Daily News

Turning his back on former President Obama’s clean energy aspirations, the new FERC chairman Neil Chatterjee calls for coal to be “properly compensated” for baseload power and “recognized as an essential part of the fuel mix.” Asserting his commitment to the “resilience and reliability” of the US electric system, he said in a podcast released by FERC this week that ensuring security of supply would merit keeping even uneconomic coal and nuclear power plants operational. “These are essential to national security,” he claimed.

Published in Regulation & Policy

Falling costs for renewables and energy storage will squeeze out gas-fired generation in South Australia as early as 2025, Wood Mackenzie and GTM Research find. By then, wind, solar and battery costs are seen decline by 15%, 25% and 50% respectively – hence they offer a “lower cost alternative” to CCGTs, which cover the bulk of South Australia’s base load power today.

Published in Markets

Future use of hybrid energy will lead to a consistent baseload, without the need for top-up via fossil fuels, anticipates Francesco Falco, chief commercial officer at GE Power Conversion.
"When using Silicon Carbide (SiC), – a diamond-like substance – instead of traditional silicon chips in a solar inverter, its high power density feature can reduce power losses by up to 50 percent," he explains.

Advancing much-needed power projects, the Philippines’ Department of Energy (DOE) has cleared 23 plant proposals for the conduct of a grid impact study (GIS) – a precondition before developers can proceed with the actual construction. If built, these projects will have a combined capacity of just over 2,750 MW.

Published in Regulation & Policy

California Independent System Operator (CAISO), the entity responsible for maintaining the balance between supply and demand for electricity throughout most of the state, had to resort to more power imports this summer as flexible gas generators could not fully balance the system amid fuel constraints.

Published in Markets

Keen to curb corporate debts, Calpine Corp has agreed to sell its 375 MW Mankato combined-cycle gas power plant to Southern Power for $395.5 million plus working capital. The CCGT, located in Minnesota, provides electricity to Northern States Power under a 20-year tolling agreement through July 2026.

Published in Projects & Finance

Jul 5 – Coal will keep covering most of baseload power supply in the Philippines, energy secretary Alfonso Cusi said in his first media briefing since President Rodrigo Duterte took office. "As a developing country we cannot afford not to have coal," Cusi said but was quick to add that the country would seek to boost the use of cleaner-burning fuels and renewables.

Published in Brief news

The corner may well have been turned for the European power sector, as many operators of fossil plants now focus on balancing markets. Grid services and flexible power supply is seen to remain essential in the medium- to long-term, industry experts at Power-Gen Europe agree, while gas use for baseload power will be very limited, indeed, notably in Europe as well as in parts of the U.S.

Published in Markets

Falling gas prices and UK coal power stations, such as Eggborough and Ferrybridge, exiting the market has sparked a sharp rise in electricity generated from CCGTs in the first quarter of 2016. According to Enappsys analysis, gas-fired plants generated 32% more power than in the previous quarter while the contribution of coal generation fell by 18%.

Published in Markets

Earnings of German utilities stay squeezed as power prices continue to drop for baseload and peak power contracts, both on a forward and on a settled basis. Societe Generale analysis anticipates prices are unlikely to recover in the next several quarters.

Published in Markets
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News in Brief

SCANA pulls the plug on two nukes

Aug 18 – Escalating costs, falling electricity demand, construction delays, and the bankruptcy of Westinghouse, have prompted South Carolina Electric & Gas Company, part of SCANA Corp, to pull the plug on two nuclear reactors at the V.C. Summer nuclear power plant. The project was launched back in 2009, and the reactors were scheduled to come online in 2019 and 2020.

HoA signed for 600MW plant in Indonesia

Aug 17 – Indonesia’s power producer ENMP, together with tenants of the Bantaeng Industrial Park has signed a Heads of Agreement (HoA) in Jakarta for the development of a 600MW combined-cycle power plant. The CCGT will be fuelled by LNG that will be sourced through Philippines-based AG&P, a specialist for bringing LNG to markets that are currently off-grid.

EIA’s expands drilling report

Aug 16 - To complete coverage of U.S. crude oil and natural gas production, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) is expanding the Drilling Productivity Report (DPR) to cover the Anadarko region. This prolific area covers most of the production from the Anadarko Basin in 24 counties in Oklahoma and five counties in Texas.

US to stay ‘net exporter’ past 2018

Aug 15 – The United States’ status as a net exporter is expected to continue for the rest of this year and past 2018 because of growing U.S. natural gas exports to Mexico, declining pipeline imports from Canada, and increasing LNG exports the US Energy Administration (EIA) forecasts.

GE books $100m deal for hydro pumped storage in Israel

Aug 14 – GE Renewable Energy has booked a turnkey contract with Star Pumped Storage Ltd for the 344 MW Kokhav Hayarden hydro pumped storage station, the second to be installed in Israel. GE Renewable Energy is responsible for the design, manufacture, supply and installation of all electro-mechanical and hydro-mechanical equipment as well as complete balance of plant for the two 172 MW pumped-storage units. The project will be executed by a consortium led by Chinese EPC SinoHydro.

Ansaldo to service Thai power plant

Aug 4 – Italy’s Ansalso Energia has won a service agreement for the Glow Energy Phase-5 gas power plant, some 200km southeast of the Thai capital Bangkok. The 328 MW plant produces electricity and also up to 160 tonnes/hour of process steam that gets used by local industries.

DTE Energy files plan to build 1.1 GW plant at Belle River

Aug 3 – Detroit-based utility DTE Energy has filed plans with the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) to build a 1,100-MW gas-fired power plant northeast of Detroit, near its existing Belle River power station. The August 1 certificate of necessity filed with the MPSC asks for construction of the new $1 billion gas power project to begin in 2019 with a view to starting commercial operation in early 2022.

Coiled turbine market at 7% CAGR

Aug 2 – The coiled turbine market, by service, is seen expanding at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6-7% to reach an estimated $4.4 billion in 2020. North America is the largest market for coiled turbine (CT), both by value and by active fleet count.  The United States in 2013 held the major share of the active fleet count of more than 59%, spurred by the surge of shale gas drilling activities, with analyst seeing further growth potential for ultra-deep CT services.

Aliso Canyon cleared to resume operations

Aug 1 – Aliso Canyon, California’s largest underground natural gas storage facility, has been cleared by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources to increase injections above earlier imposed limits. The facility has been undergoing extensive testing since a leak was detected in October 2015 and stopped in February 2016

Need for fast-ramp, fast-cycle dispatch propels up OPEX

July 31 – Rising penetration of renewable electricity sources in California is forcing gas-fired power generators in the state to cycle more often, which incurs higher operating costs. Analysis of hourly data from the California Independent System Operator (CASIO) shows that intermittent electricity supply from wind and solar caused 21% of the cycling events for the system's 120 fossil-fuelled generators in 2013, up 7.1% from two years earlier. The study was compiled by Renewable Impacts.

ABB delivers power solution for Shanghai Stock Exchange

July 21 – Swiss-based ABB has signed a contract to provide more than 1,500 units of MNS low-voltage switchgear for the Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE) before the end of the year. Dubbed the Jinqiao Technology Center project the MNS switchgear deployment is meant to support the safe, efficient and reliable operation of the stock exchanges’ data center. SSE is ranked #4 in the Shanghai market, and is ranked #26 in China.

TNB extends acquisition period for 51% stake in SPG

July 20 – Malaysia’s state utility Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) has granted SIPP Energy an further 30 days to fulfil conditions set out in the May 3 acquisition agreement when TNB bought a 51% stake in SIPP Energy’s Johor-based unit SPG for RM51. Set up as a special purpose vehicle in august 2016, SPG was given regulatory approval last September to build a 2x720MW combined-cycle gas power plant in Pasir Gudang, Johor. The CCGT is scheduled to start full commercial operation at the start of July 2020.

TVA’s new plant produces 1 GW in first three months

July 19 – Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA) new combined cycle gas power plant in Muhlenberg County has produced over 1,025 MW of electricity in its first three months of operation. The cost of the project is estimated at about $850 million, but TVA senior vice president Bob Deacy underlined the new CCGT will give the operator the option of fuel switching to optimise its coal- and gas-burn which will ultimately save money. 

Toshiba opens hydrogen application centre in Tokyo

July 18 – Toshiba has opened a new hydrogen application centre at its Fuchu complex in western Tokyo. Research at the centre focuses the company’s new H2Onesolution for hydrogen supply system business for fuel-cell vehicles, or fuel-cell forklifts within buildings.  According to project manager Hiroyuki Ota, “This center showcases totally CO2-free operation, from hydrogen production through to application.”

Opening of Rhode Island plant delayed unit 2020

July 17 – Chicago-based Invenergy has delayed the start-up of its proposed natural gas-fired power plant in Rhode Island until “at least 2020,” citing “delays in permitting. The Chicago-based company had previously agreed to start selling power to the regional grid in 2019.

China’s energy efficiency sector tops $13bn in revenue

June 14 – The International Energy Agency (IEA) is supporting association member states in implementing energy efficiency measures. In China, government policy created a whole new sector for low-energy solutions, retrofits and services. This niche sector got started less than 20 years ago but already employs over 600,000 people and has annual revenues of over $13 billion.

Centrica starts building 50 MW unit

July 13 – UK energy supplier Centrica has announced that construction works are getting underway this week on its new 50 MW back-up power unit at Peterborough power station. The new gas-fired ‘peaking’ plant will be driven by five Wartsila-built reciprocating gas engines. The plant operator will dispatch the fast-ramp unit mostly on weekdays to cater periods of peak power demand or to provide back-up electricity when requested by the National Grid.