Italy has declared a state of emergency for energy after an explosion at Austria’s Baumgarten gas hub on Tuesday interrupted onward flows of Russian gas imports from the strategic hub towards Italy, the Balkans and southern Germany. Gas and power prices soared across Europe as the Baumgarten blast adds to fears over winter supply security, already impacted by Monday’s emergency closure of the UK’s Forties Pipeline System.
Returning to Libya with contracts in the range of 700 million euros, Siemens will expand the installed power generation capacity of state-owned General Electricity Company of Libya (GECOL) by 1.3 GW. The deals will see Siemens build a 650 MW open-cycle power plant in Misrata, and a 690 MW open-cycle power plant in Tripoli West.
Demand for natural gas in Spain has reached a record 1,670 GWh on December 4 – the highest level seen in the past six years. Outage of one nuclear plant, combined with low wind power availability, propelled up gas demand from the power sector; but Enagas expects demand will rise further as the winter progresses.
Attending the inauguration of Novatek’s landmark $27-billion Yamal LNG plant, the Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih confirmed the Middle East oil nation is considering investing in future LNG projects in the Russian Arctic. Talks are being held about setting up a $1 billion energy fund, aimed at fostering future supply of Russian LNG as part of a Saudi government plan to use more gas for power generation.
Fluctuation in power supply to the grid amid rising renewable penetration has been increasing the need for black-start generators. Analysts expect this market will grow at a rate of 3.8%, up from an estimated $1.24 billion this year to $1.50 billion by 2021.
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.
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.”
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%.
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.”
Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) has just disclosed that customers in Asia, the U.S., Mexico and South America have technically selected the M501JAC for their projects 26 times, representing over 14 GW of new power projects. MHPS's new JAC-class turbine has unprecedented statistics – 99.5% reliability while approaching 65% efficiency.