Natural Gas Now Best Picks of the Week – March 21, 2020

Tom Shepstone
Shepstone Management Company, Inc.

Readers pass along a lot of stuff every week about natural gas, fractivist antics, emissions, renewables, and other news relating to energy. As usual, emphasis is added.

“Let’s be clear about what’s happening here, Saudi and Russia are flooding the market with oil, and they’re doing that for one specific reason, and that reason is to really put a dagger in the heart of American shale producers.

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So, we’re of course very concerned about this, but at the same time, this is an industry that believes in the free market. We’re not asking for handouts at this time, we want the markets to work, we want our diplomats to get to the table and to make sure that Saudi and Russia are operating in a fair manner.” – API President and CEO Mike Sommers

So refreshing!

Germany Now Depends More Than Ever on Natural Gas

Jude Clemente always gets it:

‘No country ever has spent more money forcing the adoption of renewable energy than Germany. Passed in 2010, Germany’s Energiewende is an “energy transition” based on relentlessly installing as much wind and solar power capacity as possible, with little to no consideration to cost.

The Energiewende demanding the use of renewables could ultimately cost the country as much as $4 trillion by 2050. Already costing hundreds of billions of dollars, wind and solar now generate just ~18% and ~8% of Germany’s electricity, respectively, and still account for just a small fraction of total energy needs.

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Yet, the reality is that natural gas is also quickly becoming an even more important source of energy in Germany. Not just as a vital standalone energy source providing 25% of all energy consumed, gas is the backup fuel needed for intermittent wind and solar. As the energy policy advisor to the U.S., Germany, and the other 34 developed, rich OECD nations, the International Energy Agency (IEA) touts gas as the backbone of the electric power system, to have a flexible, reliable grid where gas supports renewables.

Somehow, despite everything, the truth always comes out, doesn’t it?

The UK Refuses to Learn from Germany

The great Matt Ridley strikes again:

In the past few weeks, the government has made a string of announcements relating to energy, all attempting to appease the green lobby. Every single one will raise costs to consumers but reward special-interest lobbies of crony capitalists: building HS2 at public expense, complete with its own trackside wind farms; backing off Heathrow’s privately funded third runway; bringing forward the date of banning diesel and electric cars; banning coal and wet-wood stoves used by the less well off in rural areas; mandating the use of subsidised ethanol from wheat; reopening subsidy schemes to wind and solar power. In that last case, ministers argue that onshore wind power is now cheaper than fossil-fuel power and no longer needs subsidies, so they have reopened the subsidies for it. Eh?

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The falling cost of offshore wind power is a big myth, by the way. The system cost, connections and back-up required to stabilise a grid relying heavily on intermittent energy is huge, growing and not included in the headline figure for wind subsidy. On top of that, two studies have now confirmed that capital expenditure per megawatt of new capacity in the wind industry has not fallen significantly. Gordon Hughes, CapellAris and John Constable presented public-domain data suggesting that capex in offshore wind was falling only slightly due to technical progress, and that this was completely offset by moving into deeper water. And economists at the University of Aberdeen used a different data set to come to almost the same conclusion, that it will still cost £100 per MWh to get electricity from UK offshore wind farms.

The task of truth-telling never ends, it seems. There are just too many suckers out there.

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One thought on “Natural Gas Now Best Picks of the Week – March 21, 2020

  1. We went on a trip to Price Chopper in Montrose this morning. What a blessing to get stuck behind legions of natural gas industry trucks – with “frackers”now the backbone of our Susquehanna County economy. Businesses essential to supporting operations and development and transmission are open. People around here find store shelves adequate if not filled, and we all practice social distance and sanitation. Tomorrow we’ll distance worship, perhaps give on line. Let’s all pray for the great job our President and so many others are doing.

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