While global climate talks in Madrid ended with lackluster results, German lawmakers agreed to raise the entry-level price for CO2 emissions from the buildings and transport sector from 10 Euros to 25 Euros starting from 2021. Thereafter, it will rise to 55 Euros by 2025, with state revenues to be used to lower the renewables levy on consumers' electricity bills.

The December clearing price for carbon emissions under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) scheme has reached a fresh record due to a tighter emission cap. RGGI, the first mandatory emission trading scheme in 10 U.S. northeastern states, has cleared its latest auction at $5.61 per short ton for the 13.1 million tons of CO2 allowances sold.

Rolls-Royce and Lab1886, an innovation lab within the Mercedes-Benz group, have joint forces to test the use of vehicle fuel cells for stationary power supply. The aim is to develop an MTU solution for sustainable off-grid generation.

Jeju Island, South Korea’s southern resort, is now home to a newly built LNG import terminal that will fuel a 240 MW combined-cycle power plant. According to the South Korean energy ministry, the first LNG cargo will arrive shortly and Jeju households and business should have access to gas-fired power from March next year.

Alternative use of gas pipelines for green hydrogen, combined with technologies like enhanced oil recovery (EOR) and carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) could turn the UK North Sea into a “global leader for the energy transition,” a survey finds, conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and Oil & Gas UK.

A new Storage and Flexibility Model (SFM), developed by Baringa for the British Energy Technology Institute (ETI) and now owned by Energy Systems Catapult, is said to give the “clearest ever picture” on balancing supply and demand. Storage technologies are vital to ensure grid operators can cope with fluctuating supply, and avoid buying energy at peak times.

Nov 1 – Germany is headed for second consecutive year of substantial reductions in carbon emissions, amid a sharp drop in coal-burn in the power sector and an overall decline in energy use in 2019. If this trend continues, the country could get much closer to its 2020 climate target than widely anticipated.

Germany’s lignite operator RWE is aspiring to become carbon neutral within 20 years as it shuts its coal power plants and focuses on wind, solar and storage. The strategic turnaround follows the takeover of the renewables activities of subsidiary Innogy and rival E.ON.

British energy companies are preparing for Brexit on October 31 amid uncertainty about future cross-border energy flows and carbon pricing. Cornwall Insight warns that with the risk of a depreciation of sterling, prices in both electricity and gas markets will go up.

Natural gas is set to become a 'high-carbon fuel' after 2025, as the perception of gas generation changes over time among EU member states. "In the short-term, we need gas to keep the lights on," but analysts stressed "Carbon Capture Storage (CCS) will need to kick off after 2025."

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News in Brief

Rolls-Royce conducts laser field tests in the US

May 18 – Rolls-Royce has successfully conducted laser field tests to demonstrate ‘deep magazine’ power capability for directed applications in connection with Lockheed Martin’s layered laser defense project. Deep magazine power can be provided by a battery-only system, but the Rolls-Royce ColdFire system includes both battery-powered and near-continuous firing modes provided by M250 gas turbine engines.

Gas vs oil ratio increases in the Bakken

May 17 – The ratio of natural gas to crude oil production has risen in North Dakota’s Bakken region since 2008, and continues to accelerate. According to the US Energy Information Administration's (EIA) Drilling Productivity Report, annual gas gross withdrawals in the Bakken increased by 9% to an annual high of 2.97 Bcf/d in 2021, even though the region’s crude oil production fell by 6%.

Middle East shifts to gas power

May 16 – The Middle East, a region vulnerable to climate change, is undergoing a major shift from petroleum-based power plants towards gas-fired generation and renewable power sources. Capacity additions of over 185.46 GW are the pipeline, according to ResearchandMarkets, as the regions electricity demand for industry and residential cooling is set to grow. In fact, cooling already accounts for 70% of residential power demand.

Carbon utilisation in strong demand

May 13 – The market for carbon utilisation is forecast to grow rapidly from the 2030s onwards to surpass $285 billion by 2042, driven by rising climate commitments and a favourable regulatory framework. In its latest report IDTechEx also highlights the role of technology advances such as thermodynamics which help sequester CO2 permanently.

MTU gensets approved for biofuels

May 12 – Rolls-Royce has gained approval to use synthetic fuels in its MTU Series 4000 and Series 1600 diesel engines for power generation application. Field testing confirmed both engines can use a range of sustainable fuels including biomass-to-liquid, hydrotreated vegetable oil and power-to-liquid fuels such as e-diesel.

E.ON tells Germans how to save gas

May 11 – A large-scale switch to heat pumps, solar power and better demand-side management could help save Germany nearly 100 TWh of natural gas per year, E.ON has said, calling on households to contribute to Europe’s efforts to reduce reliance on Russian gas imports. “If 10% of the homes in Germany are equipped with solar PV installations, 20% of gas boilers are replaced by heat pumps, and the average temperature in all households is reduced by one degree Celsius on average, this would lead to natural gas savings of 103 TWh per year," E.ON Energy CEO Filip Thon said, noting this volume would equate to about 30% of Germany’s current gas imports from Russia.

Exelon Q1 earnings lower following Constellation cave-out

May 10 – Exelon has reported lower first quarter earnings and a higher operating revenue, having completed the separation of Constellation Energy – Excelon’s former power gen business. Focussing now solely on transmission and distribution, Exelon’s net income from continuing operations for the first quarter of 2022 decreased to $0.49 per share from $0.53 a share in pre-year period. In contrast, adjusted operating earnings notched up to $0.64 per share, primarily due to due to higher electric distribution earnings at ComEd from higher rate base and higher allowed electric distribution. Rate increases at Excelon’s group companies PECO, BGE, and PHI were partially offset by higher depreciation expenses at BGE and PHI.

South Africa to add 2.6 GW of new capacity

May 9 – South Africa’s Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, has just announced the REIPPPP BW6 Request for Proposals (RFP).  The bid round will add 2,600 MWs of new capacity to the energy mix. The ministry seeks to procure 11,813 MW of electricity from various power sources including renewable energy, storage, gas and coal.

GE Gas Power authorized as CVE Numbering Authority

May 6 – GE Gas Power’s increased focus on cybersecurity has been recognized by the Common Vulnerability and Exposures Programm as a ‘CVE Numbering Authority (CNA).  As such, GE Gas Power can now assign CVE identification numbers to newly discovered vulnerabilities potentially related to its products and allow GE Gas Power to directly publish new CVE Records and streamline the reporting process.

Heliogen gets nearly $90m in funding

May 5 – Heliogen has moved from design into testing and implementation of its supercritical CO2 power gen system that will be deployed for Woodside in California. The system consists of a 5 MWe sCO2 power block integrated with high temperature solid media thermal energy storage. The demonstration project is being funded with up to $50 million from Woodside, along with $39 million from the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE).

Capstone to install microturbine in the Caribbean

May 4 – E-Finity Distributed Generation, Capstone's distributor for the Mid-Atlantic, Southeastern United States and the Caribbean, has secured an order for two C1000S microturbines for a government water authority in the Caribbean. The 2 MW system will provide emergency standby power to several pumping stations throughout the remote island community and is scheduled to be commissioned towards the end of 2022.

Forecasting solar and energy storage in CAISO

May 3 – Marubeni has chosen Veritone’s AI-based distributed energy resource management solution (iDERMS) to provide price, demand and generation forecasts at their pilot project in the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) SP-15 region. In addition to day-ahead and real-time generation figures, Veritone will also forecast production and demand for the overall CAISO region.

Forecasting solar and energy storage in CAISO

May 2 – Marubeni has chosen Veritone’s AI-based distributed energy resource management solution (iDERMS) to provide price, demand and generation forecasts at their pilot project in the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) SP-15 region. In addition to day-ahead and real-time generation figures, Veritone will also forecast production and demand for the overall CAISO region.

Steam turbines in high demand

April 29 – The market for steam turbines for power generation will grow around 6.5% through to 2027, driven by the build-out of combined-cycle gas power plants – notably in Asia and the United States, ResearchAndMarkets finds. Coal power projects in China, India and Bangladesh also require significant numbers of steam turbines. “Many of the countries in Asia-Pacific cannot provide 24-hour electricity to its citizens, and the cheapest way to achieve the objective is to build thermal [coal power] plants and use steam turbines,” analysts commented.

LNG-fuelled power for Antigua

April 28 – Antigua Power Company Limited (APCL) has contracted Wärtsilä to supply and install a 46 MW dual-fuel power plant on the Caribbean island. The plant will operate primarily on regasified LNG, imported through a small-scale import terminal developed by U.S.-based Eagle LNG in partnership with APCL.

ION launches risk analyser

April 27 – ION Commodities has built a cloud-based solution – FEA Analyzer – to help energy and commodity firms transition to new renewable energy markets while simultaneously optimizing trading strategies and supply chains. The tool combines pre-trade analytics with risk management and asset optimization, all powered by predictive analytics and stochastic models. 

Capstone to service 600kV microturbine

April 26 – Capstone has landed a rental contract for a 600 kilowatt (kW) microturbine-based system with one of the largest energy infrastructure companies in North America. Due for commissioning in mid-May 2022, the plant will supply power to remote mid-stream operations along the customer's gas pipeline in Colorado.