Daily News

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.

NET Power, developer of an emission-free gas power generation technology, has taken a leap forward with successful combustor first-fire at its 50MWth demonstration plant in Texas. Using the technology called Allam Cycle, the new plant is “radically different” from conventional combined-cycle plants. It uses high pressure CO2, rather than steam, as the working fluid to generate electricity from carbon-based fuels without producing air emissions.

Improving power system flexibility is vital for cost-effective management of variability and uncertainty in both supply and demand, the International Energy Agency (IEA) finds. Hence the agency calls for a proactive response from regulators and policy makers to help manage today’s fundamental a transformation of energy markets.

Fossil fuel consumption in the U.S. power sector has fallen to a 23-year record low with a slightly offsetting increase in the use of natural gas, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) finds. Overall fossil fuel-burn for power generation fell to 22.5 quadrillion British thermal units (quads) in 2017, the lowest level since 1994.

May just passed has been the month with the highest natural gas demand in Spain for industry since records began, with a total of 17,654 GWh, according to Enagas figures. Overall gas demand in Spain had grown by about 11.6% compared with May last year, reaching 26,255 GWh, largely driven by the industrial sector and some larger gas deliveries for power generation.

Singapore-based Sembcorp Industries has today reached an agreement to acquire the business and all assets of UK Power Reserve (UKPR) for £216 million ($167m). The deal gives Sembcorp an additional capacity of over 1,000 MW in the UK, where it currently supplies energy and services to industrial firms on Teesside.

For Austria, the decarbonization of electricity entails three major strategic initiatives: Generating 100% of its electricity from renewables by 2030; decarbonizing gas supply by adding biogases and later switching to hydrogen; and finally focussing on supply-side energy intelligence which allows consumers to produce and trading their own energy, independent of the big utilities.

Outages of power systems have severe financial implications: unplanned downtime can cost an LNG facility as much as $4 million per day. With potential costs so high, profitability is largely linked with unplanned downtime. According to GE Power estimates, unplanned shutdowns in the process industry globally cost 5% of total annual production — that’s as much as $30 billion a year.

Aggreko, a provider of modular mobile power gensets, has been awarded a $23.8 million contract over of 36 month to provide 20-MW of flexible power to Caribbean island of St Croix via a Next Generation Gas Generator in 60 Hz. Once operational, the solution is expected to provide $6 million worth of fuel savings to the island in the first two years.

Philippine’s dominant power producer First Gen is looking to cooperate with San Miguel Corp., a conglomerate invested in local energy infrastructure, to jointly realize a $1.2 billion LNG import terminal in Batangas province with a regasification capacity of 3-5 mtpa. The imported gas will be designated for the 1,200-MW Ilijan combined-cycle gas power plant, operated by San Miguel, that could be expanded by up to 1,800 MW.

China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) will unify China’s residential and industrial city-gate natural gas pricing systems from June 10 to better reflect rising demand and costs. The new mechanism will allow gas prices to rise by no more than 20% from a benchmark price, NDRC stated, which is “more flexible” than the existing one which since 2010 kept a ceiling on residential gas prices at at 1.4 yuan (about $0.22) per cubic metres.

German energy giant E.ON has developed and deployed technology using artificial intelligence to predict and locate deficiencies in the operation of electricity grids long before they escalate into failure and power outages. This AI-based method has been in use at medium voltage grids of Schleswig-Holstein Netz, a grid operator belonging to E.ON Group, for around nine months.

Toshiba Energy Systems & Solutions and Iwatani have teamed up to establish the viability of a locally-based hydrogen supply chain in Japan’s Hokkaido prefecture. Specifically for this project, Toshiba ESS constructed a small-scale hydropower project whose electricity is being used to electrolyze water and separate hydrogen, which is then transported by Iwatani to generate electricity, using Toshiba fuel cells.

News in Brief

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.

UK remains net electricity importer

May 25 – Great Britain remains a net importer of electricity via interconnectors at peak times in all of National Grid’s 2018 Future Energy Scenarios (FES). The UK grid operator consequently assumes and supports an expansion of the island’s interconnector capacity to reach up to 20 GW by 2050.