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🏭 Balancing LNG, Coal, and Climate Goals

A draft document written by the Group of Seven’s climate ministers shows LNG investments as an energy security and decarbonization focal point. 

But not everybody agrees.

The Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) says any new investments in fossil fuel supplies will derail global climate change goals. The UN’s IPCC climate panel has a similar perspective. 

What seems evident to G7 climate ministers, however, is that climate goals go out the window when countries lose energy reliability. 

Before the Russia-Ukraine conflict, coal was all but written off as a dirty relic living out its final years until natural gas and other ‘cleaner’ fuels took over. 

After the energy restructuring of 2022, countries had a new decision: try to compete with wealthy governments to buy expensive and unreliable natural gas cargoes or turn to a cheap, predictable alternative in coal. 

If it’s unclear, the IEA and IPCC should look at China, India, and the EU. Old coal stacks are booting up, and new coal facilities are also in the pipeline. Last week, Coal India beat its production goals for the first time in 17 years, and they’re acknowledging the need to boost mining efforts to meet India’s demand forecast of 1 billion metric tons by 2026.

A world without fossil fuels sounds good. Reality’s a painful reminder, though. Energy policies that force constituents to “sweater hedge” their way through cold winters won’t go over well. 

To the G7, building LNG capacity is the best answer. It’s cleaner than coal, and new technologies are already developing to reduce its carbon footprint. 

And if coal has to stay? 

The draft document suggests researching the benefits of co-burning coal and ammonia to reduce emissions, a technique that Japan’s Hekinan power plant employed in the last few years. 

Combusting ammonia doesn’t release carbon dioxide, so Hekinan has promising results in that department. 

On the other hand, it does release nitrous oxide, a long-lasting greenhouse gas that’s 300x more potent than carbon dioxide. More confounding, global ammonia supplies can’t keep up with the ubiquitous adoption of co-burning. Using a 20% ammonia mix in all of Japan’s major utilities would consume 20 million metric tons of ammonia annually. 

In other words, Japan’s tiny pocket of the world would require 10% of global ammonia production yearly. 

So far, investing in LNG looks practical.

Quick Shots:

⚛️ France & China To Co-Invest In Energy

This week, a French state visit to China resulted in new long-term energy investment partnerships between the two countries. 

French-owned EDF and Chinese-owned CGN signed deals for nuclear cooperation. 

Similarly, EDF and the China Energy Investment Corporation signed deals for offshore wind development. 

🚢 Eyes On Germany’s Only Deep-Water Port

With roughly $5.5 billion in planned investments, Germany’s port of Wilhelmshaven is on track to become the country’s new energy hub. 

As the country’s lone deep-water port, energy firms plan to develop infrastructure for LNG terminals, hydrogen and ammonia imports, carbon sequestration and storage (CSS), and hydrogen production. 

Wintershall Dea, Uniper, and Tree Energy Solutions are leading the charge. 

🔋 Toyota Boosts EV Lineup, Focuses on US

On Friday, Toyota announced an addition of 10 new battery-powered vehicles to its lineup, with a sales target of 1.5 million EVs/year by 2026. 

Last year, the group sold fewer than 25,000 battery-powered models, including its Lexus brand. 

Toyota wants to increase production in the US, both to satisfy the world’s leading demand center and gain access to the IRA’s incentives.