Coal Prices have started to increase in the international market alongwith other commodities like wheat,sugar,corn,gold,copper etc.But unlike other commodities,Coal has a disproportionate effect on Energy Prices.Note Coal is the principal supplier of top energy consumers like China,USA,India,Germany etc.The cheap price and abundance of coal has made it the fossil fuel of choice for generating electricity.The Technology for mining,processing and using coal to generate energy is well developed and cheap.This is the main reason for Coal’s growing use despite its reputation as the Dirtiest Form of Energy.Coal Mining also regularly leads to hundreds of deaths even in developed countries like USA and New Zealand.However Growing Carbon Emissions due to Coal and its Supply Shortages has resulted in looking for alternative forms.Clean Coal Technology and CCS are looked upon as means to try and improve the carbon footprint of Coal.However the CCS Technology remains immature and expensive as of now .
Renewable Energy has faced a very bad year in 2010 at least in terms of stock prices.The failure of the Copenhagen Climate Meet in 2009 and the complete indifference towards the Cancun Meet in Mexico has made the Green Energy Sector one of the worst performing ones.Wind Energy has been the worst hit with falling gas prices and falling subsidies with USA and Europe the worst hit.Other sectors like Solar Energy and Biofuels have not got much love from the markets either.In fact major financial insitutions have sharply reduced their Renewable Energy Holdings with Short Interest Rising to a Record High amongst Green Companies like American Semiconductor,Jinko Solar etc.However despite the ascendancy of the Republicans in USA and the cold shoulder given to climate and energy bill,this might mark a bottom for Renewable Energy
Nuclear Energy in India is going to quadruple in the next decade as India’s power hungry economy requires increasing amounts of energy to sustain its growth.India’s Electricity Capacity is targeted to reach 450 GW from around 160 GW at present which would require increasing the supply from all renewable energy sources as well as non-renewable sources.While Thermal Power will continue to remain the top dog with 60-70% of the capacity,Nuclear Power which forms just 3% of the current capacity is also poised to grow exponentially.India’s Nuclear Power deal with USA have paved the way for India to again part of the civilian nuclear club which would allow import of uranium fuel and nuclear technology.It would also allow Nuclear Equipment Producers like Toshiba,Areva and GE to set up Nuclear Power Plants in India.Note India has a long history of a home grown indigenous nuclear power program with nuclear power capacity of around 4.5 GW.Despite facing low utilization in recent times due to inadequate supply of uranium fuel,the nuclear energy industry has continued its growth path.India is the only country spending large amounts in Thorium Fuel R&D as the country has huge deposits of the element.
The increasing amounts of Wind Energy and Solar Energy will require elements of a Smart Grid.China’s electricty capacity is going to double in the next 5 years to around 1500 GW from 850-900 GW at present.This will require a huge increase in transmission capacity creating a huge market for electricity equipment giants like Siemens,ABB,Areva and Alstom.China also has the opputunity of creating a a Smart Grid as it builds Transmission Capacity form Scratch.Almost $100 Billion is going to be spent over the next 5 years attracting even IT firms like IBM and Cisco.IBM has already tied up with Chinese cities to roll out a pilot program.Note Smart Grid Technologies are still in their infancy.Chinese investment in Smart Grid will allow development of these technologies giving a huge boost to companies winning Smart Grid Projects in China.The Chinese Market despite its size is a highly competitive market with local companies competing mainly on price.Local companies that are benefiting from the Grid Investment are
China has the world’s largest hydro power capacity at 200 GW and it plans to double the capacity by 2020.China is mostly dependent on Coal Power and Hydro Power to meet the electricity demand from its fast growing economy.China has the world’s second largest electricity capacity at 850-900 GW second only to USA at ~1000 GW.This will be soon be overtaken as China continues to grow at 8-10% and its electricity per capita is still much below developed world standards.China is already the world’s biggest consumer of Energy and emitter of Greenhouse Gases.Despite rapidly investing in Nuclear and Renewable Energy,China’s voracious demand has made the growth of Fossil Fuel Energy unsustainable.It already consumes 3 Billion Tons of Coal per year and is already importing around 180 million tons per year.
Toshiba,the Japanese Conglomerate with diversified interests in Electronics,Nuclear Energy Equipment,NAND Memory is leading the Japanese Search for Rare Earth Minerals.Fears of Chinese monopoly over production of REE came true,when Exports to Japan were blocked over a shipping incident.EU and USA have long been concerned with the Chinese control of 95% of the global REE production with USA even thinking of taking China to the WTO.Japan has recently drastically increased its investment into finding new sources of Rare Earth with recent deals with Vietnam,India,Kazakhstan and others.Sojitz, a Trading Zaibatsu recently signed a long term supply deal with Lynas.Toshiba is the other Japanese firm actively scouting for Rare Earth Minerals looking for newer processes and geographies.