A year ago, Axford Turbine Consultants (www.axfordconsulting.com) predicted that GT orders for U.S. job sites would be down 9 percent and worldwide orders would rise by 7 percent. As it turned out, he underestimated the weakness in the U.S. market where orders fell by 17 percent. Worldwide total orders went up by 7.5 percent. He apologized for the bad news for North America. “This is like telling folks their kids are ugly,” he said. “The American gas turbine market is running more than 25 percent below pre-recession levels.”
Which fuel – coal, natural gas or nuclear – will prevail in the future and why? That question was addressed at the April 5thNew York City meeting of the Center for Energy Policy and the Environment. Robert Bryce, Senior Fellow at the Center, chaired the opening session. Natural gas earned the panels’ most positive outlook. “Five years ago we thought we’d have to import 20% of our natural gas,” said John Harpole, President, Mercator Energy. But technological breakthroughs have unlocked massive quantities of natural gas from shale deposits that were previously thought to be uneconomic. In January, the International Energy Agency estimated global gas resources at 32,000 trillion cubic feet, the energy equivalent of about 6 billion barrels of oil.
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