Coal-to-gas switching in Europe - what's the potential for increased gas demand?

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Report summary

The global gas market looks increasingly oversupplied to the early 2020s. As new LNG supplies come online, spot gas prices will fall, testing new floors. With much of the new LNG likely to be absorbed by Europe, demand response resulting from coal-to-gas switching in the region’s power sector will be key to re-balancing the market. The prices at which coal-to-gas switching becomes economic in different markets will be key to understanding gas price formation. These will depend both on the cost of coal and carbon, as well as the dynamics of European power markets. Power plant efficiencies will play a role in determining where fuel switching will take place and at what prices. How much additional gas demand is triggered as prices fall will also depend on the market share available to coal and gas generators. Weak power demand and growth in renewable supplies have put the two fuels under pressure in recent years. The loss of coal capacity will also impact the potential for fuel switching.

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Table of contents

  • Coal and carbon price forecasts to 2020
  • Coal and gas-fired power plant efficiencies
  • Impact of reduction in coal capacity on gas demand
  • Impact of electricity demand and renewable supply on gas demand
  • Gas prices at which coal and gas compete in Europe's major power markets (2016 and 2020)

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