Alarmed by an air pollution crisis in Seoul and other key cities, the South Korean government is proposing measures to help utilities to convert their power plants from coal to natural gas in order to reduce worsening levels of toxic fine dust and mercury emissions in Seoul and other northern cities.
South Korean conglomerate Hynix has announced plans to invest over 1.68 trillion won ($1.49 billion) to build LNG-fuelled power stations adjacent to its semiconductor plants in Icheon, Gyeonggi Province, and Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province. The two plants are scheduled to start up by 2022.
Norway’s state energy group Statkraft says its new 1GW virtual power plant (VPP) in Britain will help bridge the intermittency challenge and aims to double capacity by the summer. Connecting gas engine-driven power units, energy storage and renewables, the VPP can react to market demand within seconds.
The Swiss equipment manufacturer ABB has expanded its portfolio of source-to-socket electrification following its $2.6 billion acquisition of GE Industrial Solutions. ABB said the takeover helps boost its competitiveness in the North American market and strengthens its position in electrification.
U.S. Democrats have voiced concern that Andrew Wheeler, the new head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), will undermine the Obama-era Clean Power Plan by rolling back regulation on power plant emissions. President Trump-nominee Wheeler was instated at the top of the EPA after winning a vote in the Senate by 52-47.
Striving to achieve universal electricity access, utilities invested $500 million globally in off-grid energy access last year. Though investments in energy access grew another 22% in 2018, after surging 37% the year before, Wood Mackenzie says “total volumes still fall well short of the estimated financing needed to reach universal electricity access globally by 2030.”
CEON, a new digital platform launched by MAN Energy Solutions, intelligently collects and evaluates operating and sensor data, and enables the real-time monitoring of power-plant engines, turbines and compressors. Integrating data from MAN machinery and its operational environment, the new digital platform uses intelligent analysis tools for evaluation and forecasting.
The German car makers BMW and Porsche have teamed up with Siemens in the ‘FastCharge’ research project, working with Allego and Phoenix Contact E-Mobility, to create super-fast chargers for electric vehicles. The prototype of a charging station with a capacity of up to 450 kW was inaugurated in Jettingen-Scheppach, a small town in southwest Bavaria.
Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) has filed to Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) of the Philippines, requesting to end interim power supply agreements prior to the next Malampaya gas field maintenance – but the regulator wants utilities to keep producing electricity from condensate. The upcoming October shutdown will affect gas supply to three of Luzon’s major power plants: Santa Rita (1,000 MW), San Lorenzo (500 MW) and Ilijan (1,200 MW).
Andrew Cuomo, the Democratic Governor of New York, has proposed to phase out less efficient gas peaking plants to meet the state’s target of reducing greenhouse gases by 40% by 2030, and achieve zero-carbon electricity supply by 2040. The new rules lower the NOx emission threshold, with more stringent controls set to start in five years’ time.
As Japanese utilities keep restarting shuttered nuclear power units, analysts say the return of cheap nuclear power will displace baseload generation from fossil sources, in particular natural gas. Japan has to import its entire gas demand as LNG, which is more costly than thermal coal, so a rise in nuclear power output is forecast to reduce LNG shipments by up to 10% this year.
The Argentine utility Central Puerto has purchased the 280-MW Brigadier López power plant from state-owned Integración Energética Argentina for an estimated $165 million, effective April 1. The buyer said it aims to boost the installed capacity of the open-cycle gas power unit by adding a 140-MW steam turbine.
Norway’s Golar LNG has started to unload the first commissioning cargo at its Golar Nanook FSRU (floating storage and regas unit) offshore Sergipe, northeastern Brazil. The supply is designated for the Porto de Sergipe-I Power Project, a 1.5GW combined-cycle gas power plant, developed by Golar in a joint venture with Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners.
U.S. major ExxonMobil, together with Qatar Petroleum, has made a gas discovery of 5-8 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) its Glaucus-1 well off Cyprus. The find adds another giant discovery to the East Mediterranean but a lack of subsea pipelines hamper the use of this gas in the local power sector, so Exxon considers teaming up with other majors to monetize the find through a new LNG venture.
Nearly half of the German public wants a nuclear exit to happen before a coal phase-out: 49.5% of respondents of a Verivox survey say closing the last nuclear plant by 2022, and the last coal plant by 2038, is ‘the right order’. But 44.1% of respondents say nuclear closures are ‘wrong’ from a climate perspective.