Daily News

Dirty king coal is still on track to surpass natural gas generation for 2017, with total shares of almost 32 % and 31%, respectively, the latest short-term energy outlook from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) shows. That near-tie comes after natural gas generated 34% of the nation’s electricity needs in 2016, with coal finishing at 30%.

Published in Markets

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

Natural gas-fuelled power generation in the United States reached its highest daily level at 41 Bcf/day on July 20 – just a tick lower than the 2016 peak of 42 Bcf/d seen on August 11 last year.  Higher gas prices relative to last summer explain part of the decrease; but PointLogic Energy analysts stressed that “although power burn in 2017 is lower than in 2016, it is still relatively high compared with the previous five-year average for that period.”

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Despite pledges South Korea’s new liberal President Moon Jae-in to halt several nuclear and coal power projects, the country’s remains highly dependent on fossil fuels. In fact, the output of coal-fired power plants topped 95,500 GWh in the first five month of 2017, up 13.6% year-on-year, according to data by Korea Power Exchange.

Published in Markets

Demand from the industrial sector becomes the main engine of gas consumption growth, replacing power generation, where gas is being squeezed by growing renewables and competition from coal, the International Energy Agency (IEA) says in its latest five-year forecast Gas 2017. Global gas demand is forecast to rise from 3,630 bcm today to nearly 4,000 billion cubic meters (bcm) by 2022.

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Spurred by the global expansion in LNG supply and trade, the growth of natural gas supply in absolute terms will outperform that of all other energy sources, notably coal and oil, CEDIGAZ said in its latest Medium and Long Term Natural Gas Outlook 2017. According to projections made by the Paris-based energy consultants, the share of gas in the world primary energy supply will rise from 21.2% in 2014 to 23.9% in 2035.

Published in Markets

Utilities in India will face the most disruption” when having to come to terms with the trend that by 2020, renewable power will be the cheapest form of new-build capacity in most of the world, according to Morgan Stanley Research. “We think the market for Indian utilities has yet to fully price in the impacts of solar power becoming the cheapest form of new generation,” analysts said, remarking “[this is] driving our downgrade of the Indian utilities industry to In-Line.”

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Though burning coal for generating electricity is cheap, and Japan is home to supercritical high-efficiency coal power stations, key ministers warned that if all proposed coal-fired capacity got built this would put Japan’s emission reduction targets in jeopardy. "It doesn't matter if they are highly efficient or not, power stations using coal are seen outdated as EU and other countries are moving away from them," environment minister Kouichi Yamamoto said.

Published in Regulation & Policy

No new coal-fired generating capacity is added to the U.S. power mix in all cases set out in the EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook 2017 (AEO2017). Analysts stressed, however, that actual production levels of hard coal and lignite depend on resource availability on technological advancement – not just on policy choices around the much-debated effects of the Clean Power Plan (CPP).

Published in Markets

As the energy mix across the United States continues to shift towards renewables and gas, the carbon intensity of the overall electric power sector is now lower than that of gas-fired power generation. After averaging near 60kg CO2/MMBtu for decades, the combustion-weighted carbon intensity in the electric power sector fell to 48kg CO2/MMBtu in 2016 – slightly lower than that of natural gas, which produces 53kg CO2/MMBtu.

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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.