Daily News

Delivering solutions to help power producers stay competitive, GE Power Services has introduced its new 7F DLN2.6+ Flex upgrade solution at the annual 7F Users Group’s annual conference in Atlanta. The upgrade leverages GE’s DLN 2.6+ combustor and combining it with new Axial Fuel Staging (AFS) technology.

Competition is fierce for nuclear power in the United States as energy mix is being transformed by comparatively cheap natural gas, rising supply of renewable energy, and limited growth in overall electricity demand. Sensitivity analysis in the EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook 2018 (AEO2018) show the potential effect on the U.S. nuclear power fleet of different assumption for reactor operating cost, future gas prices and carbon policies.

Engineers of Lahmeyer, part of Tractebel, have analysed and efficiency-optimized the 9HA.01 turbines installed at a new combined-cycle power plant that went into operation at Haveli Bahadur Shah, Pakistan, on April 30, 2018. Gas turbine optimization allowed the plant to reach a world record net efficiency rate of 62.4 %. Main challenges for implementing the project in Pakistan’s Punjab province were the high fuel prices of imported LNG as well as the short implementation period of the project.

Dry natural gas production in the United States is forecast to reach a new record of 80.5 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2018, up from 73.6 Bcf/d in the previous year. According to the EIA’s latest Short-term Energy Outlook (STEO), the rise in US natural gas production will help replenish storage levels from current lows and support increasing natural gas exports, both via pipeline to Mexico and in the form of LNG.

Compact Gas Insulated (GIS) switchgear, produced by the Swiss manufacturer ABB, has been ordered by Indonesia’s state-owned power utility PLN to facilitate reliable supply of electricity and enhance grid reliability. In Indonesia, the largest economy in Southeast Asia,  electricity demand continues to grow – not least because the government in Jakarta seeks to have all households connected to the national electricity grid by 2025 and executes an ambitious program to add 35,000 MW of new capacity to the grid.

France’s natural gas pipeline operator GRTgaz has approved an investment of 17.5 million Euros ($20.7m) to create the first major physical entry point of natural gas in France through Switzerland, at Oltingue in the Haut-Rhin region. The project, carried out with FluxSwiss and Snam Rete Gas, is aimed at improving France’s supply security by providing access to new sources of Libyan, Algerian and Azeri gas by pipeline.

Despite losses at the Power & Gas (PG) unit, Siemens has raised its full-year outlook following first-half results that exceed analyst expectations thanks to solid growth in the company’s software unit. “Our longterm investment in digital leadership is clearly paying off, delivering an overall book-to-bill ratio at 1.11x despite weakness in new business in the power sector," Siemens CFO Dr. Ralf P. Thomas said in an investors’ call today.

Painting a bleak picture of the planet’s climate, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has warned if countries limit their clean energy efforts to their  nationally determined contributions (NDCs) in the Paris Agreement, this will set us on a path consistent with about 2.7°C warming by 2100. Yet, as the adage goes, “that which is measured, improves,” says IEA Climate Change Policy Analyst, Caroline Lee, so there is hope that natural gas and renewables will help turn the tide towards more sustainable electricity supply.

Suncor Energy has issued a Letter of Intent to purchase MHPS JAC gas turbine technology to power a new, more cost-effective process for producing in the Canadian oil sands. Once sanctioned and installed, the two JAC turbines will provide 800 MW of onsite heat power at Suncor Energy’s oil sands mine near Fort McMurray, Alberta.

About 21 GW of natural gas-fired generators are scheduled to come online in the United States this year out of a total 32 GW of new-built electric capacity. “If these gas generators come online based on their reported timelines, 2018 will be the first year since 2013 in which renewables did not make up a majority of added capacity,” the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) commented.

Reacting to weakness in the power generation market, Siemens has decided to temporarily shut down its Power & Gas (PG) manufacturing sites around the world. Following intensive talks with trade unions, the German engineering conglomerate on Monday night also reached an agreement on restructuring measures for its PG and Process Industries and Drives Division (PD). “Cost reduction targets are being retained,” Siemens said in a statement today, adding “job cuts are unavoidable.”

Technological challenges are “taking root on the grid,” the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) said with reference to an array of battery storage projects and the first offshore wind project off Long Island. Looking ahead, NYISO expects both baseload and peakload power demand to fall by about 0.14% through to 2028, caused by a rising use of distributed power sources and  energy efficiency measures.

Elon Musk, the man at the helm of Tesla, has hinted at the company’s Q1 investors’ call that a giant 1 GWh energy storage project would be announced soon. Highlighting the impact of Tesla’s 129 MWh battery in South Australia, he said “its grid stabilization was much greater actually than even a gas turbine plant, which normally respond quite fast.”

Profit margins of UK’s gas-fired power plants keep improving, boosted by the closure of aging coal power plants and delays in the construction of new nuclear capacity. Consequentially, gas power plants are seen contribute more than half of the UK’s electricity needs in less than 10 years, up from 45% in the previous years, according to Fitch Group affiliate BMI Research.

Allianz, Europe’s largest insurer, has ceased to sell policies to coal companies in an effort to fight climate change. The company said it would immediately pull its coverage from single coal-fired power plants and coal mines, and phase out all coal risks by 2040. Allianz also announced it will stop investing in companies that do not reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, which would apply to 664 billion euros of investments.

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.