Top critical issues affecting global energy
High energy price volatility has for the first time replaced global climate framework as the number-one critical uncertainty driving the world energy agenda, according to the 2014 World Energy Issues Monitor, recently released by the World Energy Council (WEC).
Global climate framework uncertainty, while still is a key uncertainty, is now perceived by energy leaders to have less impact than in the previous three years of the study. Meanwhile, carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) continues to be viewed as a technology with only a limited impact on the energy sector, continuing the clear trend over the past three years.
“The fact that both climate framework and CCUS are perceived to be issues of less impact is bad news not only in terms of emissions mitigation, but also for the development of robust and resilient energy infrastructure,” said Christoph Frei, WEC secretary general, at the launch of the report at the Africa Energy Indaba.
“Our energy systems are in a state of massive expansion and transition, and the signals we see today provide clear evidence of the urgent need for more robust, coherent, long-term frameworks within which to plan and implement future investment.”
Energy price volatility goes beyond merely oil and gas prices and their regional differentials. It is also being influenced by the coal-to-gas substitution in the U.S.; the increasing use of coal in Europe, which has driven up emissions; the collapse of solar module prices; and Australia re-directing its interest from North America to Asia while North American infrastructure companies are signing more deals with Asian customers.
The WEC study further finds that energy leaders are increasingly concerned about the sector’s ability to access the capital markets for funds towards energy infrastructure, when set against a continued recessionary backdrop.
Meanwhile, renewable energy and energy efficiency continue to keep energy leaders busy, with growth shifting from Europe and North America to the Middle East where demand is rapidly rising. Large hydropower is back on the agenda with significant unrealized potential in central Africa, Latin America, Russia, and Canada.
The 2014 World Energy Issues Monitor is the culmination of a six-month study capturing the views of over 800 energy leaders including ministers, chief executives and the heads of the WEC’s national members committees covering 84 countries. The report, which highlights strong regional variations, looks at the global energy agenda and analyses the trends and outlook in six world regions plus 24 countries.
In Africa, the top critical uncertainties are climate framework, high energy prices, and commodity prices. As a change from last year, national governments and regional institutions are taking actions in energy efficiency and regional interconnection, while investment cooperation with China and India is viewed with increasing importance.
Electricity supply remains a critical concern in Africa, with growing demand, lack of required investment, and increasing power shortages across the continent. Renewable energy remains a high-priority issue.
The study finds that in addition to energy prices, the top regional critical uncertainties are:
- Africa: climate framework, commodity prices
- Asia: renewable energy
- Europe: global recession
- Latin America & Caribbean: commodity prices, capital markets
- Middle East & North Africa: energy efficiency, renewable energy
- North America: nuclear energy, capital markets
The 2014 report includes assessment of six world regions and 24 countries: Bulgaria, Colombia, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.
The report highlights 37 issues and their perceived impact, uncertainty, and urgency for global energy leaders and experts.
Hydrostor receives $4m funding for A-CAES facility in Canada
Hydrostor has received $4m funding to develop a 300-500MW Advanced Compressed Air Energy Storage (A-CAES) facility in Canada.
The funding will be used to complete essential engineering and planning, and enable Hydrostor to plan construction.
The project will be modeled on Hydrostor’s commercially operating Goderich storage facility, providing up to 12 hours of energy storage.
Hydrostor’s A-CAES system supports Canada’s green economic transition by designing, building, and operating emissions-free energy storage facilities, and employing people, suppliers, and technologies from the oil and gas sector.
The Honorable Seamus O’Regan, Jr. Minister of Natural Resources, said: “Investing in clean technology will lower emissions and increase our competitiveness. This is how we get to net zero by 2050.”
A-CAES has the potential to lower greenhouse gas emissions by enabling the transition to a cleaner and more flexible electricity grid. Specifically, the low-impact and cost-effective technology will reduce the use of fossil fuels and will provide reliable and bankable energy storage solutions for utilities and regulators, while integrating renewable energy for sustainable growth.
Curtis VanWalleghem, Hydrostor’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are grateful for the federal government’s support of our long duration energy storage solution that is critical to enabling the clean energy transition. This made-in-Canada solution, with the support of NRCan and Sustainable Development Technology Canada, is ready to be widely deployed within Canada and globally to lower electricity rates and decarbonize the electricity sector."
The Rosamond A-CAES 500MW Project is under advanced development and targeting a 2024 launch. It is designed to turn California’s growing solar and wind resources into on-demand peak capacity while allowing for closure of fossil fuel generating stations.
Hydrostor closed US$37 million (C$49 million) in growth financing in September 2019.