Gas to Power: Fast and flexible electricity for rapidly developing countries
New gas discoveries, in combination with advances in technology, are making it possible to address previously insurmountable energy challenges in underserved regions of the world. These developments are raising hopes and expectations of improving the lives of 20 percent of the world’s population that still lives without access to electricity. Industry experts and policymakers alike see the potential of harnessing the ever-expanding world gas supply to drive economic growth and improve the basic human condition in their home countries.
The expansion of global gas networks and the opening of new markets for natural gas are mutually reinforcing, further enhanced by cost-competitiveness, flexible operating characteristics, and environmental advantages of gas. GE is on the cutting edge of this trend, offering the most advanced and wide-ranging power generation systems for everything from mega-cities to isolated villages, from industrial sites to municipal grids. GE’s wide array of technology offerings can serve projects that scale to each community’s needs, and are in alignment with whatever indigenous resources may be available.
While gas already is addressing some of the most challenging generation problems in the global energy sector, more can be done to bring these resources online faster. International companies are willing to take on significant financial and operational risks to develop resources, build infrastructure, and link markets if governments create a stable environment for business – especially for gas supply projects that have investment horizons of 20 to 30 years. GE’s approach involves convening stakeholders along the power generation value chain, including governments, developers, fuel suppliers, construction firms, equipment providers, and financiers. Ultimately, the goal is to deliver— in a holistic, cost-effective way — gas-fired powered generation to underserved markets. GE refers to this approach as its “Gas to Power” (GTP) initiative.
Government officials, regional trade associations, international development organizations, industry leaders and other stakeholders are key components of the strategic partnerships necessary to bring more power to local communities. In tandem, these stakeholders can work together to restructure inefficient, legacy markets and replace them with clear and consistent regulatory regimes. In so doing, they will increase access to risk-shared financing, reinvigorate long-planned but dormant regional infrastructure projects, and encourage investment in each stage of the project value chain. As a result, more households will see the benefit of reliable and affordable power.
GE recommends a fresh look at the new opportunities that GTP promises now and in the future. Policymakers should examine their energy mix in light of emerging trends, amend and develop regulations to support new gas to power projects, and look for opportunities for regional cooperation. Where it makes sense, industry should develop centers of excellence around GTP to seek the strategic alliances needed to bring these complex projects onstream faster. Development and finance institutions can also take a fresh look at their objectives and priorities to ensure that resources and lending policies reflect emerging trends, and are fully aligned with efforts to increase energy access in the developing world.