Germany in the person of political management undertook to seek to bring a share of renewable power in the country energy balance approximately to 65% by 2030.

A number of media already suggested Gazprom to prepare in this regard for gas consumption falling. But so far only coal generation sustains losses. Coal power plants in China and Canada, Australia and the USA are closed. The European Union also once again designated a desire to get rid of coal in electric generation. And last year brought Russia the next record of consumption of electric energy.

In February, 2018 there was a very symbolical event. In Ontario which is the most occupied from the Canadian provinces the Nantikoksky thermal power plant was demolished. It was remarkable that it was the largest coal thermal power plant in North America (the rated volume of 4 GW). And on February 28 after four years of idle time two 200-meter pipes of station collapsed as a result of controlled explosion. And as a fat unambiguous colon — it is planned to construct a solar power station on 44 MW on its place. Here it would be possible to sneer at disproportion of replacement. But we will not spend time for this. Let’s get to the point.
Replacement of coal in electric generation with types of fuels, less harmful to environment, is a universal trend. Only approaches are different. China can brag of the most, perhaps, reasonable. So, in March of last year the last coal power plant was closed in Beijing. At the same time the People’s Republic of China introduces more and more strict requirements to emissions of the functioning coal thermal power plants. About 20% of them already now treat the superefficient.
In a number of the regions of China from last year the extremely exacting norms on emissions of coal power plants started being entered. In fact, it is supposed that their emissions will be given to the level of the most eco-friendly of power plants from the non-renewable today — gas. In the current year these norms will extend to the Central China and since 2020 will become obligatory for all country.
Actually Chinese «coal» becomes purer and more effective than European and American. Stations which will not be able to reach so high rates will be closed. It is remarkable that if to judge on the decrease in efficiency of rated capacity of coal power plants noted by a number of researchers, the norms accepted in 2020 will allow not only to improve an ecological situation but also to cut off an outgrowth of excess, inefficient capacities.
Besides, the People’s Republic of China pursues a consistent policy of replacement of coal with gas, atom and the renewables in electric generation. That is the People’s Republic of China professes the complex, weighed approach. It is very characteristic for China and is atypical for many other countries. China tries to squeeze out a maximum of available technologies it does not simply close coal power plants without grounds and seeks to make them the most effective. This is difference of approach of the People’s Republic of China from approach of many other states.
In the changing power supply system of the People’s Republic of China there will be a sales market and for local producers of the equipment for renewable energy sources and for local miners, as well as for tens of billions of cubic meters of the Russian gas.

Living only the heavenly

In 2016 impressive and uncompromising breakthrough from coal to renewable power made state South Australia. On strange combination of circumstances right after it regular blackouts, and wholesale prices for the electric power in states Victoria and South Australia, according to Sky News began, doubled — to 139 dollars and 168.9 dollars for 1 megawatt-hour respectively. Besides that in the neighboring regions the price for the same time, on the contrary, fell, for example, in not so progressive Queensland — to 75.65 dollars for 1 megawatt-hour.
Closing of coal power plants is directly accused of adverse position of consumers of South Australia and the state Victoria. And Australian Energy Market Operator notes that only in December, 2017 and only in the state Victoria about 100 thousand consumers remained without electricity.
And it was not the first similar case from the second half of 2016. During the most outstanding blackout without electricity there were more than 1.5 million people. Accidentally at the beginning of 2017 the ubiquitous Ilon Mask «a genius, a playboy, a billionaire and a philanthropist» came. In a manner peculiar to him he promised to solve a problem of sudden shutdowns in 100 days by means of the accumulative batteries. In a manner not less peculiar to him, he missed the deadline and the problem judging by the proceeding cutoffs (for example, in November, 2017), was not solved. However, the proceeding cutoffs, seemingly, do not interest anybody as the Australian campaign of Mask in world mass media is already recognized as the next grandiose victory which is only a little conceding to start of the old electric car somewhere by Mars.
A share of renewable power in Australia, according to Fortune, makes 7%. The coal share in electric generation in 15 years decreased from 80% to 63%. Thus the electric power output countrywide grew — to 257 billion kilowatt-hours in 2016 (growth — about 13 billion kilowatt-hours in 10 years). For comparison, according to AEMO, to the middle of 2017 a share of renewable power in not rich in coal state South Australia reached 45.6% (31.2% — a wind, 14.4% — the sun). It concedes so far to gas only – 49.1%.
Such excessive share of renewable power also made this state vulnerable from the point of view of power supply. The wind should suddenly cease to blow or clouds can close the sun as tens and hundreds of thousands of people should pass to a hungry power ration and after all not only Australia faced such a problem. A year ago we already described a similar unpleasant situation in Germany. But Germany possesses a considerable stock of the generating capacities working at gas and did not close yet coal power plants. Therefore dependence on forces of nature did not gain for it so menacing scope as for South Australia, as yet.

What happened?

Looking at this striking example, we hope sincerely that the authorities of Canada thoroughly thought over the course with closing of coal power plants. It is necessary to notice that the authorities of this country decided to close them by 2030. This rule concerns thermal power plant which are not equipped with carbon catching devices. In any case, we hope that coal will be replaced with something equivalent, but not a wind and the sun.
It is remarkable, as without that blackout have chronic character in Canada. In December of last year 75 thousand consumers, in March of 2018 — 35 thousand households, and in April — at once 100 thousand remained without electricity. Now the bad weather which is artfully tearing off power lines is guilty of it. It is possible if cutoffs happen because of distortion of power balance of advantage of renewable energy sources, regular Canadians will not notice a difference.
By 2030 Canada intends to make 90% of the electric power on the basis of sources with zero emissions of greenhouse gases. So far consumption of coal in this country since 2007 decreased from a little more than 30 million tons in an oil equivalent to 18.7 million tons in an oil equivalent. Thus gas consumption steadily fluctuates within 100 billion cubic meters. And electricity generation for the same period, according to BP, even grew — from 625.6 terawatt-hours to 663 terawatt-hours. Its considerable share is made on hydroelectric power stations.
However, if something goes not so, Canada always has a chance to lean on a hand of the help of the USA.

Will everything be so again?

Though the States officially also do not participate in universal anti-coal process, but a coal share in electric generation reduce. It happens for the natural reasons: gas became more favorable fuel. And crisis in the market of hydrocarbons brought a contribution.
According to Energy Information Administration (EIA), since 2015 gas began to advance coal on energy generation. Though following the results of 2015 coal after all overtook gas (1352 billion kilowatt-hour against 1333 billion kilowatt-hours) a little, but in 2016 gas escaped forward (1378 billion kilowatt-hours against 1239 billion kilowatt-hours).
By the way, total output of the electric power in the USA decreased since 2014 (about 4094 billion kilowatt-hours). Especially sharp falling took place in 2017 — on 62 billion kilowatt-hours (to 4015 billion kWh). It occurred against decrease in gas production about which we already reported earlier to our dear readers.
Following the results of 2017 the volume of natural gas in electric generation gave to 1273 billion kilowatt-hours. Coal volume was also reduced (to 1208 billion kilowatt-hours). At the beginning of 2018 gas started winning the positions again — consumption of natural gas by power plants in January almost reached indicators of the similar period of 2016. But also coal does not stand still — its consumption in January exceeded indicators of the similar period of 2016.
It is worth noticing, by the way, that in very warm United States much more considerable peak of electricity consumption is not in winter but in summer, in particular electricity consumption increases in July and August. Therefore data during the summer will be more indicative in respect of opposition of coal and gas. But we will risk assuming that natural gas will safely win lost and if there are no destructive hurricanes as last year, it is quite possible that we are waited by a new gas record in power industry. Confidence to us adds the growing indicators of production of slate oil in the United States.
The happening changes in energy balance of the USA are obviously connected with restoration in the market of hydrocarbons. Prices of oil from the second half of 2017 sharply grew (approximately by 25 dollars for barrel). It made again profitable a considerable share of slate oil fields. Let’s remind that against reduction of prices of slate black gold production gave for phenomenal 25%. By the present moment all losses were won back and the USA set new records of production of slate oil. The previous record (2015) made 9.61 million barrels per day, now this indicator reached 10.46 million.
Our readers well know that approximately since 2012-2013 slate gas is only a by-product at production of slate oil as in a separation from it its extraction is unprofitable. Gas will also grow in the States until oil grows.
In addition, it is expected that a number of new gas power plants in 2018 will make 20 GW — the largest gain since 2004. Nearly 6 GW of new capacities will be constructed in Pennsylvania and 2 GW — in Texas. And about 13 GW of coal capacities on the contrary will be taken out of service.
Also we will not lose sight that in 2018 small revolution among renewable is expected in the USA. According to forecasts of EIA, the electric power output from a wind has to outstrip that indicator of hydro generation.


Now let’s be transferred to Europe from lands far. Here throughout long time electricity consumption practically did not grow. On this background the increase in this indicator, according to Agora Energiewende, for 0.7% (on 23 billion kilowatt-hours) in 2017 looks quite optimistically. Thus coal lost 7% — 27 billion kilowatt-hours. Especially its positions in Germany and Great Britain suffered. Two thirds of growth of the development of wind farms which made 58 billion kilowatt-hours on the EU was a share of these two countries.
Totally from renewable sources (a wind, the sun and biomass) 679 billion kilowatt-hours of electric power were made. So, a crowd of renewables could outstrip coal power plants. By the way, growth of renewed generally fell also on Germany and Great Britain. They provided 56% of all new renewable energy sources capacities in three last years. It once again proves that in difficult economic conditions renewable becomes destiny of exclusively well-founded countries.
Gas was on the second place on a gain of the made electricity in the European Union last year. Additional 42 billion kilowatt-hours account for its share. Of course, natural gas did not yet reach indicators of 2011 (702 billion kilowatt-hours) when renewable energy sources inadvertently started forcing out it from the European energy balance. But gas showed the best result for the last five years — about 639 billion kilowatt-hours. Not least growth happens due to reduction of a share of coal.
Only in Germany electricity generation from coal was reduced from 234.7 billion kilowatt-hours in 2016 to 215.7 billion kilowatt-hours in 2017. Gas for the same period grew from 46.5 billion kilowatt-hours to 49 billion kilowatt-hours. And it is not necessary to compare these indicators to 30.1 billion kilowatt-hours in 2015.
It is necessary to notice that Germany is exclusively coal country that is well noticeable by production of the electric power from this type of fuel. If the plans for refusal of coal are realized, there will the unprecedented niche for gas in the German market. However there was an occasion to well-wishers to see the future refusal of Germany of gas and senselessness of joint gas transmission projects of Gazprom with this country.
This time the reason was given by the German politicians who managed to leave recent political crisis. The coalition was created and the coalition contract is approved. The economic section of this contract provides aspiration to bring a share of renewable energy sources approximately to 65% by 2030. It is not about an energy strategy, not about the obliging document by which will be guided everyone and everything. It is only the declaration and the guiding indicator for politicians.
Let’s notice, by the way, that for the end of 2017 there were 203.2 GW of rated capacity in Germany in total. Thereof solar power stations is 43 GW, wind – 50.9 GW (land) and 5.26 GW (sea). Still there were 5.6 GW of hydroelectric power stations and 7.4 GW of the power plants using biomass as fuel, in total, 112.2 GW accounts for a share of renewable generation. These are more than 55% of all rated capacity! It is no distance to 65%.
But, most likely, the German management wishes to increase a share of renewable energy sources not in rated capacity but in development. Here a task is absolutely other as following the results of 2017 a share of all renewables in production made 38.2%. Thus 43 GW of solar power stations made only 38.39 billion kilowatt-hour of electric power in 2017. Thus, the efficiency of rated capacity (ERC) made only 10.2%. The situation is more consolatory concerning wind: 103 billion kilowatt-hours. The efficiency of rated capacity is 21%. For comparison, the efficiency of rated capacity of the German hydroelectric power stations is 42.5%, nuclear is 76,3%.
Rates of a gain of renewable sector are obviously insufficient for achievement of goals. Rated capacity of wind farms at the favorable scenario can reach by 2030 about 135 GW and solar — 70 GW. On the one hand, this doubling of «renewable» rated capacity; on the other hand, it is output about 290 billion kilowatt-hours. Joint efforts of a wind and the sun will hardly be enough to replace coal, but it is obviously not enough of them for replacement of brown coal and atom.
Certainly, Germans will try to keep brown coal in an energy balance to the last. After all, it is extracted in Germany. Therefore it is not simply energy resource but workplaces and taxes. But eventually it is necessary to refuse and it. If a care of ecology is not simply convenient slogans at present but an accurate state position.
We will not undertake to estimate now, whether power supply system with the dominating share of renewables will be steady for Germany. But we will surely touch on this subject next time. Now we will note only that our forecasts for renewable energy sources generation growth and give about 60-65% of production, if its volume does not change considerably by 2030. And it is obvious that there is a large niche for gas here too which now is occupied by coal.

Everything is excellent

Last year was very successful for power industry in Russia. If in 2016 the branch unexpectedly started being restored, 2017 showed that it is not a casual temporary phenomenon, but a steady trend. Electricity consumption appeared above a record indicator of 2016 (even without inclusion in uniform system of the Crimea).
According to the System operator of the Integrated power grid of Russia, electricity consumption within EEC in 2017 made 1039.9 billion kilowatt-hours, and in general across Russia this indicator reached 1059.5 billion kilowatt-hours (growth on 0.5%). Power generation in Russia in 2017 made 1073.6 billion kilowatt-hours (0.2% more than in 2016).
Rated capacity of power plants of UES of Russia, according to the System operator, by the beginning of the current year practically reached 240 GW. In total last year 3.6 GW of new stations were put into operation and the rated capacity of the operating generating equipment is increased on 292.1 MW. At the same time more than 1.4 GW are taken out of service.
As for the beginning of the current year, consumption in January corresponded to the level of January, 2017 and then growth began. In February it made 1.7% (consumption reached 92 billion kilowatt-hours), and in March – 5.8% (consumption jumped up to 97.7 billion kilowatt-hours). And it is within EEC only. In general, March showed growth on 5.9% — to 99.7 billion kilowatt-hours across Russia. The branch was helped by unexpectedly cold beginning of spring. According to the System operator, in March air temperature within the integrated power grid of Russia made -6.9 °C. It is 6 °C lower than temperature of March, 2017.
2017 and the beginning of 2018 were also very successful for the Gazprom Group providing development of 16% of all electric power of UES of Russia. In summer 2017 Gazprom switched power supply of objects of historic center of St. Petersburg with outdate on the new equipment of Power plant No. 1 of the Central combined heat and power plant. Now the electricity arrives from the 100 MW highly effective gas-turbine combined heat and power plant via the modern complete distributing device. Among consumers are such objects of cultural heritage as the State Hermitage, the Russian Museum, Aleksandrinsky and Mikhaylovsky theaters. The new equipment allows not only increasing reliability of power supply of the center of St. Petersburg but also expands opportunities for connection of new consumers.
Only in St. Petersburg and the Leningrad region in subsidiary of Gazprom Energoholding — PAO TGC-1 was realized the program of construction and modernization of installations with a total electric power about 1.7 GW. For example, Pervomayskaya heat and power plant underwent complex reconstruction. In fact, it was not simple updating and construction of new combined heat and power plant. In 2017 the integrated auxiliary case started working here. Now the station can release heat for needs of hot water supply continuously within a year.
In total about the country Gazprom put into operation more than 8.5 GW of new highly effective power units. Among them is Adler thermal power plant (3604 MW) — the important Olympic venue which improved power supply of Sochi. Cumulative investments of Gazprom Group into projects on the contracts of granting power (CGP) exceeded 450 billion rubles.
At the time of entry into power business Gazprom assumed liabilities on contracts of granting power about 9 GW. At present there is a construction by the provided taken obligations of the last generating object — the Grozny thermal power plant (power to 360 MW). Commissioning is planned for 2019. Then Gazprom will implement the plan for contracts of granting power realized since 2007 for 100%.
In November, 2013 the MOEK Company joined Gazprom Energoholding. After that reorganization of heat supply of Moscow began. There was a transfer of sources of thermal energy from MOEK in Mosenergo which also belongs to Gazprom. Functional division of business: objects of generation — Mosenergo, thermal networks and marketing functions — MOEK. Today Moscow is the world’s largest city with the centralized system of heat supply. About 90% of thermal energy is made on the generating objects of Mosenergo (without the New Moscow).
MOEK long time was deeply unprofitable company (net loss in 2013 — 8 billion rubles). But thanks to reorganization and a complex of additional measures the enterprise reached profitability. In 2017 the profit of MOEK grew on 35.8% and reached 6.76 billion rubles.
In general improvement of financial performance is characteristic for all companies of Gazprom Energoholding. So, the profit of Mosenergo on in 2017 grew on 84.6% (to 24.8 billion rubles), TGC-1 — on 49% (to 7.9 billion rubles), OGK-2 — on 2.4 times (to 7.2 billion rubles). At the beginning of 2018 the enterprises also show significant growth in profit.
As for .Gazprom Energoholding in general, it expects growth of total net profit following the results of 2017 on 2.4 times — to 45.5 billion rubles. Improvement of financial performance was followed by small decrease in total output of electric energy on 1.9% (to 150.8 billion kilowatt-hours) and release of heat on 2.2% (to 116.7 million gigacalories). The reasons are covered in optimization of work of old capacities, the extremely effective functioning of new installations and improvement of system of heat supply of Moscow. It is that very case when more does not mean better.
Gazprom owns not only the electric generating enterprises and sale of heat but also power marketing business. In 2018 the profile company Mezhregionenergosbyt won first place in a rating of independent power supply companies of NP Market Council Association.
In general, indicators of the first quarter of this year force to build optimistic forecasts for 2018. Of course, the winter which was late in our country, affected results, however much more important role for the electrical power market is played by recovery of the economy of Russia and growth of industrial production. If growth rates in the current year at least remain on former, rather low, level, our country is waited in the current year by a new record of electricity consumption, and the generating enterprises of Gazprom — further improvement of financial performance.