Daily News

Technology of battery-based energy storage has matured and industry stakeholders in some regions of the United States have gained experience financing, procuring, and operating power storage installations. Lithium-ion chemistries batteries currently make up 80% of large-scale U.S. power storage, and most of the capacity is being installed in California followed by the Pennsylvania-New Jersey-Maryland Interconnection (PJM).

Just days after NTE Energy inaugurated its $645 million Middletown Energy Center in Ohio, the utility confirmed it will invest more than $1 billion to develop the 1,000-MW Anderson County Energy Center in South Carolina. Florida-based NTE hailed the 525-MW Middletown combined cycle facility as among the most efficient gas-fired power plants in the United States. The plant’s operation commenced on May 21, some 31 months after construction began.

Mexico, the largest buyer of US pipeline gas and LNG, is preparing a tender for strategic storage at depleted oil and gas reservoirs. Cenagas, the Mexican National Natural Gas Control Centre, has already selected four underground sites – Acuyo, Brasil, Jaf and Saramako – from a list of 15 proposed sites. Registering strong bidding interest from foreign players, the Mexican Energy Secretariat (Sener) will hold the tender in September 2018.

The United States has remained the world's top producer of petroleum and natural gas, reaching a record high output in 2017. Petroleum production surged by 745,000 barrels per day (b/d), driven by a 21% increase in oil prices to approximately $65 per barrel by the end of last year, and as of late oil prices keep rising.

Though the Pakistani government hailed the sudden surge in power production and supply, load-shedding still persists and cripples the local industry. Electric power supply jumped 48% to over 10,135 GWh in April, a substantial rise compared with 6,879 GWh in April last year, flowing the startup of three RLNG-fuelled power plants in Punjab province.

Quaid-e-Azam Thermal Power Private Ltd (QATPL), owned by the government of Punjab, has announced the completion of commissioning and start of full commercial operations at the Bhikki Power plant. Start of full-fledged commercial operations was on May 20 at midnight hours, supported by Harbin Electric International (HEI) and GE Power. Dispatch of the Bhikki combined-cycle plant now adds up to 1,180 MW of power to the national grid, enough to supply 2.4 million Pakistani homes.

Price-sensitive Japanese utilities prefer thermal coal over regasified LNG as they seek to minimize fuel costs for power generation. Consequently, Japan’s LNG imports fell 14.5% during the month of April to 5.60 million tonnes while import of thermal coal for power generation increased by 6.7% during April to 8.74 million tonnes, according to preliminary trade figures from the Japanese finance ministry.

Florida-based NextEra Energy has finalized a deal with Southern Company to acquire Gulf Power, Florida City Gas and its stakes in the Oleander and Stanton gas-fired power plants in Florida in transactions valued at approximately $6.475 billion, including $1.4 billion of Gulf Power debt. Post-closing NextEra expects it will still have substantial free cash flow.

Drax Group, together with C-Capture, has announced plans to pilot the first bioenergy carbon capture and storage (BCCS) project in Europe. The demonstration project will see Drax invest £400,000 in what it says “could be the first of several pilot projects” to deliver a rapid, lower cost demonstration of BECCS that could accelerate the commercialization of carbon capture in the UK.

An international team of scientists has discovered a mechanism for the formation of the simplest polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH), naphthalene. This mechanism is now being used to create physically-based combustion models as the basis for fundamentally new, ecologically friendly combustion chambers for gas turbine engines.

Australia’s AGL Energy has turned down a A$250 million bid from Altina Energy to purchase the ageing Liddell coal-fired power plant, confirming it will shut the 2,051-MW facility as planned in 2022. Josh Frydenberg, the Australian energy minister, now urges AGL to commit to its transition plan of a staggered exit given the plant’s vital role to keep the energy system in balance in New South Wales.

Buildout of new gas pipeline capacity is progressing rapidly, in particular in the northeastern United States. By the end of 2018, if all projects come online by their scheduled service dates, more than 23 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of takeaway capacity will be online out of the Northeast by the end of 2018, according to EIA projections. This is more than three times the takeaway capacity at the end of 2014, and up from an estimated 16.7 Bcf/d at the end of 2017.

New Swiss law mandates the installation of smart electricity meters which increases the data volume of the energy infrastructure firm BKW Group more than 40,000-fold. Hence BWK approached Siemens to install a cloud-based data management system for power consumption data. The launch of the EnergyIP system will occur in early 2019.

Stromnetz Berlin, the power grid operator of the German capital city, has asked ABB to supply compact gas-insulated switchgear (GIS) for the new Wuhletal substation to enhance reliability of power supply in the eastern district of Marzahn. Upon completion, the new substation will supply electricity to more than 3,500 commercial businesses and 65,000 households.

Keen to service cross-fleet power generation equipment, GE has developed a range of capabilities to advance the performance and reliability of other original equipment manufacturers’ (OEM) gas turbine, such as Siemens’ SGT-800 and Mitsubishi’s 501F units. At a press tour to Birr, Switzerland, GE revealed it has over $200 million in cross-fleet orders backlog.

News in Brief

Finning offers new Cat engine

June 20 – The new Cat C9.3B industrial engine, compliant with EU Stage V emissions standards, is now available from Finning UK and Ireland. The six cylinder, 9.3 litre engine builds on capabilities of previous Cat models that have logged more than 200 million operating hours.

GE risks €35m fine in France

June 19 – French government officials said GE will have to pay penalties if it fails to realise its pledge to create 1,000 jobs in France by the end of this year. GE made the promise in 2014 as part of the €12.4 billion takeover of Alstom’s power generation and grid business. "The contract called for a 50,000 euro penalty for every job not created," France’s labour minister Muriel Penicaud told BFM television.

MAN to deliver engines to Oman LNG

June 18 – Oman LNG is seeking to develop a new gas engine-driven power plant at its Qalhat facilities. MAN Diesel and Turbo will deliver the gas engines and associated equipment, while KBR will manage the project execution, supply the generators and ensure safety requirements.

CHP market to top $27bn by 2023

June 15 – Global market for combined heat and power is estimated to grow at an annual rate of 5.48% to reach $20.69 billion in 2018 and $27.01 billion by 2023. According to Markets and Markets, the main growth drivers are demand for energy efficiency and government incentives and programs to promote CHP.

Enel starts battery storage in the UK

June 14 – Enel Group’s first utility-scale, stand-alone battery energy storage - the 25 MW/12.5 MWh Tynemouth project - is about to start operations, supported by a four-year contract with British System Operator National Grid to provide grid-balancing services. Enel bought the storage venture from Element Power in May 2017, and invested about 20 million Euros in the overall project, including construction.

New Mach Gen files for bankruptcy

June 13 – U.S. power generator New Mach Gen has filed for bankruptcy, presenting a pre-packaged reorganisation plan. New Mach Gen operates three gas-fired power plants with a combined capacity of 2,500 MW in Athens, NY, Maricopa County, Arizona and Charlton, Massachusetts.

Siemens, Covestro partner on digitalization

June 12 – Siemens and Covestro Deutschland have agreed a Joint Business Development Plan that reinforces their longstanding, trust-based partnership in the field of digitalization. Siemens is developing predictive process data models for manufacturing through the use of its cloud-based IoT operating system, MindSphere, while Covestro will introduce its process technology and production expertise to generate joint marketing solutions.

U.S. hurricane season underway

June 11 – With June 1 marking the official start of the 2018 hurricane season in the United States, Dominion Energy has urged customers to prepare and emergency storm kit. The Virginia-based utility is continuing day-to-day preparations for a busy storm season.

EIA broadens energy survey

June 8 – For electricity, the number of end-uses estimated in the EIA’s Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS) has expanded from 4 to 26 by adding estimates for various types of equipment. Itemized estimates collectively cover 87% of residential electricity use.

Cost-effective transition towards CHP

June 7 – COGEN Europe, an industry lobby group, has underlined the sector’s commitment to a “cost-effective transition towards a sustainable future in Europe” by means of utilizing combined heat and power generation. CHP provides flexibility across heat, electricity and gas networks and sectors by relying on short, medium and long-term storage to balance energy supply and demand.

Europe’s largest battery operational

June 6 – With a capacity of 48 MW/50 MWh, Europe’s largest battery EnspireME has been in operation since the beginning of this month. Located in Jardelund, northern Germany, the battery will be used as a backup by the local grid operator and participate in the weekly auction of primary reserve capacity. It was built by the Dutch utility Eneco and Japan's Mitsubishi in eight months.

BlueVault powers offshore operations

June 5 – Siemens is applying its electrification experience in the marine industry to offshore oil and gas, focussing on reducing emissions and risk in harsh operational environments. BlueVault, Siemens’ advanced lithium-ion battery-based solution, is suited for both all-electric and hybrid energy-storage applications.

Duke Energy opens new CCGT unit at Lee Station

June 4 – U.S. utility Duke Energy has been continuously operating its new 750 MW combined-cycle gas power unit at the W.S. Lee Station in Anderson County, South Carolina, since the beginning of June. Construction of the $700 million gas power unit started in March 2015, creating more than 600 construction jobs. Now fully operational, the CCGT is expected to generate about $4.4 million in tax revenue for Anderson County in 2019.

Reliability risk in California, Texas

June 1 – California and Texas are two potential tight spots for reliability of electricity this summer, even as most regions seem prepared to meet peak summer demand, the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) notes. In its 2018 energy market and reliability assessment, the regulator predicts warmer than average temperatures which could stir record high gas-burn for power generation.

Siemens to roll-out energy monitoring system at Rexel

May 31 – Electrical wholesaler Rexel Austria has placed an order with Siemens to deliver a cloud-based energy monitoring system which is meant to achieve a 15% reduction in energy use at its logistics center in Weisskirchen. Siemens’ cope of supply includes 66 communication-capable 7KM PAC 1500 and 7KM PAC 4200 power measuring devices, powermanager energy monitoring software, and connection to its cloud-based operating system MindSphere.

MHI calls off tie-up with JTEKT

May 30 – Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has discontinued talks to form a business partnership with JTEKT Corp after both parties terminated a basic partnership, agreed in December 2017 together with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Machine Tool (MAT) that included capital participation in JTEKT. All these plans have now been abandoned.

Sembcorp hires Contact Energy CFO

May 29 – Singapore-based Sembcorp has hired Contact Energy CFO Graham Cockroft to be its new CFO as of September 3, 2018. Sembcorp’s current CFO, Koh Chiap Khiong has moved on to head of the group’s utilities business in Singapore, Southeast Asia and China.