New utility-scale solar power installations increased in the United States in 2010-16 at a faster rate than any other electricity generating technology. Solar PV and thermal power facilities together grew 72% per annum on average to currently over 21.5 GW. But regardless of this rapid growth, solar's contribution to the overall US power mix remains fairly limited – the dominant fuel is natural gas.
The United States and China have reached a landmark agreement designed to reduce America’s growing trade deficit and promote LNG shipment to China. US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross underlined the deal was part of a broader effort to remodel the relationship between the world’s two largest economies.
South Africa’s mining and manufacturing industry has been hit repeatedly by sharp increases in electricity tariffs. With President Zuma’s plans for new nuclear thwarted, South Africa’s future energy mix is seen shift towards renewables and flexible gas generation. An LNG-to-Power IPP Programme envisages some 1GW of new gas power capacity to be constructed at South Africa's Coega port, with another 2GW to be built at Richards Bay.
The spread of policy drivers, as well as falling costs of solar and wind power, will ensure the de-carbonisation of the energy system continues globally, according to projections made by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). Analysts cautioned however that the extent to which Mr Trump reverses the momentum of the Obama administration on green issues, and whether he will pull out of the 2016 Paris Climate Agreement, will be a key development to watch.
Huaneng Guilin Gas Distributed Energy Co., an energy provider in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region in southern China, has announced first fire of a GE 6F.01 gas turbine at one of its distributed power stations. Fuelled by natural gas, the Huaneng Guilin project is the first-ever distributed energy project managed by China Huaneng Group.
Engie of France and AES have entered into a joint venture to market and sell LNG to third parties in Central America. The JV will utilize the Costa Norte LNG regasification terminal, currently under construction with a capacity of 1.5 million tons per annum (mtpa). Approximately 25% of the Costa Norte LNG regas capacity will supply fuel to a 380MW combined-cycle gas power plant in the city of Colón, Panama.
Qatar General Water & Electricity Corporation (KAHRAMAA) has contracted Siemens to carry out the largest-to-date expansion of the Emirate’s power transmission network. The deal, valued at €790 million, will see Siemens deliver 35 turnkey super and primary substations for Phase 13 of the Qatar Power Transmission System Expansion project. Completion is scheduled for 2019. “With this new order intake, our completed and under execution projects with KAHRAMAA total nearly €2.5 billion,” said Ralf Christian, CEO of Siemens Energy Management Division.
Nest Learning Thermostat, which partners with utilities to provide residential Demand-Side Response (DRS), shows how bilateral contracts for flexibility services can be utilised for the integration of renewable resources. Their so-called ‘Rush hour rewards’ scheme offers end-customers a menu of contracts with different lead times (from on-demand to 24-hour advance notice), duration of adjustments in electricity consumption (30 mins to 4 hrs) and payments.
Nigeria has approached the World Bank for a $5.2 billion loan to expand power generation capacity and help the West African nation recover from its first recession in over two decades. Observers doubt, however, that the government in Abuja can reach its goal to triple Nigeria’s installed electric capacity by 2025.
Asian investors used to pour over $20 billion into US Lower 48 assets in the period 2010-13, mostly in shale plays – but this cashflow dried up some three years ago and has become “negligible,” particularly on the Permian tight oil play. Wood Mackenzie says this trend is about to change, anticipating some of Asia's largest upstream players “wish to diversify and grow production.”
US power solutions provider Cummins has launched a new gas generator set across 50Hz regions. Supplying electrical efficiency of up to 43.8%, the upgraded QSK60 gas engine can reduce total cost of ownership for its customers and is particularly tailored towards combined heat and power (CHP) applications.
Siemens and Chromalloy Gas Turbine have joint forces and agreed to invest approximately $130 million to create a new joint venture called Advanced Airfoil Components. The JV will create up to 350 new jobs in the United States and will supply Siemens with turbine blade and vane cast components for power generation. Shipment of initial components is slated for 2018.
In the run-up to the 2017 UK General Election, Theresa May has promised to impose a cap on standard variable power tariffs in the Tory manifesto to end what she calls the “injustice” of rising energy costs. Under the proposed plan, the energy regulator Ofgem would set a limit for the standard variable tariffs that customers move to by default after their existing deals run out. This measure is meant to save about 17 million customers up to £100 a year.
Levelized cost of energy (LCOE), a common metric for project costs, measures a power plant’s lifetime and operation-cycle and amortizes these costs over an assumed lifetime. Yet, EIA analysts pointed out LCOEs do not include contractual terms on price, duration, or price inflators, hence “they should not be directly compared with other prices such as power purchase agreements.”
German engineering firm MAN Diesel & Turbo and Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding are intensifying their technical collaboration. The aim is to jointly offer propulsion and energy solutions, notably for Floating Production Storage and Offloading systems (FPSO), as well as steam turbines and compressors – mainly for the Japanese market.