Daily News

Contributing of distributed power, largely derived from wind and solar energy, is expected to account for over 25% of Pakistan’s energy mix over the next decade. According to Reon Energy CEO, deployment of distributed power generators is booming due to the deficit in Pakistan’s power distribution infrastructure and as a response to high energy cost of fossil-fuelled generators.

Blockchain, a digital ledger that creates and stores records that are linked together in a chain, offers the energy industry an opportunity reduce operational risk and transactional cost in trading, supply chain management and retail. The incorruptible digital record might also be used to increase compliance.

Accelerating China’s global drive, President Xi Jinping has declared the two day Belt and Road Forum in Beijing “a success” after Chinese companies signed deals with 68 countries to jointly develop energy infrastructure along the new Silk Road trade routes. Siemens, alone, entered into more than ten agreements with Chinese partners.

The world’s first liquid air energy storage (LAES) plant has been launched by Highview Power at Bury, near Manchester, this week. Supported by £8 million in UK government funding, the 5MW/15MWh LAES plant is the first operational LAES demonstration plant at grid-scale, providing backup electricity supply that is being utilized by the demand response aggregator KiWi Power.

Iraq’s ministry of electricity has handed a contract to ABB to deliver five fixed and fifteen mobile 132-kilovolt substations that will help strengthen the power grid and provide electricity in central Iraq. The substation projects are part of wider efforts to rebuild Iraq’s energy infrastructure and are supported by Swedish government financing.

Synthetic Genomics and ExxonMobil have worked together to turn algae into a low-emission transportation fuel for a number of years. Ongoing works in lab work are envisaged to lead to the technical ability to produce 10,000 barrels of algae biofuel per day by 2025.

Timera Energy is questioning the viability of SSE’s decision to invest £350 million in the 840MW Keadby-2 power plant even though there is currently no clear wholesale price signal to support CCGT economics, considering the £8.40/kW clearing price in the 2018 UK capacity auction. “The market risk sits firmly on the shoulders of project equity investors,” analysts said, and “without a 15 year capacity agreement the project will struggle to gain any significant advantage through debt financing.”

Scottish energy company SSE has contracted Siemens to provide a full turnkey solution for the Keadby 2 power plant, which will be powered by a SGT-9000HL gas turbine and is aimed to reach 63% efficiency. SSE said it will spend £350 million on the construction of the new 840 MW facility.

Bowing to industry pressure, the British government has indicated it will make a direct investment of public money into the much-contended Wylfa nuclear project in north Wales, backed by Hitachi. Critics dismiss this move as state aid, a reversal of 40 years of UK energy sector privatisation, and unfair prioritisation of nuclear power to the detriment of renewables and new gas-fired power projects.

Exhilarated by the success of bringing electricity to every village in India, Prime Minister Narenda Modi has now moved the target of achieving ‘universal household electricity access’ to the end of this year. This next “last mile” challenge will not be easy to meet but will bring huge rewards: it will improve the lives of over 230 million people.

Gaining access to shale assets in Argentina, Qatar Petroleum has acquired a 30% stake in ExxonMobil’s prolific Vaca Muerta oil and gas play in the onshore Neuquén basin in Argentina. The deal is hoped to bring fresh drive to shale drilling in Argentina which had been rather slow due to local price controls for natural gas. However, President Mauricio Macri's right-of centre government lately doubled wellhead gas prices for existing fields and introduced incentive prices for new developments.

Energy industry stakeholders have unanimously condemned U.S. President Trump’s latest market interference by directing the Department of Energy (DOE) to stop, what he calls, “impending retirements of fuel-secure power facilities.” Rebuking the move, several energy industry associates called the action “misguided” as it would be effectively subsidizing “failing coal and nuclear plants.”

With falling battery technology costs, BP’s Technology Outlook predicts that buying, running and fuelling electric cars in Europe will become competitive with internal combustion engine-driven models before 2050. The question is, however, whether there are enough resources of lithium and cobalt globally for a battery-powered future.

Deployment of large-scale battery storage is rapidly increasing across the United States, but capital costs of energy storage systems vary greatly, dependent on the technology uses. Energy-oriented batteries systems, used for peakload shaving, are designed for longer durations and consequently have higher average costs per kilowatt and lower costs per kilowatthour. This type is mostly used in the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) area.

Seeking to monetize Canada’s abundant natural gas reserves Shell has agreed to its former rival Petronas joining the US$11 billion LNG Canada project with the aim of making a financial investment decision by the end of this year. However, costs will remain a major concern of the project, Wood Mackenzie senior analyst Prasanth Kakaraparthi cautioned, advising the companies to try take advantage of the latest tax breaks announced by the government of British Columbia.

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.