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U.S. LNG exports up by 272% as EU and U.S. host High-Level B2B Energy Forum

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U.S. liquefied natural gas exports up by 272% as EU and U.S. host High-Level Business-to-Business Energy Forum.

In their Joint Statement of 25 July 2018 in Washington D.C., President Juncker and President Trump agreed to strengthen EU-U.S. strategic cooperation with respect to energy. They came in particular to an understanding on the benefits of expanded exports of U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the EU gas market.

Since the first cargo in April 2016 U.S. LNG exports to the EU have been increasing substantially and have seen a steep rise after President Trump and President Juncker’s meeting in July 2018 increasing by 272%. As a result, March 2019 recorded the highest volume ever of EU-U.S. trade in LNG with more than 1.4 billion cubic metres.

Today, top energy business executives from both sides of the Atlantic meet in Brussels to discuss further ways to enhance LNG trade, the role that competitively-priced U.S.-LNG can play on the EU market and the growing opportunities for using LNG in the transport sector. This High-Level Energy Forum, opened by EU Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete and U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, gives American and European businesses the opportunity to chart further actions to fully harvest commercial opportunities in the LNG trade. These will range from new infrastructure for upstream development, liquefaction and re-gasification to pipeline network distribution as well as new business models and financial instruments in a changing market. It also provides U.S. and European decision-makers from companies in the LNG sector with match-making and deal-making opportunities.

The gathering, which is a clear signal of the strengthened of EU-U.S. cooperation in the field of energy, provided a further occasion for EU Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete to meet with the U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry and discuss broader aspects of EU-US energy relations.

Speaking after the meeting, Commissioner for Energy and Climate Miguel Arias Cañete said: “Energy security is one of the key success stories of our transatlantic cooperation and one where we both have a keen mutual interest. It is therefore our common objective to further deepen our energy cooperation. Natural gas will remain an important component of the EU’s energy mix in the near future as we move towards cleaner sources of energy. Given our heavy dependence on imports, U.S. liquefied natural gas, if priced competitively, could play an increasing and strategic role in EU gas supply.”

U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry said: “Today’s discussion follows on last July’s joint statement by President Trump and President Juncker on strengthening our strategic energy partnership. We share a history of transatlantic cooperation, through good times and bad, and together we promote our heritage of freedom. The strength of this relationship can particularly be seen in energy. When it comes to natural gas, we each have what the other needs to derive tremendous mutual benefit from advancing our energy relationship.”

Increased imports of U.S. LNG contribute to the EU’s goal of diversification of energy supply. Competitive, fluid and stable, the EU gas market is the second biggest single gas market in the world after the U.S.

European gas imports are projected to increase in the years to come as its domestic production is decreasing, while demand is projected to remain at a comparable level as gas has been identified as an important transition fuel in the EU’s efforts to decarbonise its economy.

Development of liquefied natural gas capacities in the EU

The EU has well-developed liquefied natural gas import capacities, with about 150 billion cubic meters currently spare. At the same time, given their strategic importance for diversification and supply security, current capacities are being expanded and new capacities are being developed. Most recent developments include:

The signature of a grant agreement between the Polish government and the Polskie LNG company for the extension of the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal in Świnoujście, in north-western Poland on the Baltic Sea coast, on 24 April. The EU invested almost €128 million from the European Regional Development Fund in extending this terminal, this comes on top of €224 million already invested under the previous funding period.

The final investment decision of the LNG terminal on the island of Krk in Croatia in January 2019. The EU has contributed with a total of €124 million(including €108 million for the terminal and €16 million for the evacuation pipeline).

The EU is also supporting capacity developments in Greece, Spain, Ireland, Sweden and Cyprus, a detailed table is available online. The EU estimates that by 2022 all Member States (but Malta and Cyprus) will have access to three sources of gas and 23 Member States will have access to the global LNG market.

Increase of LNG Imports from the U.S.

Since July 2018, cumulative EU imports of liquefied natural gas from the U.S. have increased by 272%.With a share of 12.6% of EU-LNG imports in 2019 so far, the U.S. is Europe’s third biggest supplier of LNG, while Europe has emerged the primary destination of the U.S. LNG in January to February this year ahead of Asia. The European Union is ready to facilitate more imports of liquefied natural gas from the U.S., if the market conditions are right and prices competitive. This will allow U.S. exporters to further strengthen their position on European markets whilst contributing to the EU’s objectives of security of supply and diversification.

Current figures show that:

In the nine months since the 25 July 2018 Joint Statement, cumulative EU imports of U.S. LNG are up by 272% relative to the period beforehand, a total of 10.4 billion cubic meters (bcm).

In terms of the EU’s total imports of LNG, the U.S. share was 13.4% over the last six months, compared to 2.3% before the Joint Statement.

Since early 2016, the EU has received more than 110 LNG cargoes from the U.S. In 2017 Europe represented more than 10% of total U.S. LNG exports, up from 5% in 2016. In the 2018 calendar year, some 11% of US LNG exports went to the EU market. However, in the 9-month period since the Joint Statement (August 2018 – April 2019), this share rises to nearly 30%.

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ADB, Gulf PD Sign Deal to Build 2,500 MW Power Plant in Thailand

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The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Gulf PD Company Limited (Gulf PD) today signed a $180 million agreement to build and operate a 2,500-megawatt (MW) combined cycle gas turbine power plant in the Rojana Rayong 2 Industrial Park of Thailand’s Rayong Province, about 150 kilometers southeast of Bangkok.

Gulf PD is owned by Independent Power Development, a joint venture between Gulf Energy Development Public Company Limited (GED) and Mitsui & Co., Ltd. (Mitsui).

ADB’s support is composed of a regular loan of $50 million and a B loan of up to $85 million. ADB will also mobilize $45 million through the Leading Asia’s Private Infrastructure Fund (LEAP), established in 2016 and supported by the Japan International Cooperation Agency. ADB signed the loan agreement with its cofinanciers—the Japan Bank for International Cooperation and 12 other international and local commercial banks—playing an anchor lender role in the project by catalyzing up to $764 million in commercial cofinancing. The B loan will be funded by Singapore’s Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation and Germany’s DZ Bank.

The agreement for the Eastern Economic Corridor Independent Power Project was signed by ADB Deputy Director General for Private Sector Operations Mr. Christopher Thieme and the CEO of GED Mr. Sarath Ratanavadi at a ceremony in Bangkok.

“The project will build the fourth-largest power plant and one of the largest combined cycle gas turbine power plants in Thailand, which will be key in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) development plan, considered as the prime economic growth driver for the country until 2028,” said Mr. Thieme. “ADB is proud to play an essential role in this transaction, which will help provide reliable power to industry and households and boost Thailand’s economic growth and development prospects. We are particularly pleased to bring in additional cofinanciers to this transaction through our B loan program and LEAP, since the financing gap will be one of the major challenges for the success of the EEC development plan.”

The plant will be fully operational by 2024, delivering at least 16,000 gigawatt-hours of electricity to users. With the state-of-the-art combined-cycle gas turbine technology to be used at the plant, the project will mean 1 million fewer tons of carbon dioxide is emitted every year compared with current electricity grid emissions. The plant will be integral to sustaining Thailand’s energy security given that more than 8,500 MW of generating capacity—equivalent to about 20% of current national energy capacity—of aging power plants will be retired between 2020 and 2025.

Gulf PD was established in 2012 to develop, construct, own, and operate the 2,500 MW power plant. GED is a leading power generation company with the largest portfolio of contracted power purchase agreements in Thailand. Mitsui, established in 1947, is one of Japan’s largest trading companies involved in the development of more than 74 power projects globally.

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Latin America and Caribbean on the Brink of Massive Solar Power Growth

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Latin America and the Caribbean could grow their installed solar capacity by a factor of 40 by 2050, a new report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) shows. Annual investmens exceeding seven billion would see the region’s solar PV capacity rise from 7 gigawatts (GW) today, to more than 280 GW by mid-century. While solar energy remains the highest in Asia, North America and Europe, market growth is set to shift to other regions in the world.

By that time, solar PV would represent the second-largest power source behind wind, generating a quarter of the world’s power, “Future of Solar Photovoltaic” launched today at “Sun World 2019” in Lima finds. In total, global solar power capacity would rise from 480 GW in 2018 to over 8000 GW by 2050, growing by nearly 9 per cent every year.

“Solar PV and other renewables sources represent the most effective and ready solution for addressing growing energy demand and limiting carbon emission at the same time,” said IRENA’s Director-General Francesco La Camera. “Renewables are practical, affordable and climate-safe. They are key to sustainable development, enabling energy access, spurring economic growth, creating employment and improving health. Particularly solar energy is set to become one of the most prominent power sources in 2050. Projected growth rates in markets like Latin America showcase that we can extend the energy transition to all countries. It’s possible.”

If accompanied by sound policies, the transformation driven by renewables such as solar can bring substantial socioeconomic benefits, IRENA’s new report finds. The global solar industry has the potential to employ over 18 million people by 2050, four times more than the 4.4 million jobs today.

Over the last decade, installed capacity of off-grid solar PV has grown more than tenfold, from roughly 0.25 GW in 2008 to almost 3 GW in 2018 around the world. With its modular and flexible nature, solar PV technology can be adapted to a wide range of off-grid applications and to local conditions. Indeed, off-grid solar PV is a key technology for achieving universal electricity access, in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Similarly, the deployment of rooftop solar PV systems has increased extensively, which today makes solar PV in some markets more attractive than buying electricity from the grid. The competitiveness of distributed solar power is clearly raising deployment in large markets, including Brazil, China, Germany and Mexico.

Statistical highlights:

Accelerating solar PV can cut energy-related CO2 emissions by 21 per cent in 2050.

With over 50 per cent of installed capacity in 2050, Asia (mostly China) would continue to dominate solar PV power, followed by North America (20%) and Europe (10%). The Latin American market would grow from 7 GW in 2018 to over 280 GW.

Annual solar PV investment would have to increase by 68 per cent on average globally, from USD 114 billion in 2018 to USD 192 billion in 2050.

Global levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) for solar PV will continue to fall from an average of USD 85 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) in 2018 to between USD 5-14 cents per kWh by 2050. A recent solar and wind power auction in Colombia was awarded for an average electricity price of USD 27 cents per kWh.

Due to innovations, solar PV remains a fast-evolving industry. Floating PV is one of the most prominent examples with global cumulative installed capacity exceeding 1 GW in 2018. Battery storage and electric vehicles are key solutions to support the grid and manage high shares of solar PV as well as to guarantee the flexibility of the power system.

The full report “Future of Solar Photovoltaic. Deployment, investment, technology, grid integration and socio-economic aspects” can be found here

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IRENA Facilitates Investment and Renewable Projects on Ground in Africa

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Boosting renewable energy projects on the ground requires scaling up investment. IRENA’s state-of-the-art analysis of enabling policy frameworks and finance mechanisms channel public and private investment in markets like Africa, Latin America, Asia, South-East Europe and the Small Island Developing States (SIDS). Now, IRENA is taking its work one step further by increasing the Agency’s on-ground impact with 15 regional and sub-regional platforms which aims at scaling up renewables deployment and investments.

One step in this new direction is the event that took place in Johannesburg as part of the Africa Investment Forum hosted by the African Development Bank. It facilitated renewable energy deal-making in Sub-Saharan Africa in partnership with Power Africa and the African Trade Insurance Agency. The event corresponds to IRENA’s new direction and way forward ensuring an acceleration of the renewable energy transformation globally.

Speaking at the Investment Forum in South Africa, IRENA’s Director-General Francesco La Camera underlined the importance of renewable energy to meet sustainable economic growth and Africa’s climate and development ambitions. “Now more than ever, renewables have become a compelling investment proposition”, said La Camera. “With renewable energy technology prices set to decline, the cost-competitiveness of renewables will strengthen further. IRENA’s analysis shows that nearly a quarter of Africa’s energy needs could be met from indigenous and clean renewable energy sources by 2030. This would result in a wide array of socio-economic benefits in terms of economic growth, welfare, employment and energy access. It’s Possible”.

IRENA has been committed to supporting African governments in their quest for a sustainable energy future. The Agency has supported countries in building attractive investment frameworks for renewables to strengthen institutional and technical capacity. It has also supported the development and financing of renewable energy projects through project facilitation tools. 
“A lot remains to be done to address the key risks and barriers that hinder the scale-up of renewable investment in the region”, La Camera continued. “There is no shortage of renewable energy project proposals which are competing for investor capital. But they are not always financially viable. Many proposals fail to materialize due to high cost of capital, limited access to risk mitigation solutions and long delays in projects”.

By building on its extensive project pipeline in Sub-Saharan Africa with over 90 renewable energy projects, the Agency has showcased 10 renewable energy projects at the Investment Forum. Projects from Cameroon, Cote D’Ivoire, Kenya, Mali, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo which have a total capacity ranging from 6 MW to 70 MW – covering technologies like wind, solar, bioenergy and hydropower – were presented.

IRENA’s project facilitation platform provides project owners and developers with increased visibility for their projects among financiers and other market players. Project owners have access to wide range of financial instruments provided by multiple investors from development finance institutions, private companies, utilities, private equity funds, donor and multi-donor facilities, commercial banks and more, as well as access to different services for example legal and financial advisory, environmental, project development and Engineering Procurement and Construction contracting.

More information about IRENA’s project facilitation.

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