The Big Picture Guidebook: 2014

The Big Picture Guidebook: 2014



The BIG PICTURE, POWER magazine's monthly infographic series, visualizes prominent power generation trends and issues from around the world.  Now, find all of these articles in one compiled guidebook.

Delivered in a PDF format.


Topics Include:

  • Power Pie Pieces

The generation profiles of some states have seen a marked transformation over the last two decades. Note: All pie charts are based on generation data (in MWh).


  • Regulation Reckoning


  • Coal’s Export Future

The combination of substantial growth in total world coal trade, strong pricing for both coking and steam coals abroad, and the declining demand for coal in the U.S. power sector has sparked a surge in activity and investment to facilitate the growth of U.S. coal exports. Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration


  • Next-Gen Nuclear

Three years after the Fukushima catastrophe, 72 mostly advanced nuclear reactors—a total of 68 GW—are under construction worldwide, almost all in countries with established nuclear programs. But about 30 countries are looking to introduce nuclear into their generation mix.


  • Storage Snapshot

The world’s energy storage efforts have experienced a tremendous boost in recent years, as this April 2014 U.S. Energy Department snapshot (of
verified projects and projects whose verification is in process) shows. The fledgling grid storage market is expected to transform into a $10.4 billion business by 2017, compared to just $200 million in 2012. Storage capacity is rated here in watts—as opposed to watt-hours, energy’s true measure, because most storage projects are pumped hydro (some of them seasonal) or projects that have no clear indication of duration.


  • Power Plus

Several countries around the world are boosting investment in cogeneration— also known as combined heat and power (CHP)—to meet broader energy and environmental goals. Specifically in the U.S., a 2012 White House executive order, increasing interest from states, a promising natural gas supply and price outlook, and environmental rule compliance strategies are driving CHP growth. The bulk of future additions (32%) is centered on commercial applications.


  • Recycling CO2

The ongoing focus on carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) has resulted in novel ways carbon dioxide (CO2) captured from industrial processes
and power generation can be used profitably—thereby offsetting costs associated with carbon capture. Here are seven potential options that are undergoing development or are in commercial use today.


  • GHG Pegboard

Since the Supreme Court’s landmark 2007 decision, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has sought to phase in greenhouse gas (GHG)
rules for power plants and other large stationary sources using three separate sections of the Clean Air Act (CAA): the Prevention of Significant
Deterioration (PSD) Permitting Program, the Title V Permitting Program, and the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS). Here’s how those rules have evolved.


  • The Natural Gas Trade

Recent natural gas supply and demand shifts are being reflected by morphing trade movements worldwide. The arrows show how gas volumes traded via major routes have changed between 2009 and 2013 in billion cubic meters (bcm). The balloons show natural gas demand that has been projected specifically for power generation between 2012 and 2018, also in bcm. To learn more about how gas trading routes could change even more over the next few years, see “Re-routing Natural Gas,” a web supplement associated with this infographic at


  • A Generation Freeze

Before the polar vortex earlier this year, several severe cold weather events had presented comparable power generation operational challenges. POWER ranks those events here in terms of loss of generation capacity. Common themes observed in both severe and lesser cold weather incidents involve constraints on natural gas fuel supplies to generating plants, and generating unit trips, derates, or failure to start due to weather-related causes.


  • China’s Nuclear Ambitions

About 40% of all the world’s nuclear reactors under construction are in China. While nuclear currently makes up a paltry 2.11% share of the country’s total power capacity, it is expected to soar to about 7% to address urgent air pollution and energy security concerns. While China has emphasized establishing a fully integrated domestic nuclear supply chain—including self-reliance on design—it is also using different nuclear technologies from other countries. But achieving ambitious nuclear targets isn’t proving easy.


  • Wind and Solar Variability

At least 144 countries have renewable targets and 138 countries have renewable energy support policies, enabling wind and solar—so-called “variable” renewables—to achieve high levels of penetration in several countries over recent years. But though renewables accounted for more than 56% of net additions to global power capacity in 2013, wind and solar’s contribution to meeting electricity demand varied greatly from country to country.

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