Cheap Gas Threatens Expensive Wind Farms
Tuesday, 24 May 2011 12:54 Ed Crooks, Financial Times
Construction of new wind farms in the US is set to decline next year because of competition from cheap natural gas for power generation, the country’s largest developer of new wind power projects has said.
Ignacio Galán, chief executive of the Spanish energy group Iberdrola, said the rise in US shale gas production had transformed the country’s energy industry, driving down gas and electricity prices. “Shale gas makes the production of electricity from other sources not attractive enough,” he said. (GWPF)
Natural Gas a Natural Winner? Let the (Transportation) Market Decide!
by E. Calvin Beisner
May 24, 2011
Four-dollar per gallon gasoline provides more margin for oil producers than four dollars per million British thermal units (MMBtu) provides for natural gas producers. Historically speaking, oil prices are high and natural gas prices low.
In the face of low prices, the natural gas industry can practice self-help in a free market–or resort to political shenanigans. Self-help means producing less (hard to do in a technology boom!) or selling more. Whether converting fuel oil customers to natural gas in the home heating market or building gas-to-liquids plants to convert natural gas into petroleum products, including gasoline, natural gas companies and their trade groups can work to be their own best friend.
But segments of the natural gas industry, led by master rent-seeker T. Boone Pickens, has turned to the political means to bolster demand and thus price. After all, if wind, solar, and biomass can get special government favor (a favorable regulation or special tax-code provision), why not natural gas? And enigmatic T. Boone’s large ownership interest in natural gas refueling stations would just happen (sshhhh!) to win big from his political activism. (MasterResource)