Global wind capacity to rise by more than half in next five years

Above, the Dan Tysk wind park of Swedish energy company Vattenfall and Stadtwerke Munich located west of the German island of Sylt in the North Sea. (Reuters)
Updated 25 April 2018
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Global wind capacity to rise by more than half in next five years

  • Around 52.5 gigawatts of new wind power capacity was added worldwide last year, down slightly from 54.6 GW in 2016
  • China continues to be the biggest wind market in the world, adding nearly 19.7 GW of new capacity in 2017

LONDON: Global wind energy capacity could increase by more than half over the next five years, as costs continue to fall and the market returns to growth at the end of this decade, a report by the Global Wind Energy Council shows.
In its annual report on the status of the global wind industry, the GWEC said cumulative wind energy capacity stood at 539 gigawatts (GW) at the end of last year, 11 percent higher than the previous year.
That should increase by 56 percent to 840 GW by the end of 2022 as countries develop more renewable energy to meet emissions cut targets and prices continue to fall, the wind industry association said.
Around 52.5 gigawatts (GW) of new wind power capacity was added worldwide last year, down slightly from 54.6 GW in 2016. The GWEC expects the market to be flat this year but start growing again from 2019.
“The annual market will return to growth in 2019 and 2020, breaching the 60 GW barrier once again and continue to grow, albeit at a slower pace, in the beginning of the new decade,” the GWEC said in its report.
“We expect to see total cumulative installations reach 840 GW by the end of 2022,” it added.
Wind power has become more competitive over the past few years, with a move from government subsidies to auctions which has brought costs down further.
“Overall, offshore prices for projects to be completed in the next five years or so are half of what they were for the last five years and this trend is likely to continue,” the report said.
China continues to be the biggest wind market in the world, adding nearly 19.7 GW of new capacity in 2017, though this was 15.9 percent lower than the previous year.
The pace of China’s wind development is gradually slowing down and growth is expected to be flat to 2020.
India experienced record wind installations last year, adding over 4 GW, but GWEC expects this to slow this year due to a transition period between old market incentives and moving toward an auction-based system, the GWEC said.
The EU also had a record year in 2017 with 15.6 GW added. The bloc is expected to install around 76 GW of new wind power by the end of 2022, reaching a cumulative total of 254 GW.
The US added 7 GW of new wind capacity last year. Despite attempts to change the structure of tax credits last year, the provisions remained intact and continue to support the industry.


Undersea gas fires Egypt’s regional energy dreams

Updated 18 November 2018
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Undersea gas fires Egypt’s regional energy dreams

  • In the past year, gas has started flowing from four major fields off Egypt’s Mediterranean coast
  • Gas production has now hit 184 million cubic meters a day

CAIRO: Egypt is looking to use its vast, newly tapped undersea gas reserves to establish itself as a key energy exporter and revive its flagging economy.
Encouraged by the discovery of huge natural gas fields in the Mediterranean, Cairo has in recent months signed gas deals with neighboring Israel as well as Cyprus and Greece.
Former oil minister Osama Kamal said Egypt has a “plan to become a regional energy hub.”
In the past year, gas has started flowing from four major fields off Egypt’s Mediterranean coast, including the vast Zohr field, inaugurated with great ceremony by President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.
Discovered in 2015 by Italian energy giant Eni, Zohr is the biggest gas field so far found in Egyptian waters.
The immediate upshot has been that since September, the Arab world’s most populous country has been able to halt imports of liquified natural gas, which last year cost it some $220 million (190 million euros) per month.
Coming after a financial crisis that pushed Cairo in 2016 to take a $12 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund, the gas has been a lifeline.
Egypt’s budget deficit, which hit 10.9 percent of GDP in the financial year 2016-17, has since fallen to 9.8 percent.
Gas production has now hit 184 million cubic meters a day.
Having met its own needs, Cairo is looking to kickstart exports and extend its regional influence.
It has signed deals to import gas from neighboring countries for liquefaction at installations on its Mediterranean coast, ready for re-export to Europe.
In September, Egypt signed a deal with Cyprus to build a pipeline to pump Cypriot gas hundreds of kilometers to Egypt for processing before being exported to Europe.
That came amid tensions between Egypt and Turkey — which has supported the Muslim Brotherhood, seen by Cairo as a terrorist organization, and has troops in breakaway northern Cyprus.
In February, Egypt, the only Arab state apart from Jordan to have a peace deal with Israel, inked an agreement to import gas from the Jewish state’s Tamar and Leviathan reservoirs.
A US-Israeli consortium leading the development of Israel’s offshore gas reserves in September announced it would buy part of a disused pipeline connecting the Israeli coastal city of Ashkelon with the northern Sinai peninsula.
That would bypass a land pipeline across the Sinai that was repeatedly targeted by jihadists in 2011 and 2012.
The $15-billion deal will see some 64 billion cubic meters of gas pumped in from the Israeli fields over 10 years.
Independent news website Mada Masr reported that Egypt’s General Intelligence Service is the majority shareholder in East Gas, which will earn the largest part of the profits from the import of Israeli gas and its resale to the Egyptian state.
Kamal said he sees “no problem” in that, adding that the agency has held a majority stake in the firm since 2003.
“That guarantees the protection of Egyptian interests,” he said.
Ezzat Abdel Aziz, former president of the Egyptian Atomic Energy Agency, said the projects were “of vital importance for Egypt” and would have direct returns for the Egyptian economy.
They “confirm the strategic importance of Egypt and allow it to take advantage of its location between producing countries in the east and consuming countries of the West,” he said.
The Egyptian state is also hoping to rake in billions of dollars in revenues from petro-chemicals.
Its regional energy ambitions are “not limited to the natural gas sector, but also involve major projects in the petroleum and petrochemical sectors,” said former oil minister Kamal.
Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Tarek El Molla recently announced a deal to expand the Midor refinery in the Egyptian capital to boost its output by some 60 percent.
On top of that, the new Mostorod refinery in northern Cairo is set to produce 4.4 million tons of petroleum products a year after it comes online by next May, according to Ahmed Heikal, president of Egyptian investment firm Citadel Capital.
That alone will save the state $2 billion a year on petrochemical imports, which last year cost it some $5.2 billion.
Egypt is also investing in a processing plant on the Red Sea that could produce some four million tons of petro-products a year — as well as creating 3,000 jobs in a country where unemployment is rife.