May 17, 2020

Natural Gas Vehicle Fuel Stations Growing

Admin
3 min
Natural gas fuel station
With the cost of natural gas reaching historic lows in many regions, interest in natural gas vehicles (NGVs) is growing. The growth of the NGV market i...

With the cost of natural gas reaching historic lows in many regions, interest in natural gas vehicles (NGVs) is growing. The growth of the NGV market is inherently tied to the availability of the fuel, whether that fuel is compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied natural gas (LNG) in heavier duty applications. 

As a result, the market for natural gas refueling infrastructure is experiencing robust growth, as companies look to capitalize on opportunities presented by potential NGV demand.  According to a new research brief from Navigant Research, the number of natural gas refueling stations installed worldwide will reach nearly 30,000 by 2020.

North America will represent 40 percent of the global NGV refueling stations installed between 2013 and 2015, the study concludes.

“Creating a robust infrastructure to refuel NGVs is challenging on several fronts,” says Dave Hurst, principal research analyst with Navigant Research.  “The cost of NGV refueling infrastructure is higher relative to other fuels, and any new pipelines needed for supplying CNG from the gas grid can make the viability of a new station challenging.  Nevertheless, the lower cost of both CNG and LNG relative to gasoline and diesel is expected to increase demand for both vehicles and new refueling stations.”

Many of the competitors in the infrastructure market are focused on developing CNG refueling infrastructure within cities and suburban areas.  CNG is largely used to serve light and medium-duty vehicles that are likely to travel within a metro area or from one metro area to another without refueling.  This infrastructure growth will help drive demand for NGVs within metropolitan areas, according to the report.  To connect different metro areas over longer distances, LNG is marketed as a replacement for diesel fuel, for use in fleet vehicles that travel extended distances.

The report, “Natural Gas Vehicle Refueling Infrastructure”, examines the market for CNG and LNG refueling station equipment and the drivers for the development of the NGV infrastructure market.  The report includes updates on the current market and the cost drivers for the facilities, an assessment of the infrastructure supply chain, and profiles of key players. The report also provides conclusions and recommendations for CNG and LNG refueling infrastructure market players. An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the Navigant Research website.

Navigant Research, the dedicated research arm of Navigant, provides market research and benchmarking services for rapidly changing and often highly regulated industries. In the energy sector, Navigant Research focuses on in-depth analysis and reporting about global clean technology markets. The team’s research methodology combines supply-side industry analysis, end-user primary research and demand assessment, and deep examination of technology trends to provide a comprehensive view of the Smart Energy, Smart Utilities, Smart Transportation, Smart Industry, and Smart Buildings sectors. 

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Jul 26, 2021

Ofwat allows retailers to raise prices from April

Ofwat
Utilities
water
prices
Dominic Ellis
3 min
Ofwat confirms levels of bad debt costs across the business retail market are exceeding 2% of non-household revenue

Retailers can recover a portion of excess bad debt by temporarily increasing prices from April 2022, according to an Ofwat statement.

The regulator confirmed its view that levels of bad debt costs across the business retail market are exceeding 2% of non-household revenue, thereby allowing "a temporary increase" in the maximum prices. Adjustments to price caps will apply for a minimum of two years to reduce the step changes in price that customers might experience.

Measures introduced since March 2020 to contain the spread of Covid-19 could lead to retailers facing higher levels of customer bad debt. Retailers’ abilities to respond to this are expected to be constrained by Ofwat strengthening protections for non-household customers during Covid-19 and the presence of price caps.  

In April last year, Ofwat committed to provide additional regulatory protection if bad debt costs across the market exceeded 2% of non-household revenue. 

Georgina Mills, Business Retail Market Director at Ofwat said: “These decisions aim to protect the interests of non-household customers in the short and longer term, including from the risk of systemic Retailer failure as the business retail market continues to feel the impacts of COVID-19. By implementing market-wide adjustments to price caps, we aim to minimise any additional costs for customers in the shorter term by promoting efficiency and supporting competition.”  

There are also three areas where Ofwat has not reached definitive conclusions and is seeking further evidence and views from stakeholders:   

  1. Pooling excess bad debt costs – Ofwat proposes that the recovery of excess bad debt costs is pooled across all non-household customers, via a uniform uplift to price caps. 
  2. Keeping open the option of not pursuing a true up – For example if outturn bad debt costs are not materially higher than the 2% threshold. 
  3. Undertaking the true up – If a 'true up' is required, Ofwat has set out how it expects this to work in practice. 

Further consultation on the proposed adjustments to REC price caps can be expected by December.

Anita Dougall, CEO and Founding Partner at Sagacity, said Ofwat’s decision comes hot on the heels of Ofgem’s price cap rise in April.

"While it’s great that regulators are helping the industry deal with bad debt in the wake of the pandemic, raising prices only treats the symptoms. Instead, water companies should head upstream, using customer data to identify and rectify the causes of bad debt, stop it at source and help prevent it from occurring in the first place," she said.

"While recouping costs is a must, water companies shouldn’t just rely on the regulator. Data can help companies segment customers, identify and assist customers that are struggling financially, avoiding penalising the entire customer in tackling the cause of the issue."

United Utilities picks up pipeline award

A race-against-time plumbing job to connect four huge water pipes into the large Haweswater Aqueduct in Cumbria saw United Utilities awarded Utility Project of the Year by Pipeline Industries Guild.

The Hallbank project, near Kendal, was completed within a tight eight-day deadline, in a storm and during the second COVID lockdown last November – and with three hours to spare. Principal construction manager John Dawson said the project helped boost the resilience of water supplies across the North West.

“I think what made us stand out was the scale, the use of future technology and the fact that we were really just one team, working collaboratively for a common goal," he said.

Camus Energy secures $16m funding

Camus Energy, which provides advanced grid management technology, has secured $16 million in a Series A round, led by Park West Asset Management and joined by Congruent VenturesWave Capital and other investors, including an investor-owned utility. Camus will leverage the operating capital to expand its grid management software platform to meet growing demand from utilities across North America.

As local utilities look to save money and increase their use of clean energy by tapping into low-cost and low-carbon local resources, Camus' grid management platform provides connectivity between the utility's operations team, its grid-connected equipment and customer devices.

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