Irish utility Electricity Supply Board (ESB) has warned against a prevalence of smaller power plants bidding into the upcoming capacity auctions. “Almost 4 GW of diesel gen as the low-CAPEX option seems to be preferred by capacity markets. However, these small-scale units of less than 50 MW have significantly higher operating costs, so we are playing a short-time game,” Claire Duffy, ESB's UK general manager told the Gas to Power Journal's UK Forum today.
"The first UK capacity auction is not going to help us," said David Stokes, Director at Timera Energy. The target is 48.6 GW, based on the existing demand curve, but the existing confirmed capacity to bid at auction is 55.8 GW. "This implies that at least 6 GW of older coal/CCGT capacity will be unsuccessful at auction," told Gas to Power Journal's UK Forum in London today.
Targets for 2030 set out by the EU to tackle climate change need to combine policy with consideration of technology to achieve success, delegates at the Gas to Power UK Forum in London heard.
“Technology is not more important than targets - you need to have attention to both,” said Ann Gardiner, managing consultant at ECOFYS.
New gas power capacity, and to some extent existing coal, will be vitally important to keeping the lights on in Britain for years to come, according to Rupert Steele, Director of Regulation at ScottishPower.
"In a cold winter, where gas supply has been difficult, coal generation acted as a sort of demand-side management for gas power capacity," he told the Gas to Power Journal conference in London.
In Britain's upcoming first-ever capacity auction, UK Power Reserve will be trying to place 1.8 GW of new-build distributed power projects – the single largest decentralised generation strategy of any independent provider. "We have multiple sites which can generate 20 MW each, and this versus a single Big Six plant at 1,000 MW provides us with the opportunity to evaluate each project on its own merits and develop customised site-based tender strategies," said Tim Emrich, chief executive at UKPR told Gas to Power Journal, suggesting decentralised generation increases security of power supply.
Better analysis of the process by which power plants receive hydrogen gas can save operators money and improve safety. “Power plants need to do all they can to cost-effectively and safely produce electricity. But many overlook the fact that their cooling hydrogen gas supply may be causing inefficiencies and making their plant more hazardous,” John Speranza, Vice President of Commercial Hydrogen Product Sales at Proton OnSite told Gas to Power Journal.
UK-based distributed power supplier Clarke Energy has won a contract from construction company Mace to deliver two Jenbacher J420 natural gas-fueled engines for the first phase of a £380 million redevelopment project in Victoria, London.
Japan's EPC contractor Fuji Electric has commissioned Siemens to deliver two SGT5-8000H gas turbines to form the core of a new 1.2 GW combined cycle power plant that is under construction on behalf of Kobe Steel (KOBELCO) in Moka City.
German fuel-cell developer Sunfire has demonstrated a first of a kind Power-to-Liquids (PtL) rig that uses its technology to synthesize fuel from electricity. “Our power-to-liquids technology extends the product range of flow-based hydrocarbons to liquid fuels such as diesel and kerosene as well as chemical products. For these products, we expect a higher willingness to pay,” Nils Aldag, CFO at Sunfire told Gas to Power Journal.
Though the UK's first ever capacity auction will be held in December, some developers warn it fails to achieve its aim of guaranteeing long-term supply security as it favours existing gas and even coal power plants, but does not sufficiently promote new-builds.
Emission reductions in the United States, promised as part of a climate deal with China, cannot be solely achieved from fossil-fuel power plants but it will take a broader effort from the entire hydrocarbon sector, according to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief administrator Gina McCarthy.
To tackle Europe's biggest strategic weaknesses – dependence on Russian gas and uncompetitive power prices – the new EU energy commissioner, Miguel Arias Cañete, has called on member states to smoothen disparities in electricity tax rates, network tariffs and related regulation.
After having invested around $150 million is its 440 MW San Gabriel and 110 MW Avion gas power plant projects, First Gen Corp said it plans to spend less on plant developments in the coming year.
Commercial operation of the Avion and San Gabriel projects, both located in Bantangas, Philippines, are scheduled for April 2015 and March 2016, respectively – but FID is still pending on the on the $500m Santa Maria project.
Siemens, in consortium with Bechtel, has been awarded an order for the turnkey supply of Panda Power Funds' 778-megawatt Stonewall Energy Project in Leesburg, Virginia. To help fund the project, Siemens Financial Services provides $75 million in equity investment.