IEA Claims Peak Fossil Fuel Demand, Industry Invests Otherwise // Palisades Clears Hurdle to Restart // EU Pledges to Help Wind Industry
Welcome to Grid Brief! Here’s what we’re looking at today: IEA head claims the world will see peak fossil fuel demand in a few years, Michigan’s Palisades nuclear power plant takes a big step towards repowering, the EU plans to help its ailing wind industry, and more.
IEA Claims Peak Fossil Fuel Demand, Industry Invests Otherwise
Faith Birol, the head of the International Energy Agency, took to the pages of the Financial Times to declare that the world will reach peak fossil fuel demand by the end of the decade.
“Peaks for the three fossil fuels are a welcome sight, showing that the shift to cleaner and more secure energy systems is speeding up and that efforts to avoid the worst effects of climate change are making headway,” he wrote.
Birol attributes this turn of events to cheap solar panels, electric vehicles, and shifts in the Chinese economy.
But the fossil fuel majors, especially in the gas sector, aren’t biting—they’re investing in the long run.
“From Shell Plc to Chevron Corp., the world’s top producers plan to accelerate investments in the fuel,” Bloomberg reported earlier this year. “China keeps signing deals to buy liquefied natural gas past 2050, with European importers not far behind. The US is forging ahead with new projects that will make it the world’s top LNG exporter for the foreseeable future.”
Palisades Clears Hurdle to Restart
On Tuesday, Holtec International announced a power purchase agreement between Palisades Energy and Wolverine Power Cooperative.
“Wolverine has committed to buy up to two-thirds of the power generated by Palisades for its member co-ops, with its non-profit rural electric cooperative project partner, Hoosier Energy, purchasing the rest,” reports Utility Dive.
Palisades was in the process of decommissioning until the 800-MW nuclear plant’s new owner, Holtec, applied for Civilian Nuclear Credits from the Department of Energy to repower the plant.
“The signing of this business agreement is a significant milestone to ensure assured operation of the facility and an enhanced carbon-free energy future for Michigan,” said Holtec.
If Palisades restarts, it will be the first American nuclear power plant to return from decommissioning to full operations.
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EU Pledges to Help Wind Industry
On Wednesday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced the Commission's intention to put forward a European Wind Power package, which aims to revitalize the continent’s struggling wind industry.
“The EU risks missing wind power capacity installation targets and losing the supply chain to competition in traditionally low-cost Chinese manufacturing,” reports Oilprice.com “Moreover, inflation, higher interest rates, and supply chain issues have made materials and products more expensive, raising the costs of already approved projects.”
The Commission committed to expediting permitting, enhancing auction systems throughout the EU, and giving attention to skills development, access to financial resources, and the stability of supply chains.
Guyana gets major bidders for its offshore blocks. “Guyana on Wednesday received bids for eight of 14 offshore oil and gas exploration blocks offered in its first auction, including from groups formed by Exxon Mobil and TotalEnergies,” reports Reuters. The South American country wants to quickly expand its energy industry and recruit a wider range of developers to counterbalance a consortium led by Exxon that controls all oil production. The auction, which garnered global attention amid the discovery of more than 11 billion barrels of recoverable oil and gas resources by the Exxon group in recent years, had been delayed several times since 2022.”
Libya’s oil exports are back. “Libya’s four oil export ports reopened on Wednesday following their closure in the face of Storm Daniel, which swept through the Mediterranean, causing extensive damage in Libya’s east, where officials are reporting over 5,000 deaths,” reports Oilprice.com. “On Wednesday, the Libyan National Oil Company (NOC) confirmed that the eastern oil export ports of Ras Lanuf, Zueitina, Brega and Es Sider had all been reopened, with the exception of one mooring at Es Sida, which had been closed the week prior for maintenance. While production was not affected, markets feared the removal of some 1 million barrels from export volumes as a result of Libya’s port closures. OPEC data for August showed that Libya produced approximately 1 million barrels of oil per day.”
Russian oil export revenue increased with prices last month. “Russian oil export revenues surged by $1.8 bn to $17.1 bn in August, as higher prices more than offset lower shipments,” reports the International Energy Agency. “Led by a decline in product shipments, total Russian oil exports eased by 150 kb/d last month, to 7.2 mb/d, 570 kb/d below a year-ago. Shipments to China and India slumped to 3.9 mb/d from 4.7 mb/d in April and May but accounted for more than half the total volumes.”
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