Daily News

Smart electrically-driven heating is a “valuable field in which to invest”, Delta-ee research finds, pointing at the substantial installed base of electrically-driven heating – 30 million units across Europe. In the UK, new business models are emerging providing heat-as-a-service, with the customer avoiding the need for buying fuel and appliances by simply buying the heat, and comfort that comes with it.

Sempra Energy has sealed a deal to divest its non-utility US natural gas storage facilities for $322 million to an affiliate of ArcLight Capital Partners. Once the sale is closed in Q1-2019, ArcLight will own 100% of Mississippi Hub and Bay Gas storage facilities.

McDermott, the EPC contractor of Calpine’s York 2 Energy Center Project, expects to achieve substantial project completion in the first quarter of this year. First fire of units 5 & 6 at the 828-MW power plant was achieved in late December, with units running smoothly ever since.

Dominion Energy is completing the takeover of SCANA Corp. adding customers in Georgia and the Carolinas to its 18-state footprint. The merged assets, worth over $6.8 million, align well with Dominion’s regulated energy businesses. “These are well-run regulated operations that will help improve our risk profile and growth outlook," said CEO Thomas F. Farrell.

Demand growth for natural gas in China is outpacing supply. Despite rapidly rising LNG imports, some domestic shale gas production and the scheduled start of an additional 38 Bcm of Russian gas supplies through the ‘Power of Siberia Pipeline’ before the end of 2019, analysts expect a gas deficit in in the China market from 2020 onwards.

Medco Energi, Indonesia's national oil and gas company, is in talks to acquire the UK-listed Ophir Energy in a cash takeover. No amount or other details have yet been disclosed, other than Medco has to make a clear binding offer by January 28, if a deal is to proceed.

Consultations have officially started as to whether Uniper will divest all its French power plant assets to the Central European energy investment group EPH, majority-owned by the billionaire Daniel Kretinsky. Uniper confirmed it received a unilateral binding offer from EPH, but did not disclose the value of a potential deal.

Flexibility and system integration of renewable energy sources will be in focus of a Ministerial Summit co-hosted by the German government and the International Energy Agency (IEA) in Berlin in September. Tackling the intermittency challenge will be critical for 33 countries are likely to have up to 20% variable renewables in their power systems by 2023.

MIT researchers have developed a membrane-based system that can convert power plant emissions into fuels for cars, trucks and planes, as well as chemical feedstocks. The membrane – made of a compound of lanthanum, calcium, and iron oxide – allows oxygen from a stream of carbon dioxide (CO2) to migrate through, leaving carbon monoxide (CO) behind. Combined with hydrogen or water, this CO can be turned into syngas.

Colder weather in China is pushing up heating demand which is the first resilience test for the gas network. Some 3.2 million new residential gas users have been grid-connected this year, adding 4.5 Bcm in demand which comes on top of even higher demand growth from industries. Overall demand in winter 2018/19 is forecast to be 40 Bcm over last year’s levels.

Future use of hybrid energy will lead to a consistent baseload, without the need for top-up via fossil fuels, says Francesco Falco, chief commercial officer at GE Power Conversion. "When using Silicon Carbide (SiC), – a diamond-like substance – instead of traditional silicon chips in a solar inverter, its high power density feature can reduce power losses by up to 50%."

Despite rising oil prices and production levels U.S. gas fracking companies are continuing to lose money, according to a review of the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEA). In the third quarter of 2018, the 32 mid-size U.S. exploration companies reported nearly $1 billion in negative cash flows.

A consortium of Enagás, Snam and Fluxys has completed the acquisition of a 66% stake in DESFY, the Greek gas transmission system operator. The stake was bought from the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF) and Hellenic Petroleum for € 535 million.

Saudi Arabia’s 2019 budget has allocated 33 billion riyals ($8.8 billion) for the energy, industry, mining and logistics sectors – more than three times the amount spent in the previous budget. State spending will rise by over 7% next year to an equivalent of $295 million, and most of these higher expenses are intended to be financed through rising oil revenues.

Rising use of thermal coal in the Japanese power sector has led to a 1% drop in LNG imports in November while coal shipments increased by more than 5%. Utilities prefer coal over gas as a fuel for their power stations after the cost of LNG cargoes surged year-on-year by nearly $1 billion.

News in Brief

Controversy about planned CCGT in California

Feb 22 – Environmentalist have filed a lawsuit against plans to build a 634 MW combined-cycle gas power plant in Palmdale, a city north of Los Angeles. The hybrid gas and solar plant had been approved by the California Energy Commission (CEC), although a developer has not been found yet.

GE installs and services 9E turbine in Iraq

Feb 21 – GE Power has delivered and installed a 9E gas turbine to Iraq’s Ministry of Electricity’s (MoE) Al Qudus power plant. Throughout 2019, GE will also service up to seven GE 9E gas turbines at the facility, helping to maintain a stable power output of up to 875 MW.

MHI to join Cybersecurity Charter

Feb 20 – Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) signed a letter of intent to join the Charter of Trust for cybersecurity by the end of September, expanding the charter’s reach into Asia. Initiated by Siemens, the charter calls for binding rules and standards on cybersecurity as digitalization advances. Other signatories include AES, Airbus, Allianz, Atos, Cisco, Daimler, Dell Technologies, Deutsche Telekom, Enel, IBM, NXP, SGS, Total and TÜV Süd.

Substation market grows at 9.4% rate

Feb 19 – The gas-insulated substation market, currently valued at $17.3 billion, is anticipated to grow at a rate of more than 9.4% in the years through to 2025. Analysts say rising demand for low maintenance and small power systems will boost the market, particularly for large infrastructure projects such as smart city where GIS substations are well-suited due to their high efficiency and compact size.

Amprion advances P2G project in Germany

Feb 18 – Amprion, together with Open Grid Europe (OGE), are striving to get a €150 million Power-to-Gas project in Germany into operation by 2023. The pilot plant includes a 100 MW electrolyser that converts renewable energy into hydrogen and methane for use in the district of Emsland, northern Germany.

MHPS leads on post F-class turbines

Feb 15 – Mitsubishi Hitachi Power System (MHPS) secured most orders in 2018 for newest-generation turbines, while GE booked most order for turbines of all classes amongst its rivals. For so-called post F-class turbines, MHPS reportedly achieved 49% of orders, compared with 34% for GE and 16% for Siemens.

UK inflation down amid fall in energy prices

Feb 14 – Falling energy bills and fuel prices have pushed down UK inflation to a two-year low in January, according the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Inflation had peaked at a five-year high of 3.1% in November 2017, and is currently at just 1.8% – below the Bank of England’s 2% inflation target.

Lahmeyer is now Tractebel

Feb 13 –The German engineering and consulting company Lahmeyer International is now operating under the Tractebel, with the new company name; Tractebel Engineering GmbH. Tractebel reached a turnover of €662 million in 2018, and is part of the French energy group ENGIE.

BECCS pilot project starts at Drax

Feb 12 – The 4,000-MW Drax Power Station has started using bioenergy carbon capture and storage (BECCS) technology, capturing up to 1 ton of CO2 per day. The Drax demo plant in Selby, North Yorkshire, moves Britain further ahead in the race to develop BECCS technologies

Demand for power ships up 3.6% through 2026

Feb 11 – The global market for floating LNG-fuelled power ships is forecast to grow at an annual rate of 3.6%, exceeding exceed $1,073 million by 2026, according to ResearchandMarkets estimates. Power ships with a capacity between 100 MW and 150 MW, and usually leased for short durations, will cover most of the demand growth which is centred in Asia Pacific, sub-Saharan Africa and the Americas.

Australia’s H2U uses NovaLT turbine

Feb 8 – H2U, an Australian hydrogen infrastructure developer, will use Baker Hughes NovaLT gas turbine at is hydrogen and ammonia supply chain demonstrating plant in Port Lincoln. The greentech project integrates a 15 MW electrolyser plant, a 10 MW hydrogen-fired gas turbine and a 5 MW fuel cell, all of which set to supply electricity to the power grid in South Australia.

EC rules out Siemens/Alstom mobility merger

Feb 7 –The European Commission has decided to prohibit the proposed combination of the Siemens and Alstom mobility businesses. As a result of this prohibition, the merger will not proceed.

PG&E seeks to re-organize

Feb 6 – Having just filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, California utility Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) now seeks to restructure and access up to $6 billion in financing to help it operate while under bankruptcy protection. In a filing to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the district of northern California, PG&E listed assets of $71.39 billion and liabilities of $51.69 billion.

Contigo enhances trading of DB Energy

Feb 5 – Contigo, together with the consulting firm Nevento, have introduced a new energy trading system at DB Energie of Deutsche Bahn. The system’s new functionality provides fast and easy access to business data and credit risk information, enabling effective decision making in energy trading.

ABB, Intel cooperate on digital substations

Feb 4 – ABB and Intel have agreed to jointly sell automation systems for utilities. At the core of the agreement is ABB Ability smart substation control for electrical systems, SSC600, powered by Intel Xeon processors.

Backup power for Hinkley Point C

Feb 1 – Rolls Royce will provide MTU diesel gensets to provide back-up power to the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in Somerset. The generators, Type MTU 396 TB33 with 3600 kW output each, will provide emergency power in case of an outage of the site’s standing power supply

Gauging UK’s shift to green energy

Jan 31 – Engineering consultancy WSP has been selected to model the impact of low carbon technologies on the UK’s electricity networks. It will also work with the Energy Networks Association (ENA) on the Distribution Losses Mechanism Study.