Daily News

Price-sensitive Japanese utilities prefer thermal coal over regasified LNG as they seek to minimize fuel costs for power generation. Consequently, Japan’s LNG imports fell 14.5% during the month of April to 5.60 million tonnes while import of thermal coal for power generation increased by 6.7% during April to 8.74 million tonnes, according to preliminary trade figures from the Japanese finance ministry.

Florida-based NextEra Energy has finalized a deal with Southern Company to acquire Gulf Power, Florida City Gas and its stakes in the Oleander and Stanton gas-fired power plants in Florida in transactions valued at approximately $6.475 billion, including $1.4 billion of Gulf Power debt. Post-closing NextEra expects it will still have substantial free cash flow.

Drax Group, together with C-Capture, has announced plans to pilot the first bioenergy carbon capture and storage (BCCS) project in Europe. The demonstration project will see Drax invest £400,000 in what it says “could be the first of several pilot projects” to deliver a rapid, lower cost demonstration of BECCS that could accelerate the commercialization of carbon capture in the UK.

An international team of scientists has discovered a mechanism for the formation of the simplest polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH), naphthalene. This mechanism is now being used to create physically-based combustion models as the basis for fundamentally new, ecologically friendly combustion chambers for gas turbine engines.

Australia’s AGL Energy has turned down a A$250 million bid from Altina Energy to purchase the ageing Liddell coal-fired power plant, confirming it will shut the 2,051-MW facility as planned in 2022. Josh Frydenberg, the Australian energy minister, now urges AGL to commit to its transition plan of a staggered exit given the plant’s vital role to keep the energy system in balance in New South Wales.

Buildout of new gas pipeline capacity is progressing rapidly, in particular in the northeastern United States. By the end of 2018, if all projects come online by their scheduled service dates, more than 23 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of takeaway capacity will be online out of the Northeast by the end of 2018, according to EIA projections. This is more than three times the takeaway capacity at the end of 2014, and up from an estimated 16.7 Bcf/d at the end of 2017.

New Swiss law mandates the installation of smart electricity meters which increases the data volume of the energy infrastructure firm BKW Group more than 40,000-fold. Hence BWK approached Siemens to install a cloud-based data management system for power consumption data. The launch of the EnergyIP system will occur in early 2019.

Stromnetz Berlin, the power grid operator of the German capital city, has asked ABB to supply compact gas-insulated switchgear (GIS) for the new Wuhletal substation to enhance reliability of power supply in the eastern district of Marzahn. Upon completion, the new substation will supply electricity to more than 3,500 commercial businesses and 65,000 households.

Keen to service cross-fleet power generation equipment, GE has developed a range of capabilities to advance the performance and reliability of other original equipment manufacturers’ (OEM) gas turbine, such as Siemens’ SGT-800 and Mitsubishi’s 501F units. At a press tour to Birr, Switzerland, GE revealed it has over $200 million in cross-fleet orders backlog.

State-owned Pakistan LNG is seeking to purchase spot LNG cargoes as three new combined-cycle power plant – the Haveli, Bhikki and Balloki projects – have started operating, or are about to come online. The 1,230 MW Haveli CCGT started operating at full capacity some ten days ago, but delays in the construction of the two other plants have pushed back their in-service dates.

Chicago-based Exelon has approached the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), suggesting it would keep operating two gas-fired power plants and the LNG import facility in Everett between 2022 and 2024, if it gets permission to collect about $1 per month from all electricity customers in New England. The Mystic gas-fired power plants are some of the largest generators in New England, but they are not economical in the current market environment.

Santos CEO Kevin Gallagher has dismissed a West-East gas pipeline through Australia as the “least viable option” for tackling regional gas supply shortages, stressing domestic LNG shipments would be “more economic”. A government-led feasibility study is examining the potential of building a 1,500 km gas pipeline to supply eastern and southern markets with Western Australia’s abundant supplies.

South Korea-based Kokam, a leading battery solutions provider, has deployed the world’s largest lithium ion battery – a 30MW system with 11.4 MWh energy storage – for the Australian utility Alinta Energy. Based on Kokam's Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide battery technology, the storage solution is being used in an islanded high voltage network to improve the electricity supply to iron ore producers in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

Opinions differ widely when it comes to energy storage. Dominion Energy in its new long-term plan for Virginia and North Carolina notes that the price of battery storage showed it wasn’t ready for full consideration. Instead, the utility is looking to intensify the deployment of new gas-fired peaking power plants.

Florida-based NTE Energy is forging ahead with plans for the 1,000 MW gas-fuelled Anderson County Energy Center, to be built south of Greenville in western South Carolina. Development and permitting of the $1 billion project is expected to take between 18 and 24 month, hence the plant is expected to enter service in 2024.

News in Brief

Middletown Energy Center onstream

May 22 – Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) Americas has helped NTE Energy with the commissioning and start-up of Middletown Energy Center which has been running successfully for 24 hours. With an installed capacity of 525 MW, the plant is being powered by MHPS M501GAC gas turbine equipment in a combine-cycle alignment. First fire of the turbine was in January 2018.

Dominion invests in development of new SMR design

May 22 – Dominion Energy has agreed to provide funding to help progress the BWRX-300, a 300 MWe small modular reactor design under development by GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH). Dominion’s funding of the BWRX-300 provides “seed money” to advance work that could lead to commercializing this technology, although the utility said it currently has no plan to build a commercial nuclear power station.

Entergy to buy peaking unit near Washington

May 21 – Louisiana regulators have approved plans by Entergy to buy a 361-MW gas peaking power unit to be built in Washington Parish. The Washington Parish Entergy Center will be constructed by a Calpine subsidiary on a brownfield site. Entergy said it anticipates the for $261 million transaction will close in Q2-2021.

Ivory Coast nears CCGT finance deal

May 18 – The government of the Ivory Coast is reported to be close to completing a $530 million project finance deal with Eranove of France that will allow for construction start at a thermal power plant project. Though the concrete project has not been named yet, Siemens confirmed it is in negotiations about about combined-cycle power projects in Ivory Coast.

Delta-ee summit returns to Berlin

May 17 – Delta-ee’s European Heat Summit 2018 will return to Berlin this June. The event will begin with two concurrent roundtables, focussing on Electrification of Heat or Micro-CHP and High Efficiency Gas Heating.

Turboden ORC technology stands out in waste heat recovery

May 16 – Innovative solutions at Turboden’s Organic Racine Cycle (ORC) systems boost the energy efficiency such as the direct heat exchange system and the heat recovery through pressurized water circuit. In waterless conditions, ORC is said to be more efficient and cost-competitive than to steam technology. Large cement groups as well as power generators have recently chosen Turboden ORC technology such as Turkey’s CTP Team, the Swiss Lafarge Holcim group or Cementi Rossi in Italy.

Chile: AES to sell four gas plants to EDF

May 15 – AES Gener has announced the sale of four of its operating power plants, with a total capacity of 750MW, in Chile to Generadora Metropolitana, a joint venture between EDF Energy and Andes Mining & Energy (AME) for $300 million. The four power plants that are part of the sale are the 379MW Nueva Renca CCGT and the three peaking power plants – 132MW Los Vientos, 139MW Santa Lidia and 100MW Renca.

Florida PSC approves 1.7GW of gas power capacity

May 14 – The Florida Public Service Commission has given the green light for the development of two gas plants, totalling nearly 1.7 GW combined. The first is Seminole Electric’s 1,122 MW facility in Putnam County, due operational in December 2022; a second 573 MW project in Paso County will be realized by Seminole Electric together with Shady Hills Energy Center by December 2021.

FirstEnergy completes 138-kV line across Ohio in May

May 11 – A subsidiary of FirstEnergy is gearing up to energize a new 138-kilovolt transmission line and substation later this month to enhance service reliability for Ohio Edison and Toledo Edison customers across northern Ohio. Line construction began late last year and FirstEnergy said the new facilities are “on schedule to be energized ahead of a May 31 in-service deadline.”

Marubeni, BMCE Bank to jointly develop project in Morocco

May 10 – Japan’s Marubeni Corp has signed a memorandum of understanding with BMCE Bank for Africa to jointly develop new business opportunities in Morocco. Marubeni has designated its Casablanca office as a regional strategic base for West Africa and since achieved CFC status, a special legal status designed to support the development of the Casablanca city as a financial hub.

Capstone wins 9-year FPP service contract

May 9 – A New York-based food retailer has handed a nine-year Factory Protection Plan (FPP) service contract for a 650,000 square foot warehouse and shipping centre to Capstone Turbine Corp. Located in the Bronx, the warehouse is powered by a C1000 microturbine installed in a combined heat and power (CHP) configuration that provides baseload power and hot water for the facility 8,760 hours per year. Additionally, the microturbine can also provide about 700 kW of backup power in the event of a utility outage.

Loan for CHP in Argentina

May 8 – Albanesi Energía and its subsidiary Generación Centro have secured a $395 million loan for the construction of de la Arroyo Seco cogeneration power plant and to refinance the development of Timbúes’ project. UBS, BACS, Banco Hipotecario, Banco de Inversión y Comercio Exterior and Credit Suisse acted as lenders. In Argentina, Albanesi Group operates power plants with an installed capacity of approximately 887 MW.

California abandons hybrid power project

May 4 – After a decade of trying to realise a hybrid power plant that would bring together natural gas and solar energy, the California Energy Commission has abandoned attempts to build the Victorville-2 Hybrid Power Project (563 MW). No development partner had been found, and the city lost $50 million after failing to make timely payment to GE for the plant’s gas turbines.

TVA’s Allen CCGT ready to run

May 3 – Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA) new 1,000 MW Allen combined-cycle gas power plant in Memphis has been completed and is ready to operate. The CCGT came at a cost of $900 million and replaces a 58-year old coal-fired power unit.

Mott MacDonald supports works on FRSU in Brazil

May 2 – Golar has selected Mott MacDonald to provide environmental support during the installation of a floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) in Babitonga Bay, in the Brazilian state of Santa Catarina. Capable of distributing 15 million cubic metres of natural gas per day, the FSRU is due to become operational in early 2021.

Alinta launches bid for AGL’s Liddell power plant

May 1 – Chinese-owned Alinta Energy has offered A$250 million ($189 million) to purchase for Australia’s ageing Liddell coal-fired power plant, giving the owner AGL Energy another option apart from long-standing plans to shut the unit in 2022. Seeking a staggered coal exit, AGL had wanted to shut down Liddell but has lately been urged by Australia’s federal government to sell the power plant to ensure back-up generation for intermittent renewable power sources.

Smart meter market nears $20bn mark by 2022

April 30 – Global energy saving policies and rising efficiency of power distribution is expected to lead to a growth rate of 9.34% in the global market for smart meters. According to MarketsandMarkets, this segment will grow from an around $12.79 billion in 2017 to reach an estimate $19.98 billion by 2022.