Daily News

Chinese authorities have mandated power producers in some regions to return to burning coal, responding to acute gas shortages. Coal imports rebounded from a three-month low in November as utilities seek to replenish stocks prior to the period of peak winter demand.

Published in Regulation & Policy

Toning down its green energy ambitions, the Government of South Korea has backed away from plans to convert four out of nine planed coal-fired power plant projects to run on natural gas. Instead, only one coal-to-gas conversion is now likely to go ahead, the country’s energy minister said over the weekend.

Published in Regulation & Policy

In the South of the United States the intensity and speed of gas replacing coal in the power mix has been greater than anywhere else in the country. Over the course of the past ten years, southern states used natural gas for 42% of their electricity generation – substantially more than the U.S. average of 34% – while the share of coal power plunged to 29%.

Published in Markets

South Africa’s national utility, Eskom, would benefit its ratepayers and investors by decommissioning its older coal-fired power units and scaling back construction of the controversial 4,800-MW Kusile coal power plant project, said Grové Steyn, lead economist at Meridian Economics in Cape Town. In his view, “South Africa does not for the foreseeable future need a new national nuclear-, coal- or gas-to-power construction program.”

Published in Regulation & Policy

The board of TransAlta Corp has approved additional elements in the company’s strategy to transition to gas and renewables generation. This includes a letter of intent to build a 120km gas pipeline from Tidewater's Brazeau River Complex to TransAlta's generating units at Sundance and Keephills, eventually supplying up to 340 million cubic feet of gas per day.

Published in Markets

US regulators have reached a settlement with Mississippi Power on the split of the remaining costs associated with the troubled $7.5 billion Kemper County power plant – once intended as a pilot coal gasfication plant before developers pulled the plug over technical issues.  After months of quarrels at court, Southern Co. agreed to lower the price tag on the project by $85 million to $853 million, lowering the burden on ratepayers.

Published in Regulation & Policy

Speedy approval of new mines in China has the potential to lower demand for seaborne coal imports by up to 50 million tons (Mt), sending down coal prices from levels above 80$/t towards to just 60$/t in 2018. EnergyAspects cautions, however, that such a dramatic fall in prices, caused by replacing higher-priced imported coal with cheap domestic production, is highly unlikely given that the government in Beijing had been content with higher prices as a driver for electric utilities to replace coal with cleaner-burning natural gas.

Published in Markets

China’s new'2+26' cities policy – a pledge to cut emission in the country’s 28 northern cities by 15% year-on-year in the winter months – is limiting the use of coal for power generation and in industries. As an alternative to coal, gas demand could rise by 23 bcm this year compared to previous winters, according to WoodMackenzie projections. In fact, Chinese LNG imports almost doubled last month, surging 95.7% compared to October 2016, to reach 3.57 million tonnes, according to data from the General Administration of Customs.

Published in Markets

Controversy is mounting in Australia over whether the lifetime of AGL Energy’s 2,051-MW Liddell power plant should be extended – as proposed by the Turnbull government – even though the operator wants to shut down the “costly and unreliable” unit in 2022. A new report finds the government’s stipulated lifetime extension would cost around $3.6 billion over five years, compared to $2.2 billion for a combination of wind power, demand side-response and energy efficiency measures.

Published in Markets

Differences on energy policy and migration have brought down lengthy and difficult coalition talks between Germany’s Conservatives, the Green Party and the Liberals (FDP). Shortly before midnight on Sunday, FDP head Christian Lindner abandoned negotiations, stating: “The four discussion partners have no common vision for the modernisation of the country, and lack a common basis of trust.”

Published in Regulation & Policy
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News in Brief

ABB repowers Italian fashion supplier

Dec 12 – Italy’s Printing House of Martinengo, a major supplier to global fashion and couture brands, has partnered with ABB to upgrade with Ekip UP, digitizing its existing switchgear and circuit breakers. ABB Ekip UP is ideal for updating older facilities, capturing data and sharing it with cloud-based energy management functions without any other meter or external gateway required.

GE axes 12,000 jobs to realign business

Dec 11 – GE’s plans to axe 12,000 jobs globally highlights the struggles of the industry to shift the focus from heavy-duty gas turbine business towards the renewable segment. The $10 billion takeover of Alstom is now viewed by some analysts as a “bad bet on an old-school industry.”

GE breaks ground on 3D Campus in Lichtenfelds

Nov 8 – Concept Laser and GE have laid the foundation for a new 3D Campus that will unite research and development along with production, service, and logistics in Lichtenfels, Germany. The new offices, providing room for about 500 employees on 40,000 square meters, GE said, should be ready for move-in early 2019.

OPRA Turbines taken over by Dalian Energas

Nov 7 – OPRA Turbines has just disclosed that its entire shareholding has been taken over by China’s Dalian Energas Group since August. OPRA Turbines has been continuing its operation at their new headquarter in Hengelo as a member of Energas Group.

Adven to buy E.ON’s distributed energy business in Sweden

Nov 6 – Adven, a leading energy and water infrastructure and services provider in Finland, Sweden and Estonia, has agreed to acquire E.ON’s Swedish district heating and distributed energy solutions business (EVLE), which owns heating operations in nine municipalities in the south and centre of the county. The value of the transaction was not disclosed.

Reliance completes $1bn power project in Bangladesh

Dec 5 – Reliance Power has completed execution of agreements for Phase 1 of the power project in Bangladesh. Phase-1 consists of 750MW combined cycle gas power plant to be set up at Meghnaghat near Dhaka and 500 mmscfd LNG terminal at Kutudbia Island.

AWE hopes for higher offer after CERCG bid

Dec 4 – Australian Energy company AWE, shareholder in the Waitsia gas field off Western Australia, is playing the waiting game after it received an unsolicited, non-binding proposal from China Energy Reserve and Chemical Group (CERCG), proposing to acquire 100% of AWE’s shares at A$0.71 cash per share. However, the initial reaction of AWE’s has been that the takeover bid is seen as “not sufficiently attractive” to provide access for due diligence.

Distributed power market to top $103bn by 2022

Dec 1 – Driven by increasingly stringent mandates to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and rising electricity demand in remote regions, the market for distributed generation is forecast to grow at a rate of 11.48% annually. According to MarketsandMarkets projections, the sector will expand in revenue from $60.04 billion in 2017 to $103.38 billion by 2022. Key global players in this market segment are Siemens, GE, Schneider, Mitsubishi, Capstone and Doosan.

Simit V9.1 simulation for faster commissioning

Nov 30  – Siemens has released an upgrade to its Simit simulation platform for virtual commissioning and operator training. Version 9.1 can also be used in modular plants, speeding up actual commissioning by up to 60% and reducing unwanted standstill periods, particularly during plant conversion and migration processes.

Nigeria halts commissioning of 215-MW plant

Nov 29 – The Senate of Nigeria has stopped the scheduled commissioning of the 215 MW dual-fuel power plant in Kaduna state over a dispute between the power ministry and the plant’s gas supplier, Abuja-based Greenville LNG. The power ministry had unexpectedly changed the terms of its contract with its gas supplier, deciding to run the plant on diesel. Greenville LNG, meanwhile, insists that natural gas remains the cheapest fuel source for the $186 million Kaduna project. The plant was meant to be commissioned in January 2018, but construction works have already fallen three years behind schedule.

Gas OPEC condemns unilateral sanctions

Nov 28 – The Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF), also known as Gas OPEC, has condemned unilateral economic sanctions by the US against some members of the group, notably Russia, Iran and Venezuela. The GEFC condemned such sanctions that are not authorized by the United Nations “as a weapon against other nations.”

GE helps Saudi’s NDU drive digital industry

Nov 28 – The Saudi Arabia’s National Digitization Unit (NDU) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with GE to drive the country’s digital industrial diversification, leveraging GE’s digital applications and ServiceMax which allows field service engineers’ time to be utilized more efficiently. The partnership will focus on community- based digital solutions in sectors identified for transformation under Saudi Vision 2030.

ADNOC opens Habshan-5 gas processing plant

Nov 27 – ADNOC has inaugurated and commenced operation at its $6.85 billion Habshan-5 gas processing plant. Linked via a 215km pipeline to ADNOC’s offshore Umm Shaif gas field, the plant has four gas processing trains and four sulphur recovery units. Its daily production capacity is 12,000 tonnes of natural gas liquids, 1.1 billion of sales gas; 5,200 tonnes of liquid sulphur and 3,000 barrels of condensate.

Nigerian regulator extends Afam VI licence

Nov 24 – The Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has renewed the power generation licence for Shell’s 650-MW Afam VI power plant. Operated by the Shell Petroleum Development Company Joint Venture (SPDC JV), the combined-cycle gas power plant between 2008 and 2016 delivered over 24.16 million MWh to the Nigerian grid.

German gas power output up 13%

Nov 23 – Electricity output from German gas-fired power plants in the first nine months of 2017 totalled 62.23 TWh, a 13% rise compared with the same period last year, according to BDEW data. In September, the most recent month for which the BDEW data is available, gas power output dropped 1.5% on the year to 6.24 TWh which marks the second on-year drop in a row, the industry lobby group said.

SimoticsIQ connects MindSphere and open IoT systems

Nov 22 – With Simotics IQ, the new IoT-compatible drive concept from Siemens, the Simotics SD low-voltage motors are fitted with a compact sensor box which captures important operating and condition parameters and transmits them by WiFi to the cloud. The operating data can then be stored and analyzed by the Simotics IQ MindApp on MindSphere.

CT market worth $4.4bn by 2020

Nov 21 – The Coiled Turbine (CT) market, by service, is projected to grow at an annual rate of 6-7% from an estimated value of $3.2 billion in 2015 to around $4.4 billion by 2020. According to MarketsandMarkets analysis, North America accounted for nearly half of the total revenue in 2013, driven by demand in the ultra-deep CT service sector as shale gas drilling activities keeps expanding.