Daily News

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

Jun 21 – Severe drought combined with an extended outage of the Basslink undersea cable has forced Hydro Tasmania to fire up diesel generators to avert blackouts. Total costs for shipping in more than 100 diesel generators, foregone gas generation and lost electricity sales are estimated to total between $140 million and $180 million, according to Hydro chairman Grant Every-Burns. He warned most of these costs will be reflected in the utilities 2016 financial year, causing a $90 million loss.

Published in Brief news

Prices for energy storage systems are anticipated to fall by around 10% annually, but “even by 2020 this may still not be sufficient to allow the UK market to grow above 15,000 units per annum, Delta-ee researcher Julian Jansen cautioned. Lessons could be learned from the German or the US model.

Published in Markets

Consultations are underway at Whitehall as to whether coal-fired power plants, that are partially retrofitted with carbon capture and storage (CCS), would be allowed to run beyond 2025 – the cut-off date given by the UK's Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) last autumn.

Published in Regulation & Policy

Last year marked the first time on record that the average capacity factor of gas combined-cycle plants in the United States exceeded that of coal plants. The capacity factor of the CCGT fleet averaged 56% in 2015, compared with 55% for coal steam power plants.

Published in Markets

A triple-whammy of slower electricity demand growth, low natural gas prices, and policies that encourage renewable deployment have depressed the number of gas-fired power plants that are being added to the grid. While wind farm operators receive tax credits, fossil plants struggle to recover their operating costs in the face of falling wholesale power prices.

Published in Markets

Lakeland Electric, the third largest public power utility in Florida, says it saved $12 million in fiscal 2015, or about 17% of its annual fuel costs, at unit 3 of its McIntosh power station by making use of GE’s FuelSolv coal treatment technology.

Higher prices of LNG compared to coal and nuclear is prompting two of the biggest importers in Asia to move away from gas generation. South Korea's Ministry of Trade expects gas demand to fall 5% over the next 15 years, while Japan’s nuclear restarts are likely to reduce imports by 4.5% to 85 million tons of LNG in the current fiscal year to March 31.

Published in Markets

Though gas demand for power generation and industrial use is on the rise, global gas markets can only accommodate 6 to 7 Bcf per day of LNG exports from the United States in the next 5 years as U.S. gas' price advantage dissipates when liquefaction and shipping costs are added, according to Bernstein Research.

Published in Markets

The European Commission has published guidelines to limit regulatory interventions in electricity markets through capacity payments and renewable subsidies with a view of making support schemes more cost-effective. Researchers at the Oxford Institute of Energy Studies criticised, however, "the guidance ....shows little sense of the urgency needed to address the increasingly dire situation of conventional back-up capacity for intermittent renewables."

Published in Regulation & Policy
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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.