-zero goals by 2050," Gul said at a media briefing. "But when you look at the project pipeline [...] then it is possible to achieve such scale, but of course it hinges on all the regulatory aspects." The IEA said low-carbon hydrogen production could increase substantially by 2030, reaching as much as 38 million mt/year, if all announced projects are realized, and greater policy efforts are implemented to stimulate demand. Three quarters of this would come from electrolysis powered by renewables, with 25% from carbon capture-enabled reforming of natural gas. The Platts Hydrogen Price Wall shows that the cheapest clean hydrogen production globally was in the US Northeast in August, averaging $2.30/kg for alkaline electrolysis, compared with below $1/kg for unabated gas-based production in some regions. Platts is part of S&P Global Commodity Insights. Global hydrogen demand rose 3% on the year in 2022 to 95 million mt, the IEA said, though just 0.6% of this was from low-carbon sources. "As a result, hydrogen production and use in 2022 released some 900 million mt of CO2 to the atmosphere," the IEA said. Solar trend Asked if the hydrogen energy transition could be delivered at the pace required to meet mid-century net-zero targets, Gul said electrolyzer development was around 10-15 years behind that of solar PV. "The recent uptake of solar PV is certainly among the fastest we have seen," he said. "It's certainly among the fastest in the energy sector, and electrolyzers are at a very early stage in comparison, so we're probably with electrolyzers somewhere where we were with solar PV 10-15 years ago." Gul noted it took around 30 years for solar PV to go from the research and development phase in the 1950s to first market in the 1980s, and only reached around 1% of global power generation capacity in 2015, before becoming the leading low-cost power generation source in many parts of the world as it is today. Progress despite headwinds The IEA noted significant progress in electrolyzer deployment, despite headwinds from rising costs and policy hesitancy, with almost 700 MW of electrolyzer capacity for hydrogen production installed by the end of 2022. China has leapfrogged other regions in electrolyzer deployment, with over 200 MW installed by the end of 2022 – over 30% of global capacity – and is expected to reach 1.2 GW by the end of 2023. "Based on projects that have reached final investment decision or are under construction, total capacity could more than triple to 2 GW by the end of 2023, with China accounting for half of this," the IEA said. "If all announced projects are realized, a total of 420 GW could be achieved by 2030, an increase of 75% compared to the IEA's 2022 review." New hydrogen projects are facing sharp costs rises from the global energy crisis, high inflation and supply chain disruptions, which, "at least temporarily, threaten long-term profitability," it said, noting a 50% increase in costs since 2021, mostly from the cost of capital. "Inflation and more expensive borrowing costs are affecting the entire hydrogen value chain, driving up financing costs for developers and reducing the impact of government support," which has been slow to be deployed, the agency added. "This confluence of factors is particularly detrimental for an industry that faces high upfront costs related to equipment manufacturing, construction and installation." Missing support To counter these obstacles, governments should "urgently implement" clean hydrogen support schemes, "take bolder action to stimulate demand," work to align hydrogen certification and rapidly address regulatory barriers, particularly around licensing and permitting, the IEA said. State funding was widely available through schemes such as the US Clean Hydrogen Production Tax Credit, the EU's Important Projects of Common European Interest program and the UK Low Carbon Hydrogen Business Model, it noted. "However, the lengthy time lags between the announcement of the schemes and the moment at which funds are made available to project developers is delaying project execution, and even putting projects at risk," it added. The IEA also said efforts to stimulate clean hydrogen demand lagged what was needed to meet climate goals. Most government support was focused on the production side, with global government targets totaling 27 million to 35 million mt, while demand-side targets and support totaled just 14 million mt, with under half focused on existing hydrogen uses. And such targets represent just one-fifth of low-carbon hydrogen use in the IEA's Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario by 2030. Some offtake agreements have been signed, accounting for up to 2 million mt, though over half of these were preliminary, non-binding agreements. An additional 3 million mt of production was being developed for companies' own use. Know more - Attend Financing US Power in New York
Singapore | March 12-14, 2024