Gas Executive Roundtable

Demand for new natural gas-fired generation is strengthening as the U.S. economic recovery continues, according to executives taking part in Power Engineering magazine’s Gas Executive Roundtable, which will be published in the May 2011 issue.

A year ago roundtable participants used the term “pockets of demand” to describe a still-recovering market for gas-fired generation. Executives in the 2011 roundtable said demand is broadening from 2010 levels.

“We think it is broader,” said Ed Walsh, executive vice president of Black & Veatch’s global energy business. He said in many parts of the country saw summer peak demand in 2010 that were close to levels last seen in 2006 when the economy was still healthy. “To us, that indicates a potential end to the period where we actually lost load growth,” Walsh said. “We think that’s positive for the industry.”

John Adams, senior vice president of Power Operations for Calpine said his company has seen an increase in demand for electric power. “It’s a little different region to region, but it looks like we’re through the bottom and this is the beginning of the upward trend in North America.”

He said California presents opportunities as intermittent renewable resources are added to the generation mix. In Texas, capacity margins are narrowing.

And in the eastern U.S. environmental rules coming into effect will cause some existing coal-fired power plants to close. “That gap will be filled with new gas, both in the east and the southeastern part of the U.S.,” Adams said.

Joining Walsh and Adams on this year’s roundtable were Larry Nichols, CEO of Devon Energy; Darryl Shoemaker, director of Power and Energy Sector at HDR Inc.; and Martin Boller, vice president Sales & Marketing for Alstom’s gas business. Associate Editor Lindsay Morris moderated the roundtable.

You can read the complete Gas Executive Roundtable in the May issue of Power Engineering magazine. 

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