Daily News

As African governments seek to boost electrification levels, a GE whitepaper evaluates the role of smart technology to transform grids and the way energy is generated, distributed, traded, managed and stored. Today’s key challenges in Sub-Saharan Africa are inadequate power generation and more significantly, low levels of electrification caused by faulty, aged or wrong setup of transmission and distribution infrastructure.

Dominion Energy is seeking to divest the 1,240-MW Fairless Power Station in Pennsylvania and the 450-MW Manchester Street Power Station in Providence, Rhode Island. JPMorgan Chase is assisting Dominion to arrange the sale, with the proceeds set to be used to pay down debt.

The spread in natural gas prices between the Permian Basin, as priced at the Waha Hub in western Texas, and the U.S. national benchmark Henry Hub in Louisiana has grown considerably. Prices at Waha are now nearly $1/MMBt lower than Henry hub due to growing production and pipeline constraints that limited the onward transport of the rising gas supply from the Permian Basin.

Uniper CEO Klaus Schäfer has put forward ideas for a gradual phase-out of coal-fired power plants in Germany in reaction to the launch of a coal-exit commission by the German government. The idea is to preliminarily shut down lignite-fired plants and only allow units to be reactivated in “extreme situations”, before they would be taken offline permanently.

Baker Hughes, a GE company, has signed an agreement to sell its Natural Gas Solutions (NGS) business to focus exclusively on energy. The NGS business has been sold to two separate entities, First Reserve and Pietro Fiorentini, for a combined value of $375 million.

Financial investment decisions (FIDs) in the electricity sector have become less market-driven and more dependent on policy support mechanisms, such as capacity markets. According to the IEA’s 2018 World Energy Investment report, over 95% of global energy investment is made by companies whose revenues are fully regulated or affected by mechanisms to manage the risk associated with variable prices on competitive wholesale markets.

Nigeria’s federal government has stepped up efforts to increase the number of decentralized power plants across the country in an effort to reign in notorious power shortages. Though installed generating capacity is about 10,000 MW, there is only 5,000 MW readily available for use while the others are idle due to gas shortages or technical issues.

A consortium comprising EPC contractor TSK and Rolls-Royce has been contracted by Prime Energía to build five power plants across Chile based on 265 MTU Onsite Energy 16V 4000 gensets. With a combined capacity of 475 MW, the five plants will provide backup capacity to Chile’s national power grid.

Tabling plans for a 700-MW peaking plant at Marulan, EnergyAustralia is adamant it will only realize the proposed simple-cycle gas power plant if the ageing coal-fired Liddell power plant will get retired. The Marulan OCGT has development approval until 2019, so time is running out to get the plant off the ground.

Full-scale development of Russia’s enormous Kharasaveyskoye gas and condensate field will start in 2019, Gazprom chairman Alexey Miller disclosed. Situated onshore in the Yamal Peninsula and partly in the Kara Sea, the field holds reserves of 2 trillion cubic meters (Tcm). Tapping the Cenomanian-Aptian deposits will be a priority, Miller said, with production start slated in 2023 at a design capacity of 32 Bcm/y.

More than 45,000 businesses across Europe are at risk of being fined up to €1 million ($1.1m) if they fail to comply with the new EU Energy Efficiency Directive, the registrar DNV GL warned. The clock is ticking – deadline for compliance is 5 December 2019 in most countries.

TransCanada, a major North American pipeline operator, has placed into service the Topolobampo Pipeline at a cost of $1.2 billion. Spanning over a distance of 348 miles (560km), the pipeline will provide export capacity of 670 million cubic feet of natural gas per day (MMcbf/d) from Texas to the Mexican states of Chihuahua and Sinaloa. Mexico is importing U.S. shale gas to cover rising demand from its power sector.

Royal Dutch Shell is investing in hydrogen and has singled out the fuel in its Future Energy Scenarios as one of the world’s energy pathways towards reaching the emission reduction targets of the Paris agreement. Hydrogen, produced by electrolyzing water, can be stored in the gas network for later use as a fuel in the transport and power sectors.

Expanding their partnership, GE and Microsoft have announced plans to combine operational and IoT technology by integrating GE’s Predix solutions with Microsoft Azure’s cloud capabilities. The partners will also co-sell and go-to-market together, offering end-customers Industrial IoT solutions across verticals.

Oman Power and Water Procurement Company (OPWP) is taking steps to reduce its complete dependence on natural gas for power generation. By 2024, natural gas is meant to provide four fifths of the country’s electricity needs while the remainder will come from renewables and Oman’s first coal-fired independent power project (IPP).

News in Brief

ABB spends $30m on transformer factory in Sweden

July 20 – ABB is investing more than $30 million in a new manufacturing unit, under construction in Ludvika, Sweden. The new unit will increase production, expanding the capacity and the range of its high-voltage dry bushings offering.

Wärtsilä’s order intake up 14%

July 19 – The Finish equipment manufacturer Wärtsilä has seen its order increase 15% to €1,553 million in the second quarter, while net sales fell 4% to €1,246 million. Looking at the full year 2018, Wärtsilä said its Services and Solutions business will “improve somewhat from the previous year.” Good demand prospects are on the cards for Energy Solutions, as the global shift towards renewables and rising electricity demand in the emerging markets support the need for distributed power capacity.

NRG abandons Dunkirk coal-to-gas conversion project

July 18 – Shying away from having to pay $114 million in re-interconnection costs, NRG Energy has shelved plans to repower and convert its mothballed Dunkirk power plant in western New York from coal to natural gas. The company said in a statement that it has withdrawn its request to have New York ISO interconnect the Chautauqua County generating facility with the power grid.

Akwa Ibom, BlackRhino sign $1.6bn power deal

July 17 – BlackRhino, operator of the Qua Iboe Power Plant (QIPP), has agreed with the Akwa Ibom State Government to build a power plant and electricity transmission lines in the state. QIPP’s management  committed an investment of $1.1 billion for the facility, with an additional $500 million for gas.

Rostec develops mobile LNG-fired power plants

July 16 – Russia’s state-owned holding Rostec has developed a mobile power plant on the basis of gas reciprocating units of Russian make. Running on LNG, the power plant can provide up to 1.4 MW of electricity and is employed to power remote settlement and oil upstream operations. 

First grid-scale LAES launched

July 13 – Highview Power has just launched the first grid-scale liquid air energy-storage (LAES) plant. Used for grid balancing, the 5-MW/15-MWh system, situated near Manchester, will be able to store and deliver enough electricity to power about 5,000 homes for three hours.

Henry Hub to test $2.90 mark

July 12 – Rising gas-burn in the U.S. power sector of 4.7 Bcf/d week-on-week is more than offsetting holiday-related reductions in industrial gas use, according to Energy Aspects figures. Natural gas prices at Henry Hub are expected to once more test the high $2.90s/MMBtu.

Gemma carries out EPC for 1.6GW project in Virginia

July 11 – Gemma Power Systems and Chickahominy Power have entered into an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services contract to construct the Chickahominy Power Station, a 1,600 MW gas-fired power plant, in Charles City County, Virginia. Developed by Balico, the project is anticipated to get underway in the first quarter of 2019 and be completed in the spring of 2022.

GE signs new Waukesha distributor in Nigeria

July 10 – GE’s Distributed Power business has signed an agreement with HOERBIGER Service Middle East FZE to be an authorized distributor for GE’s Waukesha gas engine products in Nigeria. With this deal, GE seeks to expand its Waukesha sales and services network near the point of use, given that Waukesha engines are suited for a variety of on-site mechanical drive, gas compression and power generation applications.

 

InnoEnergy and Swedish partners launch Power2U

July 9 – Europe’s sustainable energy engine, InnoEnergy, has joined forces with five Swedish energy firms to launch Power2U, its new venture to design and operate local energy systems that will integrate solar cells, EV chargers and batteries. The partners – Öresundskraft, Jämtkraft, Tekniska Verken, Umeå Energi and Jönköping Energi – and InnoEnergy will jointly invest 60 million Swedish Kroner ($6.69m).

Nigeria: Afam VI ready to supply 624MW

‎June 29 – The Afam IV gas power plant in Nigeria’s Rivers State is getting ready to supply 624 MW worth of electricity to the national power grid, barring any regulatory restriction. The start-up will help plug part of the gap in supply that opened following the latest outage of several thermal power stations.

ADB agrees $500m for Bangladeshi CCGT

‎June 28 – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has agreed to provide a $500m loan for an 800MW combined-cycle gas power plant project in Khulna, Bangladesh. The loan will cover costs to build the CCGT as well as a 230kV switchyard and 29km of transmission lines to feed electricity from the plant into the national power grid.

KBR to consult on Oman LNG’s power plant project

‎June 27 – Houston-based KBR has won a project management consultancy services contract from Oman LNG for a new gas engine power plant. The 120 MW plant is meant to reduce fuel gas consumption and emissions while maintaining liquefaction processes at Oman LNG's existing export facility in Sur.

ABB launches molded case circuit breaker

‎June 26 – Zurich-based ABB has added a molded case circuit breaker (MCCB) for higher-voltage solar power plants to its Tmax PV range. The breaker is designed to protect combiners, switchgear and inverters up to 1500V direct current.

Heat wave to propel up CCGT dispatch

June 25 – Temperatures in England and Wales might hit 32 degrees Celsius next week, according to the UK Met Office, while a wind lull will almost erode the contribution of wind power and require flexible combined-cycle gas power stations to bridge the gap. According to Bloomberg Intelligence, “people are underestimating how many gas stations are needed for a windless week.”

Siemens builds microgrid in Finland

‎June 22 –  Lempäälän Energia has selected Siemens to implement a self-sufficient smart grid system in the industrial area of Marjamäki, Finland. The medium-voltage microgrid will be equipped with a corresponding grid automation system and an electrical storage system.

Toshiba R&D into battery anodes

June 21 - Toshiba and Brazil’s CBMM are jointly developing anode material for lithium-ion batteries using Niobium Titanium Oxide (NTO). The aim is to develop next-generation lithium-ion battery material, characterized by high-energy density and ultra-rapid recharging.