Daily News

Apex Power Group, formed in 2007 by ex-Panoche Energy executives, is getting ready to start up its 300 MW Pio Pico gas power plant in California. ”The project will go commercial next Tuesday [Aug. 30],” managing partner Michael King said.

Demand for transmission system voltage support is increasing amid greater renewable penetration and retirement of fossil and nuclear power plants. Synchronous compensators such as STATCOM provide reactive power; yet its operational characteristics differ from a Static VAR Compensator.
GE said STATCOM undervoltage performance would be “superior”, while SVCs “masters overvoltages.”

After nine years of planning and months of quarrels with environmentalists, Tenaska this week broke ground on its 925 MW Westmoreland combined-cycle gas power station. Operational start-up is scheduled for late 2018 when the CCGT is meant to help set a new cost of electricity standard for the PJM region.

Flexibility of power systems can be enhanced by thermostat-based demand response, aggregators and small energy storage. However, high transaction costs - relative to the size of resource - prevent these emerging small resources from participating directly in electricity markets, the Oxford Institute of Energy Studies (OIES) finds. Remunerating different kinds of flexibility – MW, MW/min and emission performance – would facilitate a more balanced competition.

State-run GAIL is partnering with California-based Bloom Energy in the development of gas-based fuel cell power production and its deployment across India. Bloom’s fuel cells are understood to utilize on scandia-ceria stabilised zirconia – research is ongoing to optimise the technology.

Shale gas production in the United States is expected to reach 79 Bcf/d in 2040, while tight oil output could exceed 7 million b/d, according to EIA projections – provided that technological progress helps bring down drilling costs and oil prices stabilise.

In the aftermath of a month-long leak at SoCalGas’ storage, California is taking urgent measures to cap the gas use in the power sector. Looking ahead to the autumn and winter season, the State Energy Commission, CPUC and the California ISO evaluate the option of importing LNG.

An option to purchase 300 acres of land in Berry Hill Industrial Park allows Southern Power to invest around $250 million in realising a combined-cycle power plant in Pittsylvania County, Virginia. The site has easy access to the Williams Transco intercontinental gas pipeline.

Following intensive R&D, Siemens exhibits high voltage interrupters and gas-insulated switchgear using vacuum technology and so-called clean-air technology up to a voltage of 145 kV for the first time ever at this year's Cigré in Paris. The launch of the new outdoor circuit-breaker 3AV1 and 8VN1 Blue GIS is scheduled in 2018.

South Korea’s sole gas importer Kogas is taking steps to source LNG at cheaper prices through its proprietary gas production. "We need to shift away from a conventional supply method of bringing LNG under high-priced long-term contracts from overseas,” CEO Lee Seung-hoon stressed.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016 09:00 / Markets

China’s oil major turns towards gas

CNPC has decided to step up investment in gas upstream as it seeks to nearly double its gas output to 180 Bcm/y by 2020. Hou Qijun, head of CNPC’s planning department, announced the gas proportion of CNPC's budget will continue to rise; he stressed the cleaner-burning fuel is "our top priority with high potential for profit growth."

Affordable storage is seen as the missing link between intermittent renewable power and reliable energy supply. McKinsey research anticipates costs could fall to $200 per kWh in 2020 – half of today’s price, which would help transform the energy mix of many nations. By 2025, costs of power storage are expected to fall to $160 kWh or less, making it affordable to use for utilities and grid operators.

The government of Gibraltar and Royal Dutch Shell have signed an agreement for the construction of a small FSRU that will receive LNG delivered by Shell for use in an adjacent gas-fired power plant, which is already being built.

Ivory Coast, Ghana and South Africa are tipped to become front-runners in setting up integrated LNG-to-power projects. Developers can arrange attractive import terms as a glut of new gas supply is entering global markets while demand from key Asian buyers remains subdued. 

India’s state-run North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (Neepco) has been forced to delay and downscale its combined-cycle gas power project at Monarchak after ONGC more than halved gas supply.  This meant that the 500 MW project could only be realized based on a 65.42 MW gas turbine and 36.25 MW steam turbine – ready to start as and when there'll be fuel.

News in Brief

Malfunction of St Rita CCGT

Aug 26 – First Gen of the Philippines has confirmed that is 1,000 MW Santa Rita combined-cycle power plant has been put on maintenance after a main generator of one of the units malfunctioned. “A fault occurred at the main generator transformer of Unit 20,” the Lopez-led company stated.

Construction starts on Sunbury Pipeline

Aug 26 – UGI Energy Services has started construction on the Sunbury Pipeline, with works expected to take about 11 month to complete. The 35-mile pipeline will serve the 1,124 MW Panda Hummel Station and support the coal-to-gas conversion of the 400 MW Sunbury power plant, retired in 2014. Pennsylvania produced a record 4.6 Tcf in natural gas last year; and new pipeline capacity is needed to leverage that record production.

SocCal Edison builds 20 MW storage near LA

Aug 25 – Southern California Edison has selected a subsidiary of AltaGas to build a 20 MW storage project with a discharge capacity of 80 MWh east of Los Angeles. AltaGas Pomona Energy Storage will build, own and operate the project, which is estimated to cost up to $45 million and is meant to be operational by December. State regulators urge utilities to procure storage to avoid power outages.

Malta gas storage tanker still in Singapore

Aug 25 – More than 20 days after Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat attended the ‘Sail-away Ceremony’, the gas storage ship destined to support power stations in Malta is still docked in Singapore. No fixed date has been set for its departure – so it is unclear whether will reach Malta as planned in mid-September.

Utah PUC approves Dominion, Questar merger

Aug 24 – The Public Service Commission of Utah has approved the merger of Dominion Resources and Questar Corp, subject to an agreed settlement stipulation. The merger is now pending on the final regulatory green light from Wyoming PUC. If effectuated, the deal would create an integrated utility serving about 2.5 million electric customers and 2.3 million gas customers in seven US states.

GE grid solutions at Cigré2016

Aug 24 – GE’s technical experts present industry’s first SF6-free 145 kV gas-insulated substation, 420 kV gas-insulated line and 245 kV current transformer at the Cigré' trade-show in Paris this week. Experts discuss how digital substations reduce material and maintenance costs, simplify substation design and optimise asset performance.

CB&I selected as contractor for Arden CCGT

Aug 23 – Charlotte-based Duke Energy has chosen Chicago Bridge and Iron to construct its 560 MW combined-cycle power project located in Arden, North Carolina. CB&I will be responsible for hiring sub-contracts through the duration this project.

Shift in trade lowers US industrial energy intensity

Aug 23 – Rising production and exports of goods in less energy-intensive industries are forecast to help reduce industrial energy intensity in the United States. In EIA's Annual Energy Outlook 2016 (AEO2016), industrial energy intensity is expected to decline by 15% from 2015 to 2040

EDF to profit from Hinkley-C even at 25% costs overrun

Aug 22 – EDF would generate a 7.2% rate of return of its proposed £12 billion investment in Hinkley Point C even if project would come in 25% over budget and was completed four years late (by 2029), Barclays analysts said. This is lower than EDF’s initially envisaged 9% rate of return, Barclay’s Stephen Hunt pointed out, but the bank’s assessment raised fresh concerns over DECC’s initial plans to guarantee the French utility a 35-years power offtake contract with subsidised prices at more than twice the current UK wholesale rate.

Dewa selects consultancy for Anweer H phase-4

Aug 22 – Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) has awarded a consultancy contract  to help develop the fourth phase of the Aweer H power station. Built at a cost of Dh22.2 million ($6.04 million), phase-4 will add three gas turbines with a combined capacity of 700 MW by early 2020. Once expanded, Aweer H’s current 1,974 MW of generating capacity will rise to 2,674 MW.

Black & Veatch to undertake EPC for Tenaska project

Aug 19 – Black & Veatch has been selected to provide EPC services for the 925 MW Tenaska Westmoreland Generating Station. Construction works for the CCGT began in 2016 with commercial operation scheduled in 2018. Located near Pittsburgh, the plant will run on gas from the Marcellus and Utica Shale and operate in the PJM market zone.

Enerfab to help Gemma Power on Middleton CCGT

Aug 19 – Enerfab, a Cincinnati-based manufacturing and construction contractor, has won two contracts to serve Gemma Power Systems in its work at the Middletown Energy Center in Ohio. The 475 MW combined-cycle gas power plant is due operational in 2018.

IAGT workshop on hydrogen

Aug 18 – Hydrogen-based gas systems can help to solve many environmental objectives at once, with gas turbine facilities using a flexible combination of fuels in a range of small- and medium-sized applications for thermal and electrical energy. IAGT will hold a workshop on the topic on October 17-18, in Montreal, Canada.

Hydropower covers 70% of Brazil's power demand

Aug 18 – Brazil currently has 158 hydroelectric plants in operation, which total more than 89 GW, with 9 additional plants under construction and another 26 authorized. A three-year drought that was exacerbated by the strong 2015–16 El Niño event, so Brazil's hydroelectric output fell during this period, while generation from gas and liquid fuels increased. Brazil's drought situation improved in early 2016 with the arrival of the rainy season.

GE takes over Doosan E&C

Aug 17 – GE Power has completed a $250 deal to acquire the HRSG business of Doosan Engineering & Construction. The strategic move is meant to boost revenues from energy assets acquired last year from France's Alstom, a senior GE executive said.

Flexible conduit fitting launched

Aug 17 – Flexicon has launched a conduit fitting for electrical and data installations in the power generation industry that demand 24/7 continuous operation with no disruption to services. The patented fitting provides tensile strength of up to 70Kg and its anti-vibration and shock protection performance is tested to EN 613373 Cat 2.

Microturbine use helps curb gas flaring

Aug 16 – Capstone Turbine has been commissioned to install two microturbine for an oil and gas platform off the coast of California, due operational in December 2016.The associated gas-fuelled C1000S and C600S microturbines will run in a CHP application and operate using the onsite gas stream to relieve the flaring requirement for the platform.