Fossil Fuels Plug Renewables Gap: Gas Price Surges As Unreliable Wind & Solar Fail to Deliver
As wind and solar output collapsed during a bitter northern hemisphere winter, gas prices surged. Demand for natural gas – used to plug the growing gap between what wind and solar generators promise and what they deliver – has never been stronger. So much for our ‘inevitable transition’ from fossil fuels to an all wind and sun powered future.
Cap Allon reports on the new-found respect for fossil fuels.
Natural Gas Prices Skyrocket Globally due to Historically Cold 2021 and Failing Renewables
13 July 2021
A surge in natural gas prices on the global market has emerged.
The market has been in upheaval in recent months due to a rapid depletion of supplies in Asia and Europe due to the historically cold winter of 2020-2021 and the big freezes which extended well-into spring.
This is according to Sohbet Karbuz, of Bilkent University Energy Policy Research Center, who also attributes the increased LNG prices to a rise in carbon prices in Europe, and to natural gas having to fill the void created by the lower-than-expected generation from renewables.
In other words, this issue is partly self-inflicted as ‘green policy’ continues to hamstring the global energy supply.
“The prices were around $25 per ton in November 2020, now it’s over $50,” laments Karbuz. “As such, the transition from coal to gas accelerated. Wind and solar also failed to deliver what was expected in electricity generation in Europe,” he adds.
The gas market in Asia has changed over the past six months, explains Karbuz, with China overtaking Japan as the world’s largest LNG importer.
Karbuz warns that Japan’s demand will increase with the start of the Tokyo Olympics –due to begin on July 23– and that this will heap further pressures on the market by creating even greater competition among importers.
Karbuz also notes that the LNG market pivoting away from Europe to focus on Asia has resulted in much higher prices across the EU.
“Europe is in a difficult situation in terms of price,” he says. “LNG prices are increasing. There has been a decrease in LNG input capacity due to maintenance and malfunctions in some LNG facilities in Europe, which is considered as the last supplier.”
The shortage in gas supplies has been compounded by Russia’s reluctance to exceed its normal contract with supplies to Europe.
“Russia sends gas almost at full capacity from Yamal (liquefied natural gas terminal) and through the Nord Stream (gas pipeline). It could increase the flow through Ukraine, but it does not want to exceed the normal contract amount. There is a geopolitical war,” says Karbuz.
Successive problems with gas imports from Libya to Italy in June have further contributed to the shortage.
As of the end of June, gas stocks in Europe dropped to the lowest level in the past 10 years, culminating in near seven-fold price increases.
Prices at the UK’s National Balancing Point (NBP) hub, the Dutch Title Transfer Facility (TTF) and the Japan Korea Marker (JKM) were below $2 per MMBtu (Metric Milion British Thermal Unit) in June 2020; but now, as of July 7, prices have soared to $10.92 on the NBP, $11.19 on the TTF, and $12.69 on the JKM.
It is feared that this won’t bode well for winter prices when demand is at its highest yet supply is low.
“If the weather is bad and there is not enough gas in the tanks, then there will be a big turmoil in gas prices,” concludes Karbuz — people could wind-up struggling through the harshest months of the year without energy.
Unfortunately, a cold winter is exactly what’s expected, particularly given the reemergence of La Niña conditions.
It may be the middle of summer, but those in the Northern Hemisphere should be preparing for winter NOW as a myriad of miseries threaten to combine and hit simultaneously — the perfect storm — the Grand Solar Minimum.
Don’t rely on a fragile infrastructure or on the planning of local government — they will fail you.
Be the ant, not the grasshopper.
Be responsible for yourself.
The COLD TIMES are returning, the mid-latitudes are REFREEZING, in line with the great conjunction, historically low solar activity, cloud-nucleating Cosmic Rays, and a meridional jet stream flow (among other forcings).
Both NOAA and NASA appear to agree, if you read between the lines, with NOAA saying we’re entering a ‘full-blown’ Grand Solar Minimum in the late-2020s, and NASA seeing this upcoming solar cycle (25) as “the weakest of the past 200 years”, with the agency correlating previous solar shutdowns to prolonged periods of global cooling here.
Furthermore, we can’t ignore the slew of new scientific papers stating the immense impact The Beaufort Gyre could have on the Gulf Stream, and therefore the climate overall.