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The French National Assembly has approved the extension of the concession for the power utility Compagnie nationale du Rhône (CNR) until 2041. The concession was due to expire at the end of 2023 and extending it until 2041 will make its 19 hydropower plants on the Rhône River reach an average operation length of 75 years. The text did not require a State aid notification to the European Commission. It must now be voted by the Senate.

The state-government of Ceará (north-eastern Brazil) and BP have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the potential implementation of a gas hub in Porto do Pecém with an installed capacity of 2.2 GW. 

Gas accounts for 8% of Brazil’s installed capacity, with nearly 15 GW at the end of 2020.

Energy & Climate Markets

According to Trade Statistics of Japan, Japanese LNG imports declined by 0.2% in 2021 to 74 Mt. In 2020, Japan was the world's largest LNG importer, accounting for around 20% of global imports. However, LNG imports have been declining since 2017 and are now estimated to be lower than China's LNG imports, that grew by nearly 19% in 2021 according to preliminary statistics, making China the largest LNG importer worldwide in 2021.

Renewables accounted for 13% of Argentina's power mix in 2021, compared to 10% in 2020, according to the country's Secretary of Energy. Argentina commissioned 26 large-scale renewable projects in 2021, adding 1,005 MW to its national grid. New capacity additions in 2021, which increased by 24% compared to 2020, were mostly wind (42%), bioenergy (31%), solar photovoltaic (PV) (15%) and small hydro (12%); they represented 97% of the new capacity additions in 2021.

Renewables accounted for 22.1% of the European Union's gross final energy consumption in 2020, compared to 17.4% in 2015, according to Eurostat. The regional bloc targeted 20% of renewables in gross final energy consumption by 2020. Sweden had by far the highest share among the EU Member States in 2020 (60.1%), followed by Finland (43.8%), Latvia (42.1%), Austria (36.5%) and Portugal (34%). The lowest proportions of renewables were recorded in Malta (10.7%), Luxembourg (11.7%), Belgium (13%) and Hungary (13.9%).

Brazil's electricity demand increased by 4.1% in 2021 to an average of 64.7 GW, according to Cámara de Comercialização de Energia Elétrica (CCEE). Consumption in the regulated sector (65.6% of the total electricity consumption) remained stable (-0.2%) to 42.5 GW, while demand on the free market, which includes industries and large companies (34.4% of the total electriciyt consumption), grew by nearly 14% to 22.2 MW, as some units transitioned from the regulated to the free market.

Infrastructure & Investments

The US power utility MidAmerican Energy has submitted a proposal to the Iowa Utilities Board (United States) for the US$3.9bn Wind Prime project, which would comprise 2,042 MW of wind and 50 MW of solar. The company also plans to conduct feasibility studies on other technologies, including carbon capture, energy storage and small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs). If approved, the project could be completed in late 2024. 

The Blue Circle, a Singapore-based renewable company, and CleanTech Global Renewables, an independent power producer and renewable electricity developer in the Philippines, have secured a wind energy service contract for a 1.2 GW offshore wind project in Bulalacao, Oriental Mindoro (Philippines). The power plant will include 100 turbines with a unit capacity of 12 MW.

The Russian power utility Tatenergo has started building a new 850 MW CCGT block at its Zainskaya State District Power Plant (SDPP) located in Zainsk, Tatarstan (Russia). In September 2020, GE was selected to supply power generation equipment for the project, which is expected to generate 6.3 TWh/year of electricity.

Policy & Regulatory

The Belgian Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (AFCN) has authorised the extension of the operating life of the Tihange 3 and Doel 4 nuclear reactors that are due to stop in 2025 if installations are updated. The Belgium government is expected to make a final decision on the issue in the first quarter of 2022. In March 2022, the power transmission system operator (TSO) Elia will release a report determining if the security of energy supply after 2025 is threatened without nuclear energy.