Daily News

The market share of natural gas in Germany's power generation mix is estimated to rise to 19%, the regulator BNA's estimated in a mid-range scenario, deemed more likely than a bullish or bearish case. The mid-range scenario anticipates installed capacity from gas-fired plants to surge from 26.5 GW in 2011 to 32.9 GW in 2023.

Unconventional gas, due to its estimated abundance, has improved energy security in the United States and started a process of gas displacing coal as the dominant power generation fuel. Europe needs to adapt regulation to foster shale gas drilling, as it needs unconventional gas to make up for depleting indigenous gas production and supply new-build gas-fired plants, says Morgan Bazilian, deputy director of the Joint Institute for Strategic Energy Analysis in Colorado, USA.

Enel has taken action to increase the competitiveness of its fleet of combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power plants, as the operator needs to come to terms with reduced operating hours and increases number of plant start-ups and shut-downs to balance renewable energy supply.

South Korean energy companies, in line with the government's "Green Growth policy", have shifted towards generating more electricity from nuclear and renewable energy sources backed up by gas generation, analysts say. The government has also embarked on the liberalization of its electricity market to improve competition in the industry and encourage investment with the aim of increasing installed capacity.

Future gas turbine research and development (R&D) needs to focus on a 'big is beautiful' approach to developing smaller, flexible units that can run efficiently at part-load, OEM representatives from Alstom, GE, Mitsubishi HI, Siemens and Pratt & Whitney Power Systems agreed at a conference in Brussels today.

Singapore has ruled out nuclear energy as an alternative for the near future despite concerns over energy security. The city-state is heavily reliant on imported natural gas for power generation and policy makers had mulled the nuclear option to complement its energy mix.

Natural gas is set to become a 'high-carbon fuel' after 2025, as the perception of gas generation changes over time amid EU member states trying to reach the Commission's 2020 carbon reduction goals. "In the short-term, we need gas [generation] to keep the lights on, while in the long run we need to develop additional technologies such as carbon capture storage (CCS), so that gas can still be perceived as a low-carbon technology," says Steve Heinen, energy analyst, energy technology policy division at the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Turkey keeps getting the attention of players from every corner of the natural gas-based power generation industry, even though the government complains about the country's dependency on natural gas and pledges to bring it down from today's 70% market share.

Louisville Gas & Electric (LG&E) has accelerated works to commission a replacement 640-MW gas-fired plant and the utility said it will consequentially retire three units at the 536 MW Cane Run coal plant in Kentucky eight months earlier than initially planned.

Britain is preparing to make a 'dash for gas generation' which may pove to be the more affordable option than renewables.

"Following the government's change in policy direction, it is now time and money that will determine whether a power plant, equipped with viable Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology, will be in operation by 2020," says Howard Rogers, Director, Gas Programme, Oxford Institute for Energy Studies (OIES).

To break the vicious cycle of high gas prices leading to demand destruction, no downstream investment and gas generation being displaced coal, analysts at the French investment bank Société Générale recommend to adapt pricing to the source of demand.

Singapore is building three new large combined cycle plants to cater for the city state's growing electricity demand.

"The selection of combined cycle plants based on GT26 advanced gas turbines for all three of these projects indicates the importance of high plant flexibility while maintaining high efficiency and low emissions in many of today's electricity markets," says Pascal Radue, regional vice president, Alstom Gas Business, Asia.

GE has revealed plans to add 12.5 GW to its portfolio of operational gas turbines in Brazil by 2020, as the country turns to gas generation to dent a shortage in peak-load power supply.

Commercial operation has started at Imperial Irrigation District's 140 MW El Centro Unit 3 repowering project at the gas-fired El Centro Generating Station, located in El Centro, California. The revamped plant is adding 140-MW of electricity to the local power grid.

UK utilities and investors with gas to power assets in their portfolios face rising uncertainty in predicting long-term operational cash flows as market interventions as proposed under the UK's Electricity Market Reform have the effect of replacing market risk with political risk, says Dr. Jim Fitzgerald, Associate Partner at The Advisory House.

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.