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.”
A 19-day testing process is underway for the Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA) Paradise combined-cycle plant, including ‘first fire’ of the turbine and grid synchronisation. TVA said the 1,025-MW gas power plant is now 84% complete – all tests should be successful by early 2017 for the CCGT to enter into commercial operation before the coming summer.
Advancing much-needed power projects, the Philippines’ Department of Energy (DOE) has cleared 23 plant proposals for the conduct of a grid impact study (GIS) – a precondition before developers can proceed with the actual construction. If built, these projects will have a combined capacity of just over 2,750 MW.
“Unprecedented efficiencies” created by new technologies and more stringent energy policies will make per capita energy demand peak before 2030, according to projections by the World Energy Council (WEC). The “phenomenal rise of solar and wind energy” is seen to continue, while coal and oil will gradually fade out of the energy mix.
In the face of gas supply shortages following a major and prolonged leak at SoCalGas’ Aliso Canyon storage facility, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) now provides timely updates in its ‘Southern California Daily Energy Report’. Withdrawal rates at Aliso Canyon have fallen sharply below the usual 1.9 Bcf/d – causing regulators to place a cap on gas-burn and spurring electricity imports from neighbouring states.
While power producers like EDF cashed in on record electricity prices during last week’s heat wave in the UK, capacity constraints provided an early test for National Grid which seeks to keep the lights on with ever tighter capacity margins. Winter 2016/17 might prove challenging in the face of mass retirements of coal-fired plants earlier this year.
Denton Municipal Electric, the locally-owned utility of the Texan city, has contracted Wärtsilä to deliver engineering and equipment (EEQ) for 225 MW gas power capacity. The plant will provide balancing power to the community, which aims to have 70% of its energy produced from renewables by early 2019.
California Independent System Operator (CAISO), the entity responsible for maintaining the balance between supply and demand for electricity throughout most of the state, had to resort to more power imports this summer as flexible gas generators could not fully balance the system amid fuel constraints.
Keen to curb corporate debts, Calpine Corp has agreed to sell its 375 MW Mankato combined-cycle gas power plant to Southern Power for $395.5 million plus working capital. The CCGT, located in Minnesota, provides electricity to Northern States Power under a 20-year tolling agreement through July 2026.
Low-cost LNG imports gains attractiveness in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as gas-burn for power generation is outstripping domestic production, while upstream investment stalls. Abu Dhabi now resorted to chartering an FSRU in July – oil & gas analyst Priyank Srivastava expects cargoes to be imported on a spot basis to cover peak power demand between June and September.