Shutdowns are lifted in China and South Korea, allowing battery supply chains to ramp back up while rivals in Europe and North America are in lockdown. Electric vehicle sales stayed strong through February, according to Wood Mackenzie, and China’s labour force is returning, expected to be at 70% in March and over 90% in April.
Halts in production and collapsing sales have hit Germany’s carmakers at a crucial time of transitioning to electric vehicles. Sales of e-cars are projected to fall by at least 20% this year, impacting electricity demand, while bailouts for manufacturers and suppliers could cost billions of Euros.
French industrial company Eranove is fast-tracking the development of the 390 MW Atinkou combined-cycle power plant in Ivory Coast, having just taken financial close after receiving €303 million in debt financing. Total cost of the CCGT is €404 million, developers disclosed.
Mitsubishi Hitachi Power System (MHPS) has been striving to combine is solid oxide fuel cell, called MEGAMIE, with a micro gas turbine to stabilize and increase power output. “The toughest challenge,” researcher Yoshinori Kobayashi recalled, "was to figure out how to build a robust power unit with ceramics which are essential for such fuel cells to function.”
Competitive Power Ventures’ (CPV) new gas-fired Fairview Energy Center has been adapted to use ethane in its combustion mix. Using GE’s DLN2.6+ AFS combustion system, the Fairview combined-cycle gas power plant successfully completed testing with 25% ethane mix and is now ready for full commercial operation.
General Electric is working towards adding 3 Gigawatt of power generation capacity to the grid in Iraq before peak summer demand sets in. Overhauling Iraq’s war-turn infrastructure, GE repairs and brings back existing units and develops phase-3 of the 1.5 GW Besmaya combined-cycle gas power plant.
Tokyo-based Yokogawa Electric will provide a control system and field instruments for the Zerger open-cycle gas power plant in Turkmenistan. The order was awarded by Renaissance Heavy Industries, the Turkish EPC co-contractor that is building the 400 MW gas peaking plant on behalf of Turkmenenergo. Start-up is due by September this year.
Chinese-added power generation capacities in sub-Saharan Africa will total 9 GW over the decade through to 2024, according to International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates. This does not include two large dams under construction – the 2,160 MW Cacula dam in Angola and the 3,048 MW Mambila dam in Nigeria, which are unlikely to be completed by then.
The Japanese utility Osaka Gas, part of Daigas Group, is fast-tracking development of the Himuka LNG import terminal and integrated gas power plant on Kyushu Island. The project, set to replace a coal power unit of Ashai Kasei chemicals company, is on schedule for start-up in 2022.
Industry lockdowns, caused by the coronavirus, have slashed electricity demand in most countries by around 15%. In Spain and California, where grid operators have to balance a substantially higher share of variable renewables, the lockdown “fast forwarded these power systems 10 years into the future,” the International Energy Agency (IAE) commented.
Nearly all of Hawaii’s utility-scale energy storage is installed adjacent to onshore wind turbines or solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. Pairing battery storage with wind and solar helps mitigate some operational challenges of non-dispatchable renewables, as Hawaii aspires to boost its green energy share from 30% at present to 100% by 2045.
Though short-term profits of power and water utilities are hit by the lockdowns of energy-intensive industries to contain the coronavirus pandemic, investors are seeing energy companies as “safe havens” as a recession looms large and stock markets plunge. Amid falling bond yields, investors turn to steady payouts from regulated utilities.