Power

The Financial Times this week hosts guests writers and industry leaders who will debate the future of global energy after nuclear disaster in Japan and turmoil in the Middle East.

DAY ONE:

How shale gas will transform the markets

Lasting changes are unlikely to flow from political conflicts in north Africa or the nuclear sector in Japan. It is geology and technology that could transform global energy, says Nick Butler, who chairs the King’s Policy Institute at King’s College London.

DAY TWO:

We must electrify the transport sector

Washington needs to promote investment and energy diversity to ensure the US can be weaned off its dependency on oil, writes Frederick Smith, president and chief executive of FedEx Corporation

 

FT RESOURCES:

Energy Source – the FT blog that gives an insight into the financial, economic and policy aspects of energy and the environment;

Powering America – interactive graphic on the future of US energy;

Oil in-depth – news and analysis as a consensus emerges that countries need to do everything to stabilise oil prices following the dramatic market volatility of 2008;

Unconventional oil and gas ‘hot areas’ – an interactive graphic on alternative sources of oil energy.

 

 

By Patricia de Leon of mergermarket

Thai companies are keeping up the pace with their overseas deals, boosted by a maturing domestic economy and and a stronger baht.

In the latest  deal announced this week, Ratchaburi Electricity, one of the country’s largest power generators, is paying Bhat6.7bn ($223m)  for 56 per cent in Australia’s Transfield Services Infrastructure Fund – a power and water company.

This will not be Ratchaburi’s last foray overseas, says Jirasee Kasuwan, energy sector banker at The Quant Group, a Bangkok-based independent investment bank. The company has “a very huge ambition to expand internationally,” he says, which began with  investing in a greenfield power plant in Laos a couple of years ago.

Chinese officials have warned in recent weeks that the country could face power shortages this summer in what would be an embarrassing setback for the world’s largest energy consumer.

But is this a real threat? Or is it just sabre-rattling by power companies keen to secure from the authorities increase in state-controlled electricity prices to compensate for rising world coal costs? It’s probably just talk, but nobody can be quite sure.

Kiran Stacey

In this week’s readers’ Q&A session, Cameron O’Reilly (far left) and Steve Cunningham  answer your questions. They are CEO and UK and Ireland chief, respectively, of Landis+Gyr, the world’s biggest maker of smart meters by market share.

In this second of two posts, they talk about how manufacturers and grid operators can work together on rolling out meters and how big the global market for the devices could be.

Earlier, they discussed what can be done with the data from smart meters, and how concerned the public should be about the use of this data.

Now, over to Cameron and Steve:

Kiran Stacey

Cameron O'ReillySteve CunninghamIn this week’s readers’ Q&A session, Cameron O’Reilly (far left) and Steve Cunningham  answer your questions. They are CEO and UK and Ireland chief, respectively, of Landis+Gyr, the world’s biggest maker of smart meters by market share.

In the first of two posts, they discuss what can be done with the data from smart meters, and how concerned the public should be about the use of this data.

In the second post, published later on Friday, they talk about how manufacturers and grid operators can work together on rolling out meters and how big the global market for the devices could be.

Now, over to Cameron and Steve:

Kiran Stacey

Rolling out intelligent energy meters could help the UK reduce its energy usage by up to 15 per cent, five times current government estimates, the world’s biggest smart meter maker has said.

Answering Energy Source readers’ questions, Cameron O’Reilly and Steve Cunningham, the CEO and UK and Ireland chief (respectively) of Landis+Gyr, said the UK was being too pessimistic in their forecast for how much impact smart meters could make.

They said:

Even if the immediate benefit seen by home owners is the 2-3 per cent saving that the UK government’s model assumes, it is still a profoundly valuable exercise.

But we seriously doubt that those conservative savings will be the best that the UK achieves. Landis+Gyr’s experience is that deployments which have focused on encouraging energy budgeting have delivered usage reductions of 10-15 per cent, even when they have had far less sophisticated capabilities than those planned here. Our energy retailers are some of the most innovative in the world – it would be a surprise if, in partnership with their customers, they couldn’t at least match those figures.

The next three decades will be vital for the US energy sector. Decreasing reliance on fossil fuels, limiting emissions that cause global warming and lessening dependence of imported oil are all at the top of the Obama administration energy agenda. This graphic explores the various energy sources in the US, the leading companies and the most powerful policy makers.

 

Kiran Stacey

Steve CunninghamCameron O'ReillyI am pleased to say that Cameron O’Reilly (right), chief executive of Landis+Gyr, has joined Steve Cunningham (left), the company’s UK & Ireland CEO, in the hotseat for next week’s readers’ Q&A.

The two are at the very top of the world’s biggest smart meter maker by market share. This is your chance to ask them about anything from how quickly it might be able to install 1m meters for British Gas, to the future of smart meters and grids worldwide, to the company’s plans for a flotation or sale.

Email all your questions to energysource@ft.com by Sunday, April 17th.

Kiran Stacey

Jeffrey Immelt just can’t stop buying. Today, he announced GE would pay $3.2bn for 90 per cent of Converteam, the French business that used to be Alstom Power Generation.

Converteam make equipment to convert renewable power into “grid-quality” electricity, and according to GE, its sales rose 36 per cent last year.

This now takes GE’s spending on energy acquisitions since October to over $11bn after the purchases of Dresser, Wellstream, Lineage Power and the well support unit of John Wood Group.

GE’s shareholders don’t seem too perturbed by the deal: its shares barely moved in pre-market trade – although that might change when the opening bell rings.

A new phase in Tepco’s “BP moment”: just like the whirlpool created by the massive tsunami after the March 11 earthquake, Japan’s biggest electricity provider and operator of the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant is dragging peers into its own troubled vortex.

Investors’ attitudes to Japan’s other utilities have not been nearly as severe as the scare that has driven Tepco’s share price down 73 per cent since March 11, and further widened its CDS spreads on Monday by 143bps to 473bps (amid fears, as Markit’s Gavan Nolan remarked, that the company “is losing control of the situation”). But it’s still a very worrying sign for anybody involved in Japan’s nuclear power industry.

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