Daily News

The Government of South Korea is planning to cut natural gas taxes by 74% and raise taxes on the use of thermal coal for power generation by 27% next year. The move is aimed at reducing the country's heavy reliance on coal for power generation and shift towards cleaner-burning gas, government officials.

Turkey’s state pipeline operator Botas has increased the price for natural gas used for power generation by 50% to 1,312 Lira ($267) per thousand cubic metres, effective August 1. The price hike comes as a weaker Turkish Lira has been pushing up prices for oil and natural gas imports, which are now handed through to end-users.

Energy expenditures as a portion of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) have fallen to 5.6% in 2016, the lowest ratio since at least 1970, according to IEA figures. Compared with a GDP at $18.6 trillion, energy expenditures declined for the fifth consecutive year down to $1.0 trillion in 2016, a 9% year-on-year decrease in real terms.

STEAG GuD Herne has signed a contract with Siemens for the turnkey construction of combined cycle power plant with district heat extraction in Herne, a town in Germany’s Rhine-Ruhr region. The Herne-6 unit will have an electrical capacity of more than 600 MW, plus 400 MW of thermal energy for district heating. Siemens disclosed "the investment volume for Herne 6 is in the mid-triple-digit Euro range."

Concerned about the progress of the green energy transition, the IEA has voiced concerns about the 7% decline in global investment in renewable energy last year. Although part of the drop-off was due to falling costs that made renewable sources like solar PV more affordable than ever, the IEA says “the investment decline still represents a warning.”

Seeking to accommodate U.S. President Donald Trump’s demands for greater LNG sales to Europe, the European Commission President Jean-Claude Junker has said the EU would build more LNG import terminals. However, this does not mean imports will increase as the JKM-TTF spread has stayed wide enough over the past year for US cargoes to get a higher netback going to Asian than Europe.

Macquarie Infrastructure Corp. (MIC) has entered negotiations with potential buyers of the 644-MW Bayonne Energy Center in New Jersey as it seeks to divest the asset before the end of this year. MIC only bought the CCGT three years ago, but now seeks to sell it for about $900 million to reduce debt.

Dispatchable power generation capacity is shifting from flexible gas gensets to wind and solar technologies paired with energy storage. Excellent solar resources in the U.S. state of Arizona make First Solar confident that its 65MW solar farm and a 50MW/135MWh battery storage facility will outcompete gas peaking plants in terms of supplying electricity into the evening peak.

Financing models of the U.S. shale oil and gas industry - often small wildcatter - has for long been characterised by negative free cash flow as expectations of rising production and cost improvements led to continuous overspending in the sector. Over the last few month, however, IEA analysts have notice a “notable improvement in financial condition,” though the overall health of the industry remains fragile.

Running the new efficient power stations on LNG helps Pakistan to save between $2 billion and $3 billion in fuel cost for power generation. With an efficiency rate of over 62%, the new Balloki, Haveli Bahadur Shah and Bhikki CCGTs can generate power at an average cost of Rs7-8 per unit, which is about half of the cost of electricity produced from furnace oil.

Pakistan has just added the second LNG-fuelled power plant to the grid: Commissioning of the 1,223 MW Balloki CCGT follows just weeks after the start-up of the Haveli Bahadur Shah (HBS) power plant which entered full commercial operations in May. During commissioning, the HBS and Balloki plant already added over 5.5 billion kilowatt hours of power to the grid.

California Independent System Operator (CAISO) has issued two new reliability must-run designations to support grid reliability in the face of imminent power plant retirements near Los Angeles. NRG California South had notified the ISO it will retire its Ellwood, Etiwanda and Ormond Beach generating stations by October 2018.

Faster economic growth in China means higher energy use given that the country is world’s top producer of energy-intensive good. Beijing’s policy goals seek to enact a greater focus on service industries, however, the EIA’s International Energy Outlook 2018 (IEO2018) finds that China’s energy use is only modestly affected by how quickly it transitions to a more personal consumption-based, service-oriented economy.

Total, one of seven largest oil companies in the world, has signed a deal with KKR-Energas to acquire two gas-fired combined cycle power plants (CCGT) in the North and East of France with a combined capacity of 825 MW. The two flexible CCGTs were primarily used for peakload power supply and benefitted from France’s new capacity market.

Enagás and the regional government of Aragon have agreed to collaborate on the projects for the use of renewable gases such as hydrogen, biogas and biomethane. The aim is to save energy and enhance efficient use of renewables, while fostering the coherent and effective development of energy infrastructure.

News in Brief

Sparrow gets permit to work in Saudi Arabia

Aug 13 – Sparrows Group, a specialist equipment maker and integrated engineering services providers, has been granted commercial registration to operate in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The commercial registration allows Sparrows Saudi Arabia LLC, a newly established entity in Dammam, to deliver services related to the extraction of oil and natural gas

Puerto Rico electricity sales almost back to normal

Aug 9 – Electricity sales on the island of Puerto Rico, part of U.S. territory, has returned to pre-hurricane levels as of April and May 2018 after the longest blackout in American history. However, residential electricity sales appear to continue to lag historical levels, reflecting some continued outages, EIA data shows. As of April 2018, around 95% of Puerto Rico’s electricity customers had restored power, while about 62,000 customers remained without power.

India’s solar PV market slumps

Aug 8 – India’s market for solar photovoltaic is forecast to experience negative growth this year after the Ministry of Finance imposed a safeguard duty on solar cells and modules for a period of two years, starting on 30th July 2018. The move exacerbates the effect of a slowdown in the China market, Wood Mackenzie commented.

Shell expects electricity to become “biggest game in town”

Aug 3 – By 2050, power consumption is expected to outstrip demand for Shell’s core business of oil and gas. The company’s most recent Future Energy scenarios foresees oil and gas demand to peak in the next 50 years, while reliance on electricity is expected grow from around 20% of energy consumption to closer to 50% by midcentury.

ADB funds power lines in Bangladesh

Aug 2 – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved an assistance package of more than $357 million for a project to develop two power lines in Bangladesh. The grid extension supports Bangladesh’s national target of reaching electricity for all citizens by 2021.

Tadmax to develop CCGT in Selangor

Aug 1 – Malaysia-based Tadmax Resources has signed an accord with Worldwide Holdings to develop a combined-cycle gas power plant with up to 1,200 MW in Pulau Indah, Selagor. The deal comes as Worldwide seeks to acquire a 30% stake in Tadmax. Technical partner for the CCGT project is Korean Electric Power Corp.

Renewables hit new record

July 31 – Germany's electricity supply from renewables reached a record high in the first half of 2018, catering for an unprecedented 41.5 % of the country's electricity supply. A total of 113 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity was generated by all renewable technologies, mainly consisting of biomass, wind and solar energy.

Dominion aims to add 3GW renewables by 2020

July 30 – Striving to add 3 GW of solar and wind capacity in the next two years, Dominion Energy has has filed its first set of the plans under Grid Transformation & Security Act (GTSA) to the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) for the approval. Dominion VP Ed Baine said the GTSA legislation, effective from 1 July, would provide a roadmap for Virginia’s energy future.

GE to develop critical infrastructure in Lagos

July 27 – GE and the Lagos State Government have agreed to pool their resources for the development of critical infrastructure in the state in the areas of Power, Healthcare and Skills Development. This was announced during the signing of a Support and Cooperation Agreement by both parties during the France-Nigeria Business Forum held in Lagos.

Orbital Insight teams up with Energy Aspects

July 26 –Orbital Insight and Energy Aspects have teamed up, striving to transform how energy data is used for investing. The two research firms will integrate geospatial analytics, based on artificial intelligence and machine learning, with energy analysis with a view to giving customers unprecedented global oil storage level data.

Cost for US wind generation down 33%

July 25 – Capacity-weighted cost of wind installations in the United States have declined by one-third thanks to improving technology and manufacturing capability and a concentration of new-builds in the best-suited regions. Installation costs fell from $2,361 per kilowatt (kW) in 2010 to currently less than $1,587/kW, based on analysis by the U.S. Department of Energy’s office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy(DOE/EERE).

Iran’s NISOC prepares tender

July 24 – National Iranian South Oil Company (NISOC) has announced plans to hold an international tender to purchase parts for G.E.C gas turbine. NISOC seeks to buy parts of the turbine type Centaur.

Chart reports full-year sales at $1.2bn

July 23 – U.S. equipment manufacturer Chart Industries has reported a 34% rise second-quarter sales, with the order volumes amounting to $360.3 million. “Strength in Asian orders was driven by packaged gas applications as well as respiratory and cryobiological product lines,” Charts said when posting the results.

ABB spends $30m on transformer factory in Sweden

July 20 – ABB is investing more than $30 million in a new manufacturing unit, under construction in Ludvika, Sweden. The new unit will increase production, expanding the capacity and the range of its high-voltage dry bushings offering.

Wärtsilä’s order intake up 14%

July 19 – The Finish equipment manufacturer Wärtsilä has seen its order increase 15% to €1,553 million in the second quarter, while net sales fell 4% to €1,246 million. Looking at the full year 2018, Wärtsilä said its Services and Solutions business will “improve somewhat from the previous year.” Good demand prospects are on the cards for Energy Solutions, as the global shift towards renewables and rising electricity demand in the emerging markets support the need for distributed power capacity.

NRG abandons Dunkirk coal-to-gas conversion project

July 18 – Shying away from having to pay $114 million in re-interconnection costs, NRG Energy has shelved plans to repower and convert its mothballed Dunkirk power plant in western New York from coal to natural gas. The company said in a statement that it has withdrawn its request to have New York ISO interconnect the Chautauqua County generating facility with the power grid.

Akwa Ibom, BlackRhino sign $1.6bn power deal

July 17 – BlackRhino, operator of the Qua Iboe Power Plant (QIPP), has agreed with the Akwa Ibom State Government to build a power plant and electricity transmission lines in the state. QIPP’s management  committed an investment of $1.1 billion for the facility, with an additional $500 million for gas.