Keywords: gas use, combined cycle gas turbine, power generation, Western Europe
Fuel for thought: European energy market restructuring and the future of power generation gas use
The liberalisation of the West European electricity and gas markets, technological developments in power technology and environmental policies are expected to stimulate continued strong growth in power generation gas consumption. This paper examines the importance of three frequently disregarded considerations in the analysis of expanded gas use in power generation. These include: (a) better use of existing capacity; (b) security of supply concerns; and (c) gas price increases and the entry of new power technologies. While the paper confirms that the future looks bright for gas-fired power generation in Western Europe, it also introduces some important uncertainties about the prospects for gas use and in particular the pace at which gas can be expected to penetrate the West European power sector. In this way, the paper questions some of the more optimistic projections of gas consumption.