US President Donald Trump has made reforms of the environmental permitting process for pipelines a key part of his $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan. Speeding up regulatory approvals will help fast-track both gas export pipelines to Mexico and interstate pipelines to transport cheap, domestic shale gas to the second wave of US LNG export projects.
Spending on infrastructure to deliver electricity to American homes and businesses has kept rising over the past 10 years. Utilities representing about 70% of total U.S. electric load spent about $21 billion on capital additions in 2016. The Edison Electric Institute (EEI) says investment in transmission infrastructure has kept rising in 2017 and will soon reach a peak at approximately $22.5 billion.
One of the UK’s major remaining coal generators, the 1,960-MW Eggborough Power Station in North Yorkshire, is set to fizzle out in September 2018 after it failed to win a 2018-19 capacity contract. As a consequence, the operator has just updated its planning application to convert the 51-year-old Eggborough facility into a new 2-Gigawatt (GW) combined-cycle gas power plant.
Reacting to recurring power outages, South Africa is taking steps to reduce its reliance on aging coal-fired plants. Over the next five years, the Government plans to replace some out-dated coal capacity with nearly 10-GW of supercritical coal units. It seeks to attract investment to realize up to 4 GW of gas-fired independent power projects (IPPs) that would be supplied by imported LNG from floating terminals at Richards Bay and Port Coega starting in 2020.
Jan 25 – US electric utility First Energy Corp has been handed $2.5 billion in equity investment from a group of fund managers that include Singapore’s CIC, Elliot Management, Bluescape and Zimmer Partners. FirstEnergy has said it will utilise investment proceeds to reduce debt its $21.1 billion debt burden by $1.45 billion, and contribute to its pension fund.
Oklahoma Gas and Electric (OG&E) has filed to the state’s public utilities commission for permission to increase rates, seeking to recover its $390 million investment in the Mustang Energy Center. The 462-MW peaking power plant is the first gas-fired generator that OG&E has built in more than 30 years.
Cost competition between fossil fuels and renewable energy sources is intensifying and will be won by the latter by 2020. Technology advances by that time will enable solar PV and onshore wind to generate electricity below $30/MWh, according to projections by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
Energy storage technologies like batteries create an “unusual combination of cost and revenue streams,” according to EIA analysts, given that they can serve as both energy suppliers and consumers at different times. Thanks to their versatile functionality, about 700 MW of new utility-scale batteries has been added to the US power grid over the past three years.
The days when traditional utilities in Europe were retaining earnings to finance big projects off their balance sheet are over. As governments prioritize electricity security and a transition toward more sustainable energy use, financial investment decisions (FIDs) are becoming more complex, say IEA energy analysts Michael Waldron and Yoko Nobuoka. Yet regardless of the challenging economic environment, European utilities have increased their investment capabilities, and according to IEA findings, their Capex as a share of earnings has strengthened in recent years.
Faced with additional gas demand from new-build power stations, Nigeria needs nearly 2 billion standard cubic feet (Bscf) of gas to meet the country’s entire demand. Observers estimate the investment required to make that 2 Bscf available would be $6 billion for plants, pipelines and other infrastructure.