Daily News

New utility-scale solar power installations increased in the United States in 2010-16 at a faster rate than any other electricity generating technology. Solar PV and thermal power facilities together grew 72% per annum on average to currently over 21.5 GW. But regardless of this rapid growth, solar's contribution to the overall US power mix remains fairly limited – the dominant fuel is natural gas.

The United States and China have reached a landmark agreement designed to reduce America’s growing trade deficit and promote LNG shipment to China. US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross underlined the deal was part of a broader effort to remodel the relationship between the world’s two largest economies.

South Africa’s mining and manufacturing industry has been hit repeatedly by sharp increases in electricity tariffs. With President Zuma’s plans for new nuclear thwarted, South Africa’s future energy mix is seen shift towards renewables and flexible gas generation. An LNG-to-Power IPP Programme envisages some 1GW of new gas power capacity to be constructed at South Africa's Coega port, with another 2GW to be built at Richards Bay.

The spread of policy drivers, as well as falling costs of solar and wind power, will ensure the de-carbonisation of the energy system continues globally, according to projections made by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). Analysts cautioned however that the extent to which Mr Trump reverses the momentum of the Obama administration on green issues, and whether he will pull out of the 2016 Paris Climate Agreement, will be a key development to watch.

Huaneng Guilin Gas Distributed Energy Co., an energy provider in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region in southern China, has announced first fire of a GE 6F.01 gas turbine at one of its distributed power stations. Fuelled by natural gas, the Huaneng Guilin project is the first-ever distributed energy project managed by China Huaneng Group.

Engie of France and AES have entered into a joint venture to market and sell LNG to third parties in Central America. The JV will utilize the Costa Norte LNG regasification terminal, currently under construction with a capacity of 1.5 million tons per annum (mtpa). Approximately 25% of the Costa Norte LNG regas capacity will supply fuel to a 380MW combined-cycle gas power plant in the city of Colón, Panama.

Qatar General Water & Electricity Corporation (KAHRAMAA) has contracted Siemens to carry out the largest-to-date expansion of the Emirate’s power transmission network. The deal, valued at €790 million, will see Siemens deliver 35 turnkey super and primary substations for Phase 13 of the Qatar Power Transmission System Expansion project. Completion is scheduled for 2019. “With this new order intake, our completed and under execution projects with KAHRAMAA total nearly €2.5 billion,” said Ralf Christian, CEO of Siemens Energy Management Division.

Nest Learning Thermostat, which partners with utilities to provide residential Demand-Side Response (DRS), shows how bilateral contracts for flexibility services can be utilised for the integration of renewable resources. Their so-called ‘Rush hour rewards’ scheme offers end-customers a menu of contracts with different lead times (from on-demand to 24-hour advance notice), duration of adjustments in electricity consumption (30 mins to 4 hrs) and payments.

Nigeria has approached the World Bank for a $5.2 billion loan to expand power generation capacity and help the West African nation recover from its first recession in over two decades. Observers doubt, however, that the government in Abuja can reach its goal to triple Nigeria’s installed electric capacity by 2025.

Asian investors used to pour over $20 billion into US Lower 48 assets in the period 2010-13, mostly in shale plays – but this cashflow dried up some three years ago and has become “negligible,” particularly on the Permian tight oil play. Wood Mackenzie says this trend is about to change, anticipating some of Asia's largest upstream players “wish to diversify and grow production.”

US power solutions provider Cummins has launched a new gas generator set across 50Hz regions. Supplying electrical efficiency of up to 43.8%, the upgraded QSK60 gas engine can reduce total cost of ownership for its customers and is particularly tailored towards combined heat and power (CHP) applications.

Siemens and Chromalloy Gas Turbine have joint forces and agreed to invest approximately $130 million to create a new joint venture called Advanced Airfoil Components. The JV will create up to 350 new jobs in the United States and will supply Siemens with turbine blade and vane cast components for power generation. Shipment of initial components is slated for 2018.

In the run-up to the 2017 UK General Election, Theresa May has promised to impose a cap on standard variable power tariffs in the Tory manifesto to end what she calls the “injustice” of rising energy costs. Under the proposed plan, the energy regulator Ofgem would set a limit for the standard variable tariffs that customers move to by default after their existing deals run out. This measure is meant to save about 17 million customers up to £100 a year.

Levelized cost of energy (LCOE), a common metric for project costs, measures a power plant’s lifetime and operation-cycle and amortizes these costs over an assumed lifetime. Yet, EIA analysts pointed out LCOEs do not include contractual terms on price, duration, or price inflators, hence “they should not be directly compared with other prices such as power purchase agreements.”

German engineering firm MAN Diesel & Turbo and Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding are intensifying their technical collaboration. The aim is to jointly offer propulsion and energy solutions, notably for Floating Production Storage and Offloading systems (FPSO), as well as steam turbines and compressors – mainly for the Japanese market.

News in Brief

MHPS flue gas desulfurization for Balkan generator

May 26 - Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) has signed a supply contract for the first Flue Gas Desulfurization (FGD) system in the West Balkans for Ugljevik power plant, located in the Republic of Srpska – one of the two constituent entities of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The FDG project at the Ugljevik plant was advanced via a Japanese ODA loan, and aims to reduce sulfur dioxide and particulates emissions with a view of helping Bosnia and Herzegovina meet the environmental standards required for joining the European Union. The upgraded power plant is scheduled to start commercial operations in July 2019.

Bioenergy market keeps growing

May 26 – Global markets for bio fuels and clean energy is forecast to show steady growth - despite a small dip in capacity additions. Classified as a niche market within the renewable energy sector, the biopower segment set to expand to 165.2GW by 2025, up from just over 106GW installed capacity two years ago. GlobalData analysts attribute this growth to a rising global energy demand, and growing awareness about climate change that spur investment in cleaner sources of energy around the globe.

ABB enhances power supply for Canadian data centre

May 25 – Zurich-headquartered ABB will supply an integrated substation to the Canadian IT solutions provider Hypertec to support the expansion of one of its existing data center. As part of the upgrade, the existing 25 kilovolts (kV) power supply will be enhanced to 120kV to meet growing electricity demand. The turnkey project includes the design, supply, installation and commissioning of the 120kV Gas Insulated Switchgear (GIS) substation with 25kV distribution. ABB said the project is expected to be completed by the end of 2017.

German gas, coal-burn up in Q1

May 24 – Germany’s total primary energy consumption dropped 1.4% yoy in the first quarter of 2017. But despite lower demand for electricity, the use of natural gas for power generation increased by 1%, while use of hard coal and lignite were 2.6% and 0.4% higher respectively, according to figures by the energy industry think tank AG Energiebilanzen (AGEB).

Siemens wins 3D printing award

May 24 – An award in category "3D Printing application of the year" was given to Siemens for the worldwide first successful test of gas turbine blades manufactured with Additive Manufacturing. At the start of 2017, a multi-location Siemens team successfully tested the performance of the first gas turbine blade, produced through AM, under full-load conditions

Wolf Power, Myriad start CHP cooperation

May 23 – Wolf Group, a German supplier of combined heat and power systems, has entered a cooperation with Myriad Power Products, an equipment supplier based in Leicestershire, UK. Myriad can supply chip, pellet and gas heat only/ CHP systems from 10kW to 10MW; it is about to bid for public sector contracts in the UK and some other smaller clients.

Verisk acquires MAKE

May 23 – Verisk Analytics, part of Wood Mackenzie, has announced its latest acquisition of MAKE, an advisory that specializes in wind power. This latest acquisition follows WoodMac’s takeover of Greentech Media in July 2016.

OPEC’s net oil revenues on 12-year low

May ‎22 – Members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) net oil revenues have plunged to $433 billion in 2016, the lowest since 2004. In real dollar terms, the 2016 revenue represents a 15% decline from the $509 billion earned in 2015. The EIA projects that OPEC’s 2017 net oil export revenues will rise to about $539 billion dollars (nominal), based on a slight recovery in average crude oil prices, as well as higher OPEC output during the current year.

Burckhardt to help modernize MOL petchem plant in Hungary

May 19 – Burckhardt Compression has won an order to modernize MOL Petrochemicals’ third-party Hyper Compressor at its LDPE plant in Tiszaújváros, Hungary, that has been operating since 1991. Burckhardt Compression is well-known for its Hyper Compressors and the MOL Group already has positive experiences working with the Swiss manufacturer at another LDPE site. The project scope includes the Burckhardt Hypropack cartridge system, plungers and central valves for two second-stage cylinders.

Pumps, motor market to top $100bn by 2021

May 19 – Upgrades of ageing power infrastructure, a rise in renewable energy investment and a progressing urbanisation is driving the markets for pumps and motors to reach $100.66 billion by 2021, up from 71.01 billion last year. According to MarketsandMarkets, growth of notably the market for ‘permanent magnet synchronous motors’ is spurred by power plant modernization, as well as demand for energy-efficient motors and use of low-cost ferrite permanent magnets.

MHPS opens new Warsaw office

May 18 - Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) is opening a new office in Warsaw, to strengthen its relationships with local customers and bolster orders for advanced coal power generation systems and Air Quality Control Systems (AQCS). The new branch office centralizes MHPS' corporate and business development function for Poland in one single location.

Low utilisation of US oil peaking plants

May 18 – Monthly generation from petroleum-fired generators has totalled 1 million to 2 million MWh in recent years, according to EIA figures. Most of the 36.4GW installed oil-fired generators in the United States, either turbines or internal combustion engines, only supply peak-load electricity. Capacity factors for oil-fired steam turbines are about 10% and approach 20% only in the summer months. Capacity factors for oil-fired combustion turbines and internal combustion engines are lower, remaining well below 5%.

Wärtsilä wins 5-year O&M deal in Pakistan

May 17 – Helsinki-based technology group Wärtsilä has signed a 5-year full operations and maintenance (O&M) agreement with Pakistan’s Technomen Kinetics Private Ltd (TKL) for two of the latter’s gas-fired power plants. Wärtsilä’s installed base in Pakistan totals around 2.2 GW power generating capacity, with 600 MW of power output under service agreements.

MAN helps CNOOC tap offshore gas in South China Sea

May 17 – CNOOC China’s branch in Zhanjiang, a city in south-western Guangdong province, has commissioned MAN Diesel & Turbo to supply six compressor trains for the Dongfang 13-2 gas field development project. Manufactured by in Switzerland by MAN, the compressor trains will be used for gas reinjection at new platforms in the Dongfang field, located in the Yinggehai Basin of the South China Sea.

New man at the helm of COGEN Europe

May 16 – COGEN Europe has appointed Hans Korteweg as new managing director. His leadership starts at a time of ongoing debate about the EU’s Clean Energy Package, aimed at ensuring a safe and cost-effective energy transition.

Wärtsilä snaps up Greensmith

May 16 – Wärtsila has agreed to buy Greensmith Energy Management System, an US energy storage technology provider, for an undisclosed amount. The acquisition of Greensmith is still subject to US regulatory approvals; it will allow Wärtsilä to expand its latest focus on energy storage. The Finish turbine manufacturer stated it expects the takeover to take legal effect no later than July 2017.

Dresser-Rand supplies compressor trains for Thai pipeline

May 15 – Dresser-Rand, part of Siemens Power and Gas, will supply three SGT-400 gas turbine-driven turbocompressor trains for Thailand’s Wang Noi compressor station, located 70 kilometers from Bangkok. The station is currently being built by Samsung Engineering; it is owned by PTT Public Company, Thailand’s state oil & gas company. The compressor station project is expected to be completed in 2018; it will enhance the capacity of the Ratchaburi - Wang Noi pipeline to meet the increasing natural gas demands of nearby power plants.